e-Government in an open access world
DE SAULLES, MARTIN (2006) e-Government in an open access world In: Proceedings of the 6th European Conference on e-Government, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, 27-28 April 2006.
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Open access in various guises is changing the way information is created, distributed and consumed across the public and private sectors. A number of e-Government initiatives within Europe have had the accessible and efficient dissemination of information from public bodies to individuals and private organisations at their core. A driving force of many of these initiatives has been the understanding that if notions of an information society are to be realised then access to information needs to be opened up. This paper explores recent European and UK policies in this area and considers a number of the responses that UK public sector bodies have made. Parallels are drawn with the open source movement in the computing industry and open access initiatives in the scholarly publishing world. In both cases it is shown how these developments are having profound impacts on established industry structures. Although demands for more open government are not new, many public sector bodies across Europe are, to varying degrees, adopting open access principles with regard to information dissemination. However, it is argued in this paper that a significant number of such organisations are restricting access to their information for financial and political reasons. The research presented in this paper draws on an analysis of official records from a range of public bodies that are actively pursuing e-Government programmes within the United Kingdom. The paper concludes that the benefits to government and society at large in embracing an open access model to information distribution far outweigh any short term gains from more closed models.
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