Special Issue "Open Government Technology and Law"

A special issue of Laws (ISSN 2075-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David S. Levine

Visiting Research Collaborator, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University, 313 Sherrerd Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
Associate Professor and Co-Chair, Faculty Development, Elon University School of Law, 201 North Greene Street, Greensboro, NC 27401, USA
Affiliate Scholar, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School, Crown Quadrangle, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, CA 94305-8610, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: trade secrecy and secrecy generally; Information systems; the operation of intellectual property law at the intersection of technology and public life, specifically information flows in the lawmaking and regulatory process and intellectual property law’s impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Open government momentum is creating opportunities to transform and modernize democracy’s information management systems. Globally, nationally, and locally, technology paired with transparency (and the need for secrecy and security) is changing the organization and location of information that flows in and out of governing systems. However, opening data and engaging with it are distinctly different functions. The long-term social, political, and policy impact of this new information-processing power remains unclear. Now is the time for citizens and entrepreneurial leaders to innovate on behalf of effective, efficient self-governance.

Executive offices of government usually take the initiative on transparency. However, legislatures are beginning to catch up. Among other efforts, they are attempting to create systems to make it easier to access and track bills, resolutions, calendars, hearing records, committee reports, roll call votes, rules and procedures, public laws, open meetings, and other activities. In addition to enabling government services, information and communication technologies serve an important role in administration and oversight, including scheduling, facilitating public access to the print and online public records, tracking office inventories, and managing information received from executive agencies.

This Special Issue seeks articles that focus on any law, policy, regulatory or theoretical aspect of the challenges of open government technology today. What should be the functionalities of transparency technologies? What questions of law or policy need to be considered? How has cyberlaw and policy developed to address these issues? Does intellectual property law represent a framework for open access technology and models? What limitations exist within these technologies? Are such technologies helpful or harmful to the operations of government? These and other questions can be addressed through this call for papers.

Please feel free to forward this call for papers to anyone who might be interested in submitting a paper.

Prof. David S. Levine
Guest Editor


Patrice McDermott. “Building open government.” Government Information Quarterly 27 (2010): 401–13.

Alissa Black, and Rachel Burstein. “The 2050 City—What Civic Innovation Looks Like Today and Tomorrow.” White Paper. New America Foundation—California Civic Innovation Project, June 2013.

Alissa Black, and Rachel Burstein. The 2050 City: What Civic Innovation Looks Like Today—and Tomorrow. New America Foundation, 2013.

Bloomberg Philanthropies. Transform Your City through Innovation: The Innovation Delivery Model for Making It Happen. New York: Bloomberg Philanthropies, 2014.

Jeremy M. Goldberg. “Riding the Second Wave of Civic Innovation.Governing, August 28, 2014.

Stephen Goldsmith, and Susan Crawford. The Responsive City: Engaging Communities through Data-Smart Governance, 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014.

Jessica Mulholland, and Noelle Knell. “Chief Innovation Officers in State and Local Government (Interactive Map).” Government Technology, March 28, 2014.

Open Plans. “Field Scan on Civic Technology.” Living Cities, November 2012.

Mayur Patel, Jon Sotsky, Sean Gourley, and Daniel Houghton. “Knight Foundation Report on Civic Technology.” Presentation. Knight Foundation, December 2013.

Anthony M. Townsend. Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, 1st ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.

Alissa Black, and Rachel Burstein. “A Guide for Making Innovation Offices Work.” IBM Center for the Business of Government, October 2014.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Laws is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • open government;
  • government technology;
  • information policy;
  • information diffusion;
  • speech;
  • transparency;
  • secrecy;
  • intellectual property;
  • applications;
  • decision-making

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Services in the Field of Law within the Internal Market: Promoting e-Justice through Interoperability
Received: 20 October 2015 / Revised: 17 December 2015 / Accepted: 17 December 2015 / Published: 23 December 2015
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The paper addresses the problem of intra-European services provided to professionals in the legal sector. Through a brief overview of the main services that are or may be offered in the internal market in this field, the author identifies the lack of interoperability
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The paper addresses the problem of intra-European services provided to professionals in the legal sector. Through a brief overview of the main services that are or may be offered in the internal market in this field, the author identifies the lack of interoperability as one of the most critical barriers currently preventing effective intra-community competition. The author wonders to what degree and under which rules of the treaties a European intervention could be justified and, therefore, what purposes could be pursued through European legislation. The author analyses the rail transport sector to assess if, and to what degree, existing barriers to entry could be reduced and innovation could be fostered by defining certain standards at a European level for the interoperability of IT systems in the field of law. In particular, the example of the rail sector is analyzed to determine the degree to which the solutions already in place for the “telematics applications for the passenger services subsystem” could be replicated in the context of the services addressed by the paper. In conclusion, the author suggests that addressing the issues of interoperability in the legal services sector could be a useful first step towards the digitalization of the internal market, as advocated by the Commission in its recent Communication on the digital single market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Open Government Technology and Law)
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