Web 2.0 opens up rulemaking process

Tuesday - 1/18/2011, 12:05pm EST

Federal agencies can turn to blogs, Facebook and Twitter to help increase collaboration with the public on upcoming regulations, deadlines and procedures, found a Cornell University Study.

Federal Computer Week reports that the study focused on a pilot project by Cornell researchers to create what they called the Regulation Room. The site allowed the public to comment on two Department of Transportation proposed rules - one about airline passenger rights and the other about texting while driving.

The research found there was "some cause for optimism" for the potential of Web 2.0-supported rule-making. But the Cornell team also found the public's ignorance about rulemaking and the overload of information were challenges to creating a truly open and transparent rulemaking process.

An effective Rulemaking 2.0 platform will require a combination of technology, content and human assistance to users, researchers wrote. They added, "It must also spur [users] to revise their expectation about how they engage information on the web and also, perhaps, about what is required for civic participation."

The movement toward greater transparency in rulemaking was sparked by President Obama's open government memo, calling on agencies to create an unprecedented level of openness in government.