2013 Global Information Technology Report (GITR) and Networked Readiness Index (NRI)

The World Economic Forum has published

The Global Information Technology Report 2013: Growth and Jobs in a Hyperconnected World

Beñat Bilbao-Osorio, Soumitra Dutta, and Bruno Lanvin, Editors

The online edition is here.

The executive summary begins with

When The Global Information Technology Report (GITR) and the Networked Readiness Index (NRI) were created some 12 years ago, the attention of decision makers and investors was on adopting business and financial strategies that would allow them to develop in the context of a fast-moving but nascent Internet economy. Over more than a decade, the NRI has provided decision leaders with a useful conceptual framework to evaluate the impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs) at a global level, and to benchmark the ICT readiness and the usage of their economies.

Today, the world has undergone massive changes: the Internet bubble has come and gone, and emerging countries such as China and India have become prominent global users and providers of ICT equipment and services. Struggling to emerge from the financial crisis, developed economies are striving to return to higher levels of growth and competitiveness while fighting stubbornly high unemployment rates, especially among their youth. Both emerging and developed economies are focusing on innovation, competing globally for talent, resources, and market shares. Information flows and networks have spread across borders in ways that could not be imagined before the onset of the Internet, the global adoption of mobile telephony and social networks, and the rapid growth of broadband. Business models have been redefined, the workplace has been redesigned, small startups have evolved into large companies, and entire functions of society (education, health, security, privacy) are being rethought.

and is divided into the following sections, indicating the order discussion throughout the full, 409-page report:

    • Insight from the NRI 2013 on the world’s networked readiness
    • Digitization for Economic Growth and Job Creation: Regional and Industry Perspectives
    • Convergent Objectives, Divergent Strategies: A Taxonomy of National Broadband and ICT Plans
    • The Importance of National Policy Leadership
    • Fiber Broadband: A Foundation for Social and Economic Growth
    • The Economic Impact of Next-Generation Mobile Services: How 3G Connections and the Use of Mobile Data Impact GDP Growth
    • Better Measurements for Realizing the Full Potential of Health Information Technologies
    • Re-Establishing the European Union’s Competitiveness with the Next Wave of Investment in Telecommunications
    • The Big Opportunity for Inclusive Growth
    • Colombia’s Digital Agenda: Successes and Challenges Ahead
    • The Metamorphosis to a Knowledge-Based Society: Rwanda
    • E-Government in Latin America: A Review of the Success in Colombia, Uruguay, and Panama

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Meet Ravel and its approach to legal data visualization

Ravel, a search visualization, analytics, and annotation platform of United States Supreme Court and Circuit Court cases, now offers free and unlimited access directly through the website (in beta mode). The database, according to its founders, is generally as comprehensive and up-to-date as Google Scholar (meaning complete Supreme Court collection & Circuit Court coverage back to ~1950). They expect to add California, New York, and Delaware case law during the summer.

According to a story from the Daily Journal (“Entrepreneurs use design to launch legal startup,” December 31, 2012) founders Dan Lewis and Nik Reed

. . . set out to create a website that would visually map out case histories so legal professionals could more easily extract important information, such as how many times a case had been cited and what cases incorporated similar key words and phrases.

Co-founders Dan Lewis and Nik Reed are Stanford Law School alumni and their company is discussed in a recent article from the Stanford Lawyer, “The Cutting Edge:   
A Positive Disruption: The Transformation of Law Through Technology.”





Independent agencies — so how many of those are there?

No easy answer here either, as Kirti Datla and Richard L. Revesz make clear in an article from the latest issue of the Cornell Law Review.  Here’s the abstract to their article “Deconstructing Independent Agencies (and Executive Agencies)“:

Volumes have been written—both by courts and commentators—about the so-called independent agencies. These agencies are thought to be distinct from executive branch agencies and constitutionally insulated from presidential influence. Yet few have paused to ask what features make an agency “independent” as opposed to “executive.” To answer that question, this Article systematically surveys administrative agencies for a broad set of indicia of independence: removal protection, multimember structure, partisan balance requirements, budget and congressional communication authority, litigation authority, and adjudication authority. This Article also examines the functional differences between independent and executive agencies. As it turns out, there is no single feature, structural or functional, that every agency thought of as independent shares—not even the for-cause removal provision commonly associated with independence. We therefore reject the binary distinction between independent and executive agencies. Instead, all agencies should be regarded as executive and seen as falling on a spectrum from more independent to less independent. From this new understanding of administrative agencies flows a simple theory of presidential control: A President can take any action with respect to an agency (assuming it is within his Article II powers) unless Congress has prohibited that action by statute (in a manner that does not encroach upon the President’s Article II powers). There is no tenable argument to justify an extra layer of constitutional or statutory limits to presidential interaction with agencies.


