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Letter to Transparency Advocates

A Letter to Transparency Advocates

Compliance Matrix and Analysis

Our goal with the Open Government Plan is to communicate our framework and Open Government principles to provide context toward how we embrace Open Government. We believe that this is a process and that it is the responsibility of each directorate, program, and employee to make NASA more open. We have elected to take a structured approach to describe our activities that make NASA open, participatory and collaborative to enable the reader to browse to topics of interest, easily learn new topics and understand how to get involved. We also did it this way for our workforce; by turning this Open Government Plan into a platform to communicate what we do and tell stories that exemplify participatory behavior, we hope there will be a positive response by the community. With positive feedback, the social reward will allow that behavior to be repeated.

While we took a structured programmatic approach to describe our processes, we want to ensure that we have complied, and exceeded, the requirements of the Open Government Directive. This appendix aims to break down the directive into individual set goals and identify where in the plan those goals are addressed. In ensuring our compliance with the Directive, we noticed that some of the requirements for the plan are satisfied multiple times throughout the document. In these cases, we identified the section we feel best fit the particular requirement.

As stated in our Framework and Goals section, this plan is a first step of an iterative, learning process. We want to work with you as this plan moves forward, both in ensuring our continued compliance with the Directive and in working towards furthering the principles of Open Government into the NASA culture and the very fabric of our government. We understand that a changing external environment alters behavior and that change can also happen from within. There are some things that we must do alone, and there are some things that you must do as well. But with select key initiatives, by working together, we can transform our government into a democracy for the information age. Thank you for the work you've done to make our government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.



Section #1: Transparency

ObjectiveRelevant Sections in Plan
"Your agency's Open Government Plan should explain in detail how your agency will improve transparency. It should describe steps the agency will take to conduct its work more openly and publish its information online, including any proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve transparency."Principle #1 in the Framework section details NASA's intent to improve transparency in its operations. The Open Government Goals in the fact sheets with a Transparency check-mark articulate how we will become more transparent.
"…your agency should describe how it is currently meeting its legal information dissemination obligations."The Procurement, Public Affairs Web Initiatives, Financial Data Transparency, and OCIO Initiatives sections describe how we are meeting our legal information obligations.
"A strategic action plan for transparency that (1) inventories agency high-value information currently available for download; (2) fosters the public's use of this information to increase public knowledge and promote public scrutiny of agency services; and (3) identifies high value information not yet available and establishes a reasonable timeline for publication online in open formats with specific target dates. In cases where the agency provides public information maintained in electronic format, a plan for timely publication of the underlying data."The Data.gov section of the plan lays out a strategic plan for releasing high-value datasets in the future onto data.gov as well as provides examples of current datasets on the site.
The sections on Education Activities, NASA Engineering Network and NASA Technical Reports ServerNASA Technology Transfer fact sheets discuss potential datasets which could be posted onto the Data.gov.
"Details as to how your agency is complying with transparency initiative guidance such as Data.gov, eRulemaking, IT Dashboard, Recovery.gov, and USAspending.gov. Where gaps exist, the agency should detail the steps the agency is taking and the timing to meet the requirements for each initiative."The Financial Data Transparency section discusses NASA's compliance with Recovery.gov and USAspending.gov.
The Data.gov section discusses compliance with data.gov requirements.
"Details of proposed actions to be taken, with clear milestones, to inform the public of significant actions and business of your agency, such as through agency public meetings, briefings, press conferences on the Internet, and periodic national town hall meetings."The Public Affairs Web Initiatives and NASA Television discusses how integral www.nasa.gov is in communicating news, upcoming events, and being able to watch it live.
A link to a Web site that includes (1) a description of your staffing, organizational structure, and process for analyzing and responding to FOIA requests; (2) an assessment of your agency's capacity to analyze, coordinate, and respond to such requests in a timely manner together with proposed changes, technological resources, or reforms that your agency determines are needed to strengthen your response processes; and (3) if your agency has a significant backlog, milestones that detail how your agency will reduce its pending backlog of outstanding FOIA requests by at least ten percent each year.The link to NASA's Freedom of Information Act page in the FOIA section of this report fulfils all of these requirements.
A description or link to a Web page that describes your staffing, organizational structure, and process for analyzing and responding to Congressional requests for information.The link to NASA's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs in the Congressional Correspondence section of the report fulfils this requirement.
A link to a publicly available Web page where the public can learn about your agency's declassification programs, learn how to access declassified materials, and provide input about what types of information should be prioritized for declassification, as appropriate.At the present, the Office of Protective Services Web site is undergoing renovation. The Web version of this fact sheet will temporarily serve to fulfill this requirement until OPS's new Web site launches within the next three months.

