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An official website of the United States Government.

Frequently Asked Questions Open Government

What is transparency in the context of open government?

In the context of Open Government, transparency means the following. This is necessarily an incomplete list, since transparency can take many forms:

  • Making government information more accessible, particularly by publishing more online. This should be done in a timely fashion and with, in the President’s words, a “presumption of openness”: while we must respect individuals’ privacy and ensure security, we should try to make as much information available as possible and not wait to receive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to post information online;
  • Providing online information in open formats that make the information easy to retrieve, organize, search, and use;
  • Publishing data sets of high value to the public; and
  • Making available on the Web information about how we go about doing things such as processing FOIA requests and responding to Congressional inquiries.
In other words, transparency is about making information about our work easily available to the public in ways that are useful to you. Transparency is also good for OPM: it makes doing our job easier and more efficient.

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