The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
Noveck, Beth Simone 2013. The Networked State. Harvard University Press.
Gurin, Joel and Beth Noveck 2013. Corporations and Transparency: Improving Consumer Markets and Increasing Public Accountability in "Transparency in Politics and the Media: Accountability and Open Government," Nigel Bowles, James T. Hamilton, David A. Lev, eds. I.B. Tauris/Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (forthcoming 2013).
From cuneiform to card catalogs, people have always recorded data. But now we have tools to collect information faster than ever before. The proliferation of data includes statistics collected by governments about the economy, such as unemployment data or data that we supply on our tax returns and patent filings. When the media refer to the era of “Big Data,” they are including the vast amounts of information we also passively generate. Our mobile phones and cars contain sensors to track and report our location, position, acceleration, and temperature. The smart meters in our homes reveal when we turn on the heat or hot water. Companies increasingly gather data about our shopping and web browsing habits. The world’s storehouse of digital information is growing at the rate of five trillion bits per second.
This report addresses the challenges to obtaining better, more usable data about the nonprofit sector to match the sector’s growingimportance. In 2010, there were 1.5 million tax-exempt organizations in the United States with $1.51 trillion in revenues. Through the Form 990 in its several varieties, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gathers and publishes a large amount of information about tax-exempt organizations. Over time, versions of the Form 990 have evolved that collect information on governance, investments, and other factors not directly related to an organization’s tax calculations or qualifications for tax exemption. Copies of these returns are available one at a time from the filers or from other sources. The IRS creates image files of Form 990 returns and sells compilationsof them to the subscribing public for a fee. Several institutions, particularly GuideStar, the Foundation Center, and the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) at the Urban Institute, use this IRS data to analyze and present information about individual nonprofits and about the sector as a whole.
Like other important data collected by governments, information contained in the 990s could potentially be far more useful if it were not only public but “open” data. Open data are data that are available to all, free of charge, in a standard format, published without proprietary conditions, and available online as a bulk download rather than only through single-entry lookup. Making the Form 990 data truly open in this sense would not only make it easier to use for the organizations that already process it, but would also make it useful to researchers, advocates, entrepreneurs, technologists, and nonprofits that do not have the resources to use the data in its current form. We argue that open 990 data may increase transparency for nonprofit organizations, making it easier for state and federal authorities to detect fraud, spur innovation in the nonprofit sector and, above all, help us to understand the potential value of the 990 data.
Open Data are the basis for government innovation. This isn’t because open data make government more transparent or accountable. Like Tom Slee, I have serious doubts about whether it does either of those things. In any event, shining a light on the misdeeds of ineffective institutions isn’t as imperative as redesigning how they work. Instead, open data can provide the raw material to convene informed conversations inside and outside institutions about what’s broken and the empirical foundation for developing solutions together.
In groups people can accomplish what they cannot do alone. Now new visual and social technologies are making it possible for people to make decisions and solve complex problems collectively. These technologies are enabling groups not only to create community but also to
Noveck, Beth 2011. What's in a Name? Open Gov and Good Gov. Huffington Post.
Noveck, Beth 2011. Why Cutting E-Gov Funding Threatens American Jobs. Huffington Post.
In a world where web services can make real-time data accessible to anyone, how can the government leverage this openness to improve its operations and increase citizen participation and awareness? Through a collection of essays and case studies, leading visionaries and practitioners both inside and outside of government share their ideas on how to achieve and direct this emerging world of online collaboration, transparency, and participation.
Contributions and topics include:
Open Government editors:
Daniel Lathrop is a former investigative projects reporter with the Seattle Post Intelligencer who's covered politics in Washington state, Iowa, Florida, and Washington D.C. He's a specialist in campaign finance and "computer-assisted reporting" -- the practice of using data analysis to report the news.
Noveck, Beth Simone 2009. Wiki Government: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. Brookings Press (2009), Russian (2012), Chinese (2011), Arabic (2011), Audio Book (2011).