How many federal agencies are there? What is a federal agency?

There aren’t easy answers to these questions, as an article in the latest issue of Administrative and Regulatory Law News points out.  The article, “Mapping the Contours of the Federal Government,” by John M. Kamensky, writing about the just-issued Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies, notes that:

. . . [The Sourcebook] authors note that “there is no authoritative list of government agencies” and that “many federal entities do not neatly reside in the executive branch.”  . . .

. . . the first section of the report addresses the question “What is a Federal agency?” and comes to no real conclusion because “Congress defines what ‘an agency’ is in relation to particular laws rather than provide one overarching definition.” . . .

Not even the courts have offered a definitive answer; so, the authors developed their own definition . . . They define an agency as “a federal executive instrumentality headed by one or more political appointees nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate (the instrumentality itself rather than its bureaus, offices or divisions).”

The Dynamic Process of Legislative History: The New Norm of Ad Hoc Legislating ~ Article on “How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History”

Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law Legal Research Center Research and Instructional Services Librarian John Cannan has authored an excellent article on the subject matter of the above headline in the latest issue (volume 105, number 2, Spring 2013, pages 131-173) of the American Association of Law Libraries’ (AALL’s) Law Library Journal:

A Legislative History of the Affordable Care Act: How Legislative Procedure Shapes Legislative History

The article’s abstract reads:

Using the health care legislation passed in 2010 as a model to show how legislative procedure shapes legislative history, this article posits that legislative procedure has changed, making the traditional model of the legislative process used by law librarians and other researchers insufficient to capture the history of modern legislation. To prove this point, it follows the process through which the health care legislation was created and describes the information resources generated. The article concludes by listing resources that will give law librarians and other researchers a grounding in modern legislative procedure and help them navigate the difficulties presented by modern lawmaking.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Executive Office of the President May 9, 2013 Memorandum “Open Data Policy — Managing Information as an Asset”


Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies (M-13-13) dated May 9, 2013 — SUBJECT: Open Data Policy — Managing Information as An Asset

The accompanying Executive Order of May 9, 2013 — Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information — is here and reads as follows:


The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
May 09, 2013

Executive Order — Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information


- – - – - – -


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. General Principles. Openness in government strengthens our democracy, promotes the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and contributes to economic growth. As one vital benefit of open government, making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery that improves Americans’ lives and contributes significantly to job creation.

Decades ago, the U.S. Government made both weather data and the Global Positioning System freely available. Since that time, American entrepreneurs and innovators have utilized these resources to create navigation systems, weather newscasts and warning systems, location-based applications, precision farming tools, and much more, improving Americans’ lives in countless ways and leading to economic growth and job creation. In recent years, thousands of Government data resources across fields such as health and medicine, education, energy, public safety, global development, and finance have been posted in machine-readable form for free public use on Data.gov. Entrepreneurs and innovators have continued to develop a vast range of useful new products and businesses using these public information resources, creating good jobs in the process.

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.

Sec. 2. Open Data Policy. (a) The Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), shall issue an Open Data Policy to advance the
management of Government information as an asset, consistent with my memorandum of January 21, 2009 (Transparency and Open Government), OMB Memorandum M-10-06 (Open Government Directive), OMB and National Archives and Records Administration Memorandum M-12-18 (Managing Government Records Directive), the Office of Science and Technology Policy Memorandum of February 22, 2013 (Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research), and the CIO’s strategy entitled “Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People.” The Open Data Policy shall be updated as needed.