Section #2: Participation

ObjectiveRelevant Sections in Plan
"Your agency's Open Government Plan should explain in detail how your agency will improve participation, including steps your agency will take to revise its current practices to increase opportunities for public participation in and feedback on the agency's core mission activities. The specific details should include proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve participation."Principle #2 in the Frameworks section details NASA's intent to improve participation with the public. The Open Government Goals in the fact sheets with a Participation check-mark articulate how we will become more participatory. In particular, please see Public Affairs - Web Initiatives, NASA Television, NASA Education Activities, Centennial Challenges, and Open Innovation Projects. Also, see Open Source at NASA and the Participatory Exploration Office flagship projects.
"The Plan should include descriptions of and links to appropriate Web sites where the public can engage in existing participatory processes of your agency."The Public Affairs Web Initiatives section discusses both NASA Chats and NASA's Connect Web page, two online resources available to the public that open up various participatory processes through social media, communication with NASA experts, and opportunities to collaborate on NASA projects. Additionally, please look at the Education Activities fact sheet. As we implement the Participatory Exploration Office flagship project, there soon will be a clearinghouse for participatory projects for the public to contribute.
"The Plan should include proposals for new feedback mechanisms, including innovative tools and practices that create new and easier methods for public engagement."The Citizenship Engagement Analysis section discusses using the IdeaScale crowd sourcing tool in future NASA projects to solicit ideas and comments from the public.
The Open Source Software Development section outlines the future of the open source movement at NASA, an innovative participatory process that allows for direct public participation in software development.

Section #3: Collaboration

ObjectiveRelevant Sections in Plan
"Your agency's Open Government Plan should explain in detail how your agency will improve collaboration, including steps the agency will take to revise its current practices to further cooperation with other Federal and non-Federal governmental agencies, the public, and non-profit and private entities in fulfilling the agency's core mission activities. The specific details should include proposed changes to internal management and administrative policies to improve collaboration. The Plan should include proposals to use technology platforms to improve collaboration among people within and outside your agency."Principle #3 in the Frameworks section details NASA's intent to improve collaboration. The Open Government Goals in the fact sheets with a Collaboration check-mark articulate how we will become more collaborative. We have a very flexible founding legislation that allows us to enter into Space Act Agreement with external partners (see the Space Act Agreement, Technology Transfer, and Open Innovation Pilots section). We rely heavily on partnerships to conduct our mission and expand our utility (see Mission Directorate sections). For internal collaboration, see the OCIO and Open Government, Citizen Engagement Analysis appendix, and the NASA Nebula Flagship initiative.
"The Plan should include descriptions of and links to appropriate Web sites where the public can learn about existing collaboration efforts of your agency.The Open Innovation, Public Affairs Web Initiatives, and Centennial Challenges sections contain links to multiple Web sites that feature opportunities to collaborate with NASA on various projects.
"The Plan should include innovative methods, such as prizes and competitions, to obtain ideas from and to increase collaboration with those in the private sector, non-profit, and academic communities."The Centennial Challenges section discusses NASA's innovative method of using competitions to spur technology development and collaboration.

Section #4: Flagship Initiative

ObjectiveRelevant Sections in Plan
"Each agency's Open Government Plan should describe at least one specific, new transparency, participation, or collaboration initiative that your agency is currently implementing (or that will be implemented before the next update of the Open Government Plan)."NASA's Open Government Plan specifies three new flagship initiative projects: NASA Open Source Software Development, NASA Nebula, and the Participatory Exploration Office. Each Flagship project is described in their respective sections.
An overview of the initiative, how it addresses one or more of the three openness principles, and how it aims to improve agency operations;Each flagship initiative describes their Open Government principles and how they aim to improve NASA operations. To be explicit:

Open Source - Transparency and Participation. This can speed up the development and lower cost of NASA software. This can also stimulate industry, as they are able to use NASA-released software.

NASA Nebula - Participation and Collaboration. Nebula, a robust open source cloud computing platform. will enhance collaboration as it makes is much cheaper and quicker for NASA programs to have computation resources, and increases inter-government collaboration through the use of similar computation platforms.

Participatory Exploration - Participation. This is bringing the citizen into NASA’s mission in a meaningful way during mission formulation. NASA can partner with the public to conduct aeronautics research and explore space.
An explanation of how your agency engages or plans to engage the public and maintain dialogue with interested parties who could contribute innovative ideas to the initiative;The website: opennasaplan.ideascale.com is another engagement tool which has a forum for each fact sheet. The Citizen Engagement Analysis and Data.gov sections discuss using the IdeaScale crowd sourcing tool in future NASA projects to solicit ideas and comments from the public. Specifically for the Flagship projects: Open Source is planning on using Github to store code which has many social coding features; NASA Nebula will be at relevant conferences and plans release its first open source within six months; and Participatory Exploration plans to Use direct (workshops) and indirect (Web polls) methods to generate and gauge external interest in and information on participation.
If appropriate, identification of any partners external to your agency with whom you directly collaborate on the initiative;The NASA Open Source Software Development section discusses interation with SourceForge.com and Github to host NASA software. NASA Nebula has already partnered with GSA for usaspending.gov 2.0 and is open for additional partnerships. Participatory Exploration Office intends to partner with the public, but also support the participatory partnerships between NASA and the large IT companies (Google, Microsoft, etc.).
An account of how your agency plans to measure improved transparency, participation, and/or collaboration through this initiative;The NASA Open Source Software Development initiative discusses metrics for determining the success of the project. Metrics will be a large part of the research the Participatory Exploration Office will conduct to provide programmatic utility for public participation in NASA's missions. These metrics will be shared with other government agencies, if applicable.
An explanation of the steps your agency is taking to make the initiative sustainable and allow for continued improvement.The Frameworks section describes our approach toward Open Government being an interative, continuous learning approach. This is also true for the Flagship projects. The 3 month, 6 month, 1 year and 2 year goals we articulate is our best forecast toward bringing these three transformative projects into NASA. When successes are celebrated we intend to solidify the approach into policy to make it part of the institutional memory for NASA. Good policies become part of our culture and therefore are sustainable.