The Congressional War on the Social Sciences, by Kenneth Prewitt, Pacific Standard (May 24, 2013).
"There’s nothing wrong with requiring accountability from government-sponsored science. But when policymakers’ questions misjudge the role that science plays, we have a problem."
House bill 1211 amends the Freedom of Information Act with the intended purpose being to provide for greater public access to information. The bill would require federal agencies to make public information disclosed under FOIA available in an electronic, publicly accessible format and require the OMB to ensure the existence and operation of a single, free website for submitting requests for records and receiving automated information about the status of a FOIA request.
- H. R. 1211 To amend section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the Freedom of Information Act), to provide for greater public access to information, and for other purposes., [pdf] Mr. ISSA (for himself and Mr. CUMMINGS), 113TH Congress 1st session, March 15, 2013.
- Bill Summary & Status, Thomas.
- Cost Estimate, H.R. 1211 FOIA Act, by Matthew Pickford, Elizabeth Cove Delisle, Paige Piper/Bach, Theresa Gullo. Congressional Budget Office (May 21, 2013).
House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative DocumentsSubmitted by jajacobs on Wed, 2013-05-22 08:11.
In a letter to the Acting Public Printer of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) the House Committee on Administration has rejected a recent recommendation by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to charge the public for access to GPO’s congressional documents. The response is to the NAPA report Rebooting the Government Printing Office: Keeping America Informed, which recommended that GPO consider charging for access to its Federal Digital System (FDsys).
- House Administration Rejects NAPA Recommendation to Charge Public for Access to Legislative Documents, Committee on House Administration (May 22, 2013).
- Letter to Vance-Cooks, [PDF] Chairman Candice Miller (R-Mich.), Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-Pa) (May 21, 2013)
[Editor's note 5/23/13: Several people have contacted FGI and asked for clarification. The title of our post, which we borrowed from Steven Aftergood, is a little misleading. The decision to suspend access to NASA technical reports was purely the decision of NASA administrators. GPO's news item makes it clear that GPO is only announcing that some of the purls to NASA technical reports in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) "may not link to the documents that the catalog record describes."]
Steven Aftergood reports that The Government Printing Office is blocking public access to some previously released records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. PURLs may not link to the documents that the catalog record describes.
- GPO Suspends Public Access to Some NASA Records, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (May 16, 2013).
The Government Printing Office is blocking public access to some previously released records of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, while the records are reviewed to see if they contain export-controlled information. The move follows the controversial disabling and partial restoration of the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) (NASA Technical Report Database Partly Back Online, Secrecy News, May 9.)
- NASA Technical Reports Server Has Limited Content Availability Until Further Notice, FDLP (May 16, 2013).
Affected classes are:
NAS 1.15: 0830-D
NAS 1.26: 0830-H-14
NAS 1.2/2-2: 0830-H-26
NAS 1.60: 0830-H-15
See also our earlier comment on this issue.
Two new databases were released this week. Both are worth checking out!
- Nonprofit Explorer. ProPublica.
In April 2013, the IRS released structured data culled from the tax returns of almost 616,000 tax-exempt organizations. We've made this into a searchable database where you can look up organizations and see details like their executive compensation, revenue and expenses, as well as download their tax filings going back as far as 2001.
- Medicare Provider Charge Data. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The data provided here include hospital-specific charges for the more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals that receive Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) payments for the top 100 most frequently billed discharges, paid under Medicare based on a rate per discharge using the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Group (MS-DRG) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. These DRGs represent almost 7 million discharges or 60 percent of total Medicare IPPS discharges.
More links at InfoDocket.
Steven Aftergood reports that some reports have been restored to the NASA Technical Reports Server:
- NASA Technical Report Database Partly Back Online by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (May 9, 2013).
...many of the NTRS records have been restored, including open literature publications, magazine articles, and other documents that were already in the public domain in any case. But hundreds of thousands of others still await a formal export control review to certify them for public release.
The White House has issued a new Executive Order on open data:
- Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information. EXECUTIVE ORDER, May 09, 2013.