Wiki Government shows how to bring innovation to government. In explaining how to enhance political institutions with the power of networks, it offers a fundamental rethinking of democracy in the digital age. Collaborative democracy-government of the people, by the people, for the people-is an old dream. Today, Wiki Government shows how technology can make that dream a reality. In this thought-provoking book, Beth Simone Noveck illustrates how collaborative democracy strengthens public decisionmaking by connecting the power of the many to the work of the few. Equally important, she provides a step-by-step demonstration of how collaborative democracy can be designed, opening policymaking to greater participation. "Wiki Government" tells the story behind one of the most dramatic public sector innovations in recent years - inviting the public to participate in the patent examination process. Patent examiners usually work in secret, cut off from essential information and racing against the clock to master arcane technical claims. The Peer-to-Patent project radically transformed this process by allowing anyone with Internet access to collaborate with the agency in reviewing patent applications. "Wiki Government" describes how a far-flung team of technologists, lawyers, and policymakers pried open a tradition-bound agency's doors. Noveck explains how she brought both fiercely competitive companies and risk-averse bureaucrats on board. She discusses the design challenges the team faced in creating software to distill online collaboration into useful expertise, not just rants or raves. And she explains how law, policy, and technology can be revamped to help government work in more open and participatory ways in a wide range of policy arenas, including education and the environment.
Noveck, Beth (selected chapters) 2008. A Complex(ity) Strategy for Breaking the Environmental Logjam (with David R. Johnson), in Breaking the LogJam: An Environmental Law for the 21st Century. NYU Environ. L. Rev. (Fall 2008).
In this essay, we explore how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) might use technology to improve the agency's level of scientific expertise and to obtain useful information sooner to inform EPA policymaking. By creating a self-reinforcing collaboration between government and networked publics, new web-based tools could help produce change within government and without - namely governmental decisions informed by better data obtained through citizen participation and civic action coordinated with governmental priorities. The agency has the opportunity to help break the logjam of environmental policymaking by developing transparent and participatory mechanisms for expert citizen participation. The key insight is not to throw open the floodgates to undifferentiated public input, but to design group-based processes that enable online communities to collaborate on finding and vetting information for agencies.
Law students are footnoting the publicly authored, online resource known as Wikipedia in their term papers. Courts have cited to Wikipedia in authoritative judicial opinions. Law professors are doing so in their journal articls. Yet some members of the legal and academic communities are up in arms, decrying the use of an encyclopedia that anyone can write and edit. To allow students to rely on an online resource that might contain mistakes encourages laziness and risks undermining the legitimacy of legal authority and professionalism.
Noveck, Beth 2006. Peer to Patent: Collective Intelligence and Intellectual Property Reform. 20 Harv. J. L. Tech. 123 .
The patent system is broken. The Constitution intended for patents to foster innovation and the promotion of progress in the useful arts. Instead, the Patent Office creates uncertainty and monopoly. Underpaid and overwhelmed examiners struggle under the burden of 350,000 applications per year and a mounting backlog of 600,000. Increasingly patents are approved for unmerited inventions. What if we could make it easier to ensure that only the most worthwhile inventions got twenty years of monopoly rights? What if we could offer a
The patent system is broken. The Constitution intended for patents to foster innovation and
The State of Play presents an essential first step in understanding how new digital worlds will change the future of our universe. Millions of people around the world inhabit virtual words: multiplayer online games where characters live, love, buy, trade, cheat, steal, and have every possible kind of adventure. Far more complicated and sophisticated than early video games, people now spend countless hours in virtual universes like Second Life and Star Wars Galaxies not to shoot space invaders but to create new identities, fall in love, build cities, make rules, and break them.
As digital worlds become increasingly powerful and lifelike, people will employ them for countless real-world purposes, including commerce, education, medicine, law enforcement, and military training. Inevitably, real-world law will regulate them. But should virtual worlds be fully integrated into our real-world legal system or should they be treated as separate jurisdictions with their own forms of dispute resolution? What rules should govern virtual communities? Should the law step in to protect property rights when virtual items are destroyed or stolen?
