Federal Government Open Source Report Card

Which agencies passed and which failed?

Open Source for America has released their study of which departments in the federal government are most open source aware and friendly. The results may surprise you. But before we get to the results, let me give you some background on Open Source for America:

Open Source for America (OSFA) is an organization of technology industry leaders, non-government associations and academic and research institutions dedicated to advocating the use of open source software in the U.S. Federal government. Participation in Open Source for America is open to any individual or entity signing the campaign's mission pledge at: www.opensourceforamerica.org.

There is a long list of member organizations that you can peruse here. It seems like a great organization which is really pushing open source use in the government. They have found it looks like a ready partner in the current administration as well. According to the OSFA they rated agencies based on:

The Federal Open Technology Report Card evaluated key indicators of open government and open technologies developed through online crowd sourcing and refined metrics outlined by the OSFA leadership committee. These included questions regarding public budgets, use of social media and open source technology practices. 

The Report Card assigned a percentage grade to the 15 Cabinet-level departments and agencies use of open source technologies, open formats, and technology tools for citizen engagement

So without further delay here is the report card:

Where you surprised to see the Department of Defense leading the way?  I was.  You would think they would be the least open of the 15 agencies. But it seems the DoD is enlightened. The report has this to say about the DoD:

The DOD has issued procurement policies for open technologies as well as guidance facilitating participation by government employees in open source projects. The Department is demonstrably ahead of the curve in terms of recognizing the benefits and using open technologies.

Bravo for the DoD! Bringing up the rear is the Department of the Interior. In my past life I actually worked with the DoD and the DoI in security. The DoI at one time had its Internet connectivity cut off because it was not properly securing sensitive data.It seems like they are not doing such a great job of embracing open government now either.

It should be noted that these results were based on the agencies operating under the Open Government plan for just a short time. They are to be used as a baseline for future report cards and progress reports based on similar criteria. You can download the complete report and report card here.

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