(b) Agencies shall implement the requirements of the Open Data Policy and shall adhere to the deadlines for specific actions specified therein. When implementing the Open Data Policy, agencies shall incorporate a full analysis of privacy, confidentiality, and security risks into each stage of the information lifecycle to identify information that should not be released. These review processes should be overseen by the senior agency official for privacy. It is vital that agencies not release information if doing so would violate any law or policy, or jeopardize privacy, confidentiality, or national security.

Sec. 3. Implementation of the Open Data Policy. To facilitate effective Government-wide implementation of the Open Data Policy, I direct the following:

(a) Within 30 days of the issuance of the Open Data Policy, the CIO and CTO shall publish an open online repository of tools and best practices to assist agencies in integrating the Open Data Policy into their operations in furtherance of their missions. The CIO and CTO shall regularly update this online repository as needed to ensure it remains a resource to facilitate the adoption of open data practices.

(b) Within 90 days of the issuance of the Open Data Policy, the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management, CIO, and Administrator of OIRA shall work with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, Chief Financial Officers Council, Chief Information Officers Council, and Federal Records Council to identify and initiate implementation of measures to support the integration of the Open Data Policy requirements into Federal acquisition and grant-making processes. Such efforts may include developing sample requirements language, grant and contract language, and workforce tools for agency acquisition, grant, and information management and technology professionals.

(c) Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Chief Performance Officer (CPO) shall work with the President’s Management Council to establish a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal to track implementation of the Open Data Policy. The CPO shall work with agencies to set incremental performance goals, ensuring they have metrics and milestones in place to monitor advancement toward the CAP Goal. Progress on these goals shall be analyzed and reviewed by agency leadership, pursuant to the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-352).

(d) Within 180 days of the date of this order, agencies shall report progress on the implementation of the CAP Goal to the CPO. Thereafter, agencies shall report progress quarterly, and as appropriate.

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(d) Nothing in this order shall compel or authorize the disclosure of privileged information, law enforcement information, national security information, personal information, or information the disclosure of which is prohibited by law.

(e) Independent agencies are requested to adhere to this order.


Some approving commentary — Alexander B. Howard, “The Best Thing Obama’s Done This Month: His executive order to open government data is a really big deal,” Slate.com — is here.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

ProPublica Launches Online, Free Service for Searching U.S. Tax Returns of Non-Profits

According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, ProPublica“an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest” — has begun an online, free service for searching the U.S. tax returns of over 600,000 non-profit organizations:

ProPublica Launches Online Tool to Search Nonprofit Tax Forms

Please see:
ProPublica’s Nonprofit Explorer

Hat tip to ResourceShelf.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

New Article: “Are Elite Journals Declining?”

This interesting piece by Canadian and Estonian scholars is here.

The abstract reads:

Previous work indicates that over the past 20 years, the highest quality work have been published in an increasingly diverse and larger group of journals. In this paper we examine whether this diversification has also affected the handful of elite journals that are traditionally considered to be the best. We examine citation patterns over the past 40 years of 7 long-standing traditionally elite journals and 6 journals that have been increasing in importance over the past 20 years. To be among the top 5% or 1% cited papers, papers now need about twice as many citations as they did 40 years ago. Since the late 1980s and early 1990s elite journals have been publishing a decreasing proportion of these top cited papers. This also applies to the two journals that are typically considered as the top venues and often used as bibliometric indicators of “excellence”, Science and Nature. On the other hand, several new and established journals are publishing an increasing proportion of most cited papers. These changes bring new challenges and opportunities for all parties. Journals can enact policies to increase or maintain their relative position in the journal hierarchy. Researchers now have the option to publish in more diverse venues knowing that their work can still reach the same audiences. Finally, evaluators and administrators need to know that although there will always be a certain prestige associated with publishing in “elite” journals, journal hierarchies are in constant flux so inclusion of journals into this group is not permanent.

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Report on State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

This helpful, timely, April 5, 2013 report

  • State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues [R43034]
    By Todd Garvey, Legislative Attorney & Brian T. Yeh, Legislative Attorney

is here.

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.

“Judges and Their Papers” by Kathryn A. Watts, Univ. of Washington School of Law — Who should own a federal judge’s papers?

University of Washington (UW) School of Law Associate Professor Kathryn A. Watt’s subject, thought-provoking paper is here.

Hat tip to Law Librarian Blog.

Cross-posted at Law Library Blog.