To promote continued job growth, Government efficiency, and the social good that can be gained from opening Government data to the public, the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable. Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable. In making this the new default state, executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall ensure that they safeguard individual privacy, confidentiality, and national security. [emphasis added]
- Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset. Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies M-13-13, Office of Management and Budget (May 9, 2013). [pdf. 12 pages]
- Landmark Steps to Liberate Open Data. by Todd Park and Steve VanRoekel White House Blog (May 09, 2013)
John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation has an excellent analysis and commentary:
- Open Data Executive Order Shows Path Forward, by John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation Blog (May 9, 2013).
[T]he new policies take on one of the most important, trickiest questions that these policies face -- how can we reset the default to openness when there is so much data? How can we take on managing and releasing all the government's data, or as much as possible, without negotiating over every dataset the government has?
How can the public (or policymakers) request what they don't know exists? How can CIOs manage what they haven't surveyed?
...Today's Executive Order demonstrates a new approach to open data, moving beyond rhetoric and aspiration, requiring agencies to publicly report on what data can be made public, building a new backbone for federal open data policy, and setting an example for other governments to follow. [emphasis added]
- New Open Data Memorandum almost defines open data, misses mark with open licenses. by Joshua Tauberer (May 9th, 2013).
- President Obama’s New E.O.: Open Data, Not Government Transparency by Jim Harper, Cato Institute (May 9, 2013).
President Obama Announces Intent To Nominate Davita Vance-Cooks As Public Printer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 9, 2013 No. 13-21
PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES INTENT TO NOMINATE DAVITA VANCE-COOKS AS PUBLIC PRINTER
WASHINGTON - The White House has released the following announcement:
Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post:
Davita Vance-Cooks, Nominee for Public Printer, Government Printing Office
Davita Vance-Cooks is currently Deputy Public Printer of the Government Printing Office (GPO), a position she has held since December 2011. Ms. Vance-Cooks has served in a number of other roles at GPO since 2004, including Chief of Staff, Managing Director of the Publications and Information Sales Business Unit, and Deputy Managing Director of Customer Services. Prior to joining GPO, she was the General Manager at HTH Worldwide Insurance Services from 2001 to 2004. Previously, she served as the Vice President of Consumer Services at Digital Insurance from 2000 to 2001. From 1993 to 2000, Ms. Vance-Cooks served in several roles with NYLCare Health Plans of the Mid-Atlantic, which was purchased by Aetna during her tenure. Ms. Vance-Cooks received her B.S. from Tufts University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Link to White House announcement: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/08/president-obama-an...
Link to Davita Vance-Cooks' bio: http://gpo.gov/pdfs/about/Vance-Cooksbio.pdf
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will be removing statistics on potentially life-threatening" mistakes made in hospitals from its Hospital Compare website. See the "Readmissions, Complications, and Deaths" tab when you choose hospitals to compare.
- U.S. to Delete Data on Life-Threatening Mistakes From Website, By Charles R. Babcock, Bloomberg (May 2, 2013).
Two years ago, over objections from the hospital industry, the U.S. announced it would add data about "potentially life-threatening" mistakes made in hospitals to a website people can search to check on safety performance.
Now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is planning to strip the site of the eight hospital-acquired conditions, which include infections and mismatched blood transfusions, while it comes up with a different set.
...The statistics were first posted in October 2011. CMS officials have said they’ll be removed during the website's annual update in July, according to Binder and the American Hospital Association. Binder estimated it could be two years before data from the new HACs appear on Hospital Compare.
The U.S. Department of Labor website was hacked Tuesday evening so that the computers of visitors to the web site would be infected with malaware. The malware infections appeared to have been stopped by late Wednesday morning, and the site has since been fixed. Details here:
- U.S. Labor Dept. Website Hacked, Serves Malware, by Mathew J. Schwartz, Information Week (May 01, 2013).
If a system was successfully compromised by the malicious code running on the Department of Labor's website, it would "phone home" to a command-and-control (C&C) server that's disguised as a Microsoft update server.