OPEN Puerto Rico, a platform that strives to find and publish governmental data and public documents, is looking to raise $14,000 through crowdfunding platform AntRocket, to be able to further its pursuit of pushing for public sector transparency.
OPEN Puerto Rico, which launched six months ago, seeks to provide references to improve the decision making process, ensure greater transparency and hold the government accountable. It seeks to add new data to its website on a regular basis.
“Since our launch six months ago, we have received many requests for information, which although public, has not been published by government agencies. With this new service, we hope to meet all these requests,” said Alvin Quiñones, co-founder of the Center for Research and Public Policy (CIPP), the nonprofit organization that created OPEN Puerto Rico.
With the new functionality, a citizen can use the OPEN Puerto Rico platform to locate an agency, generate an application consistent with applicable laws or regulations to maximize their effectiveness, and monitor its progress.
Application monitoring will be visible to anyone and the government agency may receive and respond to the request through the platform in an electronic format. Alternatively, if the information does not exist in digital format, the OPEN Puerto Rico team will help the applicant inspect and scan the information on-site and in the format they are in.
Subsequently, the same information will be available in OPEN Puerto Rico to avoid an extra expense for the applicant or the agency. Similarly, once available in OPEN Puerto Rico, both citizens and institutions will be able to analyze and transform the information to issue findings and improve the level of public discourse and decision-making by the government and residents of Puerto Rico.
“Contrary to what happens today in most cases when a citizen requests access to data and public documents and the agency ignores or unnecessarily delays the provision of information, every citizen and the press may exercise and monitor government compliance with the fundamental right of access to public information,” said Edward Calvesbert, OPEN Puerto Rico board member.
The expectation is that through the new platform, citizens will be able to request information on matters such as projects that receive financial support from the Government Development Bank, companies and individuals that receive tax incentives, travel and promotion expenses incurred by civil servants, the terms and benefits of collective bargaining agreements, and any private contracting for goods or services by a government agency or public corporation.