In our work, openness means several things: public information is freely available and useful; the workings of government are transparent; and public institutions and those working in the public interest nurture what some have called the ‚”new commons‚” – those freely available tools and knowledge that the Internet has enabled. An important thread that connects these various meanings is the idea that by reducing barriers and sharing what we create, government and other systems that we’re a part of will work more efficiently and produce better outcomes. This idea finds expression in areas as disparate as the open source software movement and the decades-long push for better freedom of information laws.
In this way, openness is a basic requirement for the success of much of CfA’s work. Open data and shared tools are necessary to enable the efficiency and participation that we seek to help governments achieve. And without openness in all its forms, the future that we imagine – where it is expected that all parts of our society are able to join with government as co-creators of the civic space will not come to be. Therefore, openness is a core value of Code for America, and promoting it is central to our mission.