These questions, and many more, are considered in The State of Play, where legal experts, game designers, and policymakers explore the boundaries of free speech, intellectual property, and creativity in virtual worlds. The essays explore both the emergence of law in multiplayer online games and how we can use virtual worlds to study real-world social interactions and test real-world laws.
Contributors include: Jack M. Balkin, Richard A. Bartle, Yochai Benkler, Caroline Bradley, Edward Castronova, Susan P. Crawford, Julian Dibbell, A. Michael Froomkin, James Grimmelmann, David R. Johnson, Dan Hunter, Raph Koster, F. Gregory Lastowka, Beth Simone Noveck, Cory Ondrejka, Tracy Spaight, and Tal Zarsky.
Noveck, Beth 2006. Trademark Law and the Social Construction of Trust: Creating the Legal Framework for On-Line Identity. 83 Wash. U. L. Q. 1733.
The intellectual property system has fostered many debates, including recent ones, regarding how the system affects access to knowledge. Yet, before one can access, one must preserve. Two interconnected problems posed by the growth of online creation illustrate the predicament. First, unlike analog creations, important digital creations such as e-mails and word-processed documents are mediated and controlled by second parties. Thus, although these creations are core intellectual property, they are not treated as such. Service providers and software makers terminate or deny access to people’s digital property all the time. In addition, when one dies, some service providers refuse to grant heirs access to this property. The uneven and unclear management of these creations means that society will lose access to perhaps the greatest chronicling of human experience ever. Accordingly, this Article investigates and sets forth the theoretical foundations to explain why and how society should preserve this property. In so doing the Article finds that a second problem, which can be understood as one of control, arises.
This Article is the first in a series of works aimed at investigating the nature and extent of control one may have or exert over a work. As such, this Article begins the project by examining the normative theories behind creators’, heirs’, and society’s interests in the works. All three groups have interests in preservation, but the basis for the claims differs. In addition, an examination of the theoretical basis for these claims shows that the nature of the attention economy in conjunction with labor- and persona-based property theories support the position that in life a creator has strong claims for control over her intangible creations. Yet, the Article finds that historical and literary theory combined with recent economic theory as advanced by Professors Brett Frischmann and Mark Lemley regarding spillovers—positive externalities generated by access to ideas and information—reveals two points. First, these views support the need for better preservation of digital intellectual property insofar as it is infrastructure and has the potential for spillover effects. Second, although the creator may be best placed to manage and exert control of the works at issue, once the creator dies, literary, historical, and economic theory show that the claims for control diminish if not vanish. The explication and implications of this second point are explored elsewhere. This Article lays the groundwork for seeing that creators may need and have powerful claims for access and control over their works but that these same claims are necessarily limited by an understanding of the nature of creation and creative systems. The dividing line falls between life and death. The life and death distinction that this Article offers seeks to balance creators’ interests in control over a work and society’s interests in fostering later expressions and creations of new works. This Article examines the life side of the line.
The First Amendment serves many purposes both individual and social.
All are incorrect, at least in emphasis, to suggest that core First
Taking a multidisciplinary approach that they identify as a "cyber-realist research agenda," the contributors to this volume examine the prospects for electronic democracy in terms of its form and practice--while avoiding the pitfall of treating the benefits of electronic democracy as being self-evident. The debates question what electronic democracy needs to accomplish in order to revitalize democracy and what the current state of electronic democracy can teach us about the challenges and opportunities for implementing democratic technology initiatives.
Noveck, Beth 2004. The Electronic Revolution in Rulemaking. 53 EMORY L. J. 1 .
Noveck, Beth 2003. "Designing Deliberative Democracy" in Cyberspace: The Role of the Cyber-lawyer. 9 B.U. J. Sci. and Tech. L. 1-71 .