2 Mich. J. Envtl. & Admin. L. 1 (2012-2013)

handle is hein.journals/michjo2 and id is 1 raw text is: ENHANCING PUBLIC
ACCESS TO ONLINE
RULEMAKING INFORMATION
Cary Coglianese*
One of the most significant powers exercised by federal agencies is their power
to make rules. Given the importance of agency rulemaking, the process by which
agencies develop rules has long been subject to procedural requirements aiming to
advance democratic values of openness and public participation. With the advent
of the digital age, government agencies have engaged in increasing efforts to make
rulemaking information available online as well as to elicit public participation
via electronic means of communication. How successful are these efforts? How
might they be improved? In this article, I investigate agencies' efforts to make
rulemaking information available online. Drawing on a review of current agency
uses of the Internet, a systematic survey of regulatory agencies' websites, and in-
terviews with managers at a variety of federal regulatory agencies, I identify
both existing best practices as well as opportunities for continued improvement.
The findings of this research suggest that there exist both considerable differences
in how well different agencies are making rulemaking information available
online as well as significant opportunities for the diffusion of best-practice inno-
vations that some agencies have adopted. This research also provides a basis for
seven recommendations that I offer for enhancing both the accessibility and quali-
ty of rulemaking through online technology. A commitment to well-accepted
democratic principles applicable to regulatory agencies should lead federal web
*    Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, University of
Pennsylvania Law School, and Director, Penn Program on Regulation. The author gratefully
acknowledges the dedicated support provided by a team of website reviewers from the
student body of the University of Pennsylvania Law School as well as excellent assistance
provided by members of the University of Pennsylvania Law School library, faculty support,
and information technology staffs. Several student research assistants also assisted in various
aspects of this study. Jessica Goldenberg provided crucial and capable overall management
of the website analysis discussed in Part III and played a key role in setting up the inter-
views discussed in Part IV; Eric Merron provided support with data entry and analysis on
the website study; David Rosen assisted with research, drafting, and arranging interviews;
Christopher Wahl provided extensive and excellent support with research, drafting, and
editing; Kamya Mehta provided research and drafting on several discrete issues; and Steph-
anie Lo studied website accessibility to the disabled. Professor Stuart Shapiro of Rutgers
University helpfully consulted and provided assistance with the website coding. This article
is based on a report prepared for the Administrative Conference of the United States
(ACUS), which led to the adoption of formal recommendations in December 2011. ACUS,
Adoption of Recommendations, 77 Fed. Reg. 2257, 2264-65 (Jan. 17, 2012). The views
expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the
members of the Conference or its committees.

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