International Resources Provisional

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International Transparency Resources: A Provisional List

A list of resources we can index, to give a solid introductory view of the international transparency landscape.

Resources Similar to This

Organizations Addressing Transparency on an International Level

General / Corruption

Economically Motivated

  • World Bank, CommGAP Project - (link)

International FOIA groups

see also freedominfo's 2006 world FOI report:

Tech and Metadata Bodies


Mailing Lists

Topic Areas for International Transparency Investigation

(or, where might groups be active?)

Budget Transparency

Government Spending/Accounting Transparency

Right to Know

More than 100 countries have legislation that — on paper — gives citizens the right to know what is happening in their governments. The Associated Press has tested these laws worldwide for the first time. Readers are invited to submit suggestions for future freedom of information requests in any country at


  • NICAR international - (is this separate from IRE?)

Parliaments and Congresses

Open Legal Information

Also seek out groups who work on: lobbying, campaign finance, accounting/gov't spending, parliaments, CIO level coordination/trade groups, world economic coordination bodies, legal access (world LII bodies), election monitoring

Academic Papers, Books

International Government Databases

US Government International Transparency Resources

Quasi Governmental International Bodies

  • UN
  • NATO
  • Afr. Union
  • EU
  • APEC

Wikipedia list of intergovernmental bodies: see also

Blogs and Forums

Country-Specific Bodies

(separate list?) Notable Country-specific bodies / NGOs (one for country examples, like India FOIA, and one for NGOs, like mysociety)

See here for their paper regarding access to information on financial statements and conflicts of interest in the Congresses of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Perú.

The Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency is a group of civil society organizations that actively promote transparency, access to information and responsibility in the region’s congresses. The Network is composed of the following organizations: Asociación por los Derechos Civiles, Argentina; CIPPEC, Argentina; Directorio Legislativo, Argentina; Poder Ciudadano, Argentina; Ciudadano Inteligente, Chile; Chile Transparente, Chile; ProAcceso, Chile; Chile; Congreso Visible, Colombia; Instituto de Ciencia Política, Colombia; Transparencia por Colombia, Colombia; Fundar Centro de Análisis e Información, México; Impacto Legislativo, México; Ciudadanos al Día, Perú; Reflexión Democrática, Perú; Transparencia Perú, Perú.

  • European Parliament

Resources: Literature Review

Introduction to the Special Issue on Government Transparency (2012) - Albert Meijer, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

Government transparency has become ‘hot’ since President Barack Obama put transparency high on his agenda for change in government. He emphasized that openness is needed to restore the trust of citizens in government. President Obama is certainly not the only nor the first political leader to highlight the importance of transparency and open government. Political leaders all around the world pay tribute to the idea of open government and they have launched initiatives to make their government more open and transparent.

Transparency gained even more momentum since Wikileaks obtained worldwide media attention for opening up government to external scrutiny. Classified government cables were passed on to Wikileaks by a whistleblower and the information was published on the Internet and newspapers. The traditional logic of government transparency – government granting citizens access to information if there were no restrictions such as privacy or national security – seemed to be replaced by the logic of radical transparency: leak, publish and wait for public outrage (Roberts, this issue). The Wikileaks affair also turned transparency from something rather ‘dull’ into something ‘sexy’. Suddenly, everybody became interested in government transparency.

There has been much political and media attention for government transparency but academic attention seems to be lagging behind. This special issue presents the best papers from a workshop on government transparency at the Utrecht School of Governance in November 2010. The workshop was organized within the context of the conference ‘Public Matters’, and selected researchers were invited to present their work. The objective of the workshop was to enhance our understanding of key conceptual and empirical issues in the study of government transparency. The workshop brought together some of the key transparency researchers in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. The workshop was videotaped and the results are available online (see …

Open government: Connecting vision and voice (2012) - Albert Meijer, Deirdre Curtin, and Maarten Hillebrandt, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

The term open government is often used to describe initiatives of putting government information on the Internet. This conceptualization is too restricted since open government is not only about openness in informational terms (vision) but also about openness in interactive terms (voice). On the basis of an analysis of 103 articles, this article provides insight into the concepts of openness, transparency and participation, their interactions, and the manner in which they have been discussed in the literature. This analysis shows the differences and similarities between economic, political science and legal perspectives on open government and argues that a multidisciplinary approach needs to be taken. The authors conclude that open government is much too important to leave it to the ‘techies’: scientists and practitioners with backgrounds in law, economics, political science and public administration should also get involved to build sound connections between vision and voice that facilitate active citizenship.

Why is transparency about public expenditure so elusive? (2012) - David Heald, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

Fiscal transparency is fundamentally important but difficult to achieve. The conceptualization of transparency has to be more sophisticated than current rhetoric implies. Analytical tools relating to the generic concept of transparency can be applied to public expenditure. Achieving transparency about public expenditure presents challenges that require explicit strategies in the context of what can be very different sets of local conditions. This article identifies the specific meaning of transparency about public expenditure, defined in terms of the four directions of transparency: inwards, outwards, upwards and downwards. It identifies barriers to the effective transparency of public expenditure, characterizing these as intrinsic or constructed. Tackling these barriers, especially those constructed by policy actors, constitutes a route towards more effective transparency, not only about public expenditure itself but about surrogates for it. It is not just quantity that matters: different varieties of transparency will have differential effects on the achievement of public policy objectives. How transparency mechanisms are structured will therefore shape their impact on public policy – on efficiency, on equity and on democratic accountability.

Linking transparency, knowledge and citizen trust in government: an experiment (2012) - Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

Declining citizen trust in government is an important driver for NPM-style reforms. Increasing people’s knowledge by providing factual knowledge about government performance outcomes is seen as an important way of increasing citizen trust in government. Does this promise hold or is knowledge about performance outcomes not that important? Two rivalling hypotheses are being investigated. One proposition postulates a link between knowledge and trust, whereas the alternative hypothesis borrows from social-psychological research arguing that subconscious and affective cues are more important. In order to investigate this question, this article presents the results of an experiment (N= 658) investigating the effect of performance outcome transparency on citizen trust in a specific government organization. Four groups visited different websites with varying degrees of transparency and performance outcome. The results demonstrate that the link between transparency and trust in a government organization is determined by a mix of knowledge and feelings. Further, the overall effect of transparency is limited. Pre-existing and fundamental ideas about what government does and whether it is benign or not are far more determining than a single experience with a government organization. This article concludes that knowledge about performance outcomes is only part of the link between transparency and trust, and that more realistic views about transparency’s effects should be developed.

The effect of information on oversight: the European Parliament's response to increasing information on comitology decision-making (2012) - Gijs Jan Brandsma, for the journal, International Review of Adminsitrative Sciences

The European Parliament, like any parliament, needs information for scrutinizing executive decision-making. But how does it process this information in practice? This article focuses on the European Parliament’s increasing grip on ‘comitology’ decision-making: committees composed of national civil servants, producing executive measures that are adopted by the European Commission. Two types of changes are addressed: organizational changes and changes in working methods of EP staff. The analysis shows that the European Parliament has effectively built up a system of decentralized police-patrol oversight, but not following more information rights as such but rather as a result of its increasing political powers. The article concludes that information only affects the behaviour of the European Parliament in combination with very specific as opposed to quite general or diffuse political rights.

The relationship between transparent and participative government: A study of local governments in the United States (2012) - Eric Welch, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

The relationship between transparency and participation of government is not well articulated in the literature. Transparency provides stakeholders with knowledge about the processes, structures and products of government. Participation refers to the quantity, quality and diversity of input of stakeholders into government decision-making. Greater transparency and participation are often considered to operate side by side. However, in the Internet age the change in the magnitude of information disclosure may outweigh the change in the level of participative government. This article uses data from a 2010 national survey of five US local government agencies to test hypotheses about the relationship between transparency and participation and the factors that affect them. Findings show that participation is positively associated with transparency, but transparency does not lead to participation. In addition, organizations that are under stronger influence from external stakeholders report higher levels of participation but in some cases higher levels of external influence dampen transparency.

Wikileaks: the illusion of transparency (2012) - Alasdair Roberts, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

It has been said that the 2010 WikiLeaks disclosures mark ‘the end of secrecy in the old fashioned, cold-war-era sense’. This is not true. Advocates of WikiLeaks have overstated the scale and significance of the leaks. They also overlook many ways in which the simple logic of radical transparency – leak, publish, and wait for the inevitable outrage – can be defeated in practice. WikiLeaks only created the illusion of a new era in transparency. In fact the 2010 leaks revealed the obstacles to achievement of increased transparency, even in the digital age.

Procedural transparency in rural romania: linking implementation with administrative capacity? (2012) - Dacian Dragos, Bogdana Neamttu, and Bianca Cobarzan, for the journal, International Review of Administrative Sciences

The article discusses the concept of procedural administrative transparency and aims to investigate the extent to which the legal provisions of Law no. 52/2003 on transparency in decision-making are actually implemented by the local administrations from the rural communities in the Transylvania region, Romania. The main research questions are: Where are the weaknesses in the implementation of Law no. 52/2003 in the rural settings in Romania? Why do they occur? What could be changed to alleviate these weaknesses? Based on a mixed method approach – surveys followed by direct observation and informal interviews – we determined that the implementation of procedural transparency requirements is low and in many cases local public authorities comply only ‘for the record’ with the provisions of the law. The main challenge with regard to implementation is the existence of universal provisions for all local public authorities, irrespective of their administrative capacity, existing cultural and social characteristics of public participation and communication in rural communities as well as the relationship between central and local tiers of the government. In conclusion, the authors argue that the implementation level of these requirements could be enhanced by their inclusion in a general procedural administrative law.

Turnaround management strategies in public systems: the impact on group-level organizational citizenship behavior (2012) - Itai Beeri, for the journal, International Review of Adminsitrative Sciences

The use of Turnaround Management Strategies (TMS) in public administration has received growing interest among both researchers and practitioners who deal with public performance. However, our theoretical and empirical knowledge about TMS suffers from significant lacunae. This research presents results from a unique empirical survey that tests the effect of TMS on group-level Organizational Citizenship Behavior. One hundred and twenty-six senior leaders of English local authorities participated in the study. The findings show that local authorities that implemented repositioning and reorganization at the organizational level to a high extent experienced high levels of group-level Organizational Citizenship Behavior, while high implementation of reorganization at the personnel level was linked to low group-level Organizational Citizenship Behavior. Group-level Organizational Citizenship Behavior was indifferent to retrenchment strategies. Implications and suggestions for future studies are discussed.

Lobbying and Transparency: A Comparative Analysis of Regulatory Reform (2012) - Craig Holman and William Lunen, for the journal, Interest Groups & Advocacy

As citizens grow increasingly wary of whose interests are being represented in the public policy arena, especially in light of recent sensational scandals showing a cozy relationship between professional lobbyists and lawmakers, a crisis of confidence is engulfing many democratic societies across the European and North American continents. Public perceptions of undue influence peddling, in which special interest groups exercise too much sway over government for self-serving purposes, have led to growing demands for the regulation of lobbyists and transparency of the policymaking process. The United States and Canada have been struggling for decades to refine their systems of lobbyist regulation. Of all the shortcomings of the North American model of lobbyist regulation – and there are many – transparency is not, for the most part, one of them. Many European countries have also been experimenting with systems of lobbyist regulation. Until recently, however, the European national experiments have produced very different results among themselves and in comparison with the North American counterparts. Surprisingly, some of the earliest efforts to regulate lobbying occurred among new democratic countries in Eastern Europe rather than the more advanced industrial democracies of Western Europe. This observation stands in stark contrast to the North American experience, where lobbyist regulation emerged as an effort to manage a highly developed class of professional lobbyists within the strictures of long-standing democratic principles. The authors find that the answer to this anomaly lies in the fact that early European lobbyist regulations focused not ontransparency as a means to regain public confidence in government, but on providing business interests with access to lawmakers as a means to bolster fledgling economies. This focus on access is quickly giving way to demands for transparency as many European governments, racked by scandal, are striving to salvage the public’s trust. Propelled largely by example from a reluctant European Parliament and Commission, which are themselves attempting to convince Europe that a regional government is in its own interest, several European countries are beginning to make a transition from weak systems of lobbyist regulation, which emphasize business access, to strong systems of lobbyist regulation, which emphasize public transparency. In order to discern ‘best’ practices for achieving transparency through lobbying regulation, the authors first chart the regulatory systems of the United States and Canada. That is followed by an analysis of all of the European lobbying regimes. The oft-expressed objection to this new trend toward transparency in Europe – that professional lobbyists view such regulations as overly burdensome – is undercut by research on European and American lobbyists’ attitudes toward regulation, which are generally quite favorable. Like everyone else, lobbyists realize that they have an image problem and that the best way to address that problem is by operating in the broad daylight of public transparency. Finally, the authors offer recommendations on how to enhance transparency in policymaking, drawing from detailed comparisons of the North American and European models of lobbyist regulation.

Global Mapping of Technology for Transparency and Accountability (2010) - Avila, Feigenblatt, Heacock, Heller

This report contains the key findings from having reviewed more than 100 projects and having interviewed dozens of practitioners in Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, and Sub-Saharan Africa who use new technologies as a means to increase transparency and accountability. This summary helps to ‘take the pulse‘ of the Technology for Transparency and Accountability movement and suggests both exciting possibilities for scaling impact as well as important caveats and challenges.

This was the culmination of a big Global Voices project, which is all also offered in online format.


Divides groups based on:


  • Donors
  • Exec Branch
  • Judicial Branch
  • Leg Branch
  • Media
  • Political Parties
  • Private Sector


  • Budgets
  • Elections
  • Extractive Industries/Natural Resource Governance
  • Government Services

Geographic Scale

  • Neighborhood
  • Municipal
  • Sub-national
  • National
  • International

Types of Tools

  • Data collection
  • Data visualization 
  • Connect and engage (social media)
  • Mobile
  • Traditional (print and broadcast)

Organizations Listed

Organizations targeting exec and leg branch actors:

  • Dinero y Politica - Argentina (campaign finance)
  • Penang Watch - Malaysia (encourage govt authorities to improve performance through feedback)
  • Mam Prawo Wiedzie - Polish parliamentary monitoring site
  • Excelência - Brazil (oversight)
  • Fair-Play Alliance - Slovakia (government finance)

Organizations targeting judicial branch actors:

  • Guatemala Visible (Guatemala)
  • United Nations’ International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala
  • Elección Visible (Colombia)

Organizations aimed at helping voters understand political parties

  • KohoVolit - Czech Republic and Slovakia
  • Képmutatá - Hungary
  • African Elections Project

Organizations engaged with media:

  • Centro de Investigación e Información Periodístic - Chile
  • Centro de Periodismo Investigativo - Puerto Rico
  • Pera Natin ‘to! (It’s Our Money!) is an initiative of the Philippine Public Transparency Reporting Project
  • CGNet Swara - India

Organizations targeting the private sector:

  • Reclamos - Chile
  • Ishki - Jordan
  • Quien Paga Manda - Costa Rica

Organizations targeting donor spending

  • Ujima - Africa

Organizations focused on government services

  • Cidade Democratica - Brazil
  • Praja - India
  • TakTakTak - Russia

Organizations focused on elections

  • Amatora mu Mahoro - Burundi
  • Cuidemos el Voto - Mexico
  • Eleitor 2010 - Brazil
  • - Kyrgyzstan
  • Sharek961 - Lebanon
  • Sudan Vote Monitor - Sudan
  • Uchaguzi - Kenya
  • Vote Report PH - Philippines
  • Vote BD - Bangladesh
  • Golos - Russia
  • Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) - India
  • Social Development Network (SODNET)
  • Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (CRECO)

Organizations focused on extractive industries/natural resource governance

  • Daraja - Tanzania
  • Revenue Watch Institute
  • Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

Organizations focused on budgets

  • Accountability Initiative - India
  • Pera Natin 'to - Philippines

Other Resources:

Technologies of Transparency for Accountability: An examination of Several Experiences from Middle Income and Developing Countries (2010) - Archon Fung, Hollie Russon Gilman, Jennifer Shkabatur

These