Infometer system: Software aimed to automate procedures of monitoring government bodies' official websites and organizing interaction with governmental officials.
Experts: Specialists of the Freedom of Information Foundation having professional knowledge and experience in the fields of state/municipal governance and of providing access to official information.
Monitoring cycle: Period covering all stages of monitoring for a selected category of government bodies' websites.
Interaction period: Period when government bodies' officials registered in the Infometer system have access in the system for getting familiar with preliminary results of the monitoring and for communicating the experts.
Response time: Time needed to process a single message submitted by governmental official to the Infometer system.
1. Purpose of the Infometer System
The Infometer automated informational system is designed for monitoring government bodies' official websites. The monitoring is held by experts of the Freedom of Information Foundation in accordance with the FIF's methodology for monitoring government bodies' official websites. Before publishing final results of a monitoring cycle, the Infometer system provides an official with possibility to get familiar with evaluation scores for the corresponding website, to fix failures revealed, and to ask questions on monitoring parameters and evaluation scores assigned. An official may also disagree with evaluation of the website; if grounded arguments are provided or the information counted by the monitoring parameter discussed is placed, FIF эксперты will reviews the evaluation scores within the Infometer system. We are always open for dialog and ready to solve any disputable situation by means of joint efforts.
As a result of such interaction between governmental officials and FIF experts, monitoring results become more objective, and informational openness of an interacting government body's official website usually increases so that the body's position in the rating improves. Moreover, the Infometer allows any interested parties to get familiar with finalized results of a monitoring cycle.
2. Registration for Governmental Officials in the Infometer System
Access into the system is provided to a governmental official in order to make them familiar with preliminary results of the monitoring for the official's government body and to enable communication with experts.
To get access into the system, an official (not already registered) should pass registration procedure and enter invitation code received from the FIF. Registration is performed after the official fills the registration form.
Registration for governmental officials is necessary so that they would get unhindered access to monitoring results for their websites, and experts would be able to plan interaction activity and to predict response time.
Registration for governmental officials is performed within each new monitoring cycle.
For officials of the bodies covered by a current monitoring cycle, invitations for registration in the Infometer system is sent beforehand to official emails placed at the bodies' official websites or for alternate email addresses of the government bodies in question. The invitation includes registration start and end dates, interaction period, and a link to the Infometer registration page. An announce inviting to register in the Infometer is also placed at the FIF website http://svobodainfo.org/ home page. Registration of officials is performed within the interaction period.
For bodies already registered in the Infometer:
2. Enter the invitation code received in the invitation letter in the "New Code" string
3. Click Submit to save the changes
For bodies registering in the Infometer for the first time:
2. Fill the registration form
3. To get access to evaluation scores, enter the invitation code received in the invitation letter
Before the interaction period, experts determine its duration and response time based on number of registered officials and volume of resources needed to enable unhindered communication in the Infometer system between experts and officials registered. In exceptive cases when extremely many messages come from the officials registered, response time may be increased.
3. Access for Officials into the Infometer System
Access to preliminary results of monitoring is provided only to an official registered in the Infometer system.
An official's account may be disabled by FIF specialists upon a request from the relevant organization that should be submitted to the email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the interaction period, registered officials can have 24/7 access into the system by means of its web interface: http://system.infometer.org/.
Access to the system may be restricted due to maintenance works. Information on access restriction and on period of the maintenance works is placed at the system login page. If access is to be restricted, interaction period may be prolonged and all registered official will be informed on the prolongation.
Access into the Infometer system is opened to all registered officials at one time upon completion of preliminary evaluation of official websites within current monitoring cycle.
Access into the System during the Interaction Period
During the interaction period, a registered official may get familiar with the monitoring results only for the government body he/she represents.
To view published monitoring cycles, an official should go to the system home page and click the link to the monitoring cycle of interest.
To open the page with evaluation scores for his/her government body's website, an official should login under his/her account by means of entering login and password at the http://system.infometer.org/exmo2010/accounts/login/, and then go to «Мои оценки» section in the main navigation menu or the quick access panel.
At the scores page, one can view summary scores for the organization and scores for any specific parameter separately. The page displays the following data:
- Organization name and link to its website (monitoring object)
- Openness, % (information accessibility coefficient, IA Coef, is informational openness rate for the website)
- Organization's position in the summary rating of informational openness (in parentheses)
- Openness for normative parameters: shows the openness rate calculated from scores for parameters based on legal acts
- Openness for recommendatory parameters: shows the openness rate calculated from additional (expert) parameters
A table of scores contains the following information:
- All parameters the website is evaluated by are listed in the "Parameter" column
- Normative parameters are listed first. If there are any recommendatory parameters also, they are listed in the same column after the "Recommendatory parameters" subheading
- "Found", "Complete", "Topical", "Accessible", "HTML", and "Document" columns show evaluation scores assigned by experts
- The "Weight" column shows weights (social significance rates) assigned to parameters
- At the page bottom, color legend used for score visualization is explained
To see detailed experts' comments to scores for a parameter as well as links to information found, please click the link to this parameter.
Registered officials may discuss preliminary monitoring results with experts during the whole interaction period and only by means of the system functionality.
Monitoring results are discussed only via the system feedback service providing a registered official with possibility to ask a question or to comment score for any parameter. The official's comment is automatically published at the corresponding parameter score page and a notification including the comment contents comes to the official email address submitted in the registration form.
Within the response time after comment submission by a registered official, experts' response is published at the same page and the parameter core is amended if needed; notification including the response contents also comes to the official email address submitted in the registration form.
To submit a comment on a specific parameter, one should click the link to that parameter in the table of scores to open the parameter score page containing the "Comment" field allowing to ask FIF experts a question or to comment parameter scores. To submit the comment, click the "Post comment" button and the comment will be posted in the system. An expert will post a response to the comment at the same page within the settled response time. When a comment is posted, its date/time is also stamped and the deadline for FIF experts to respond is displayed at the page.
Upon completion of the interaction period, comments from registered officials are not accepted for review. The Infometer system allows a registered official to disable or to modify email notification at the "Preferences" page.
Access into the System after the Interaction Period
Upon monitoring completion, a registered official still can login to the system in order to view all comments published during the interaction period and detailed monitoring results for his/her employing government body.
Access to Final Monitoring Results
Final results of a completed monitoring cycle for all government bodies are available in the Infometer system for anyone without any registration. This is publicly available data that should be published freely, by mass media in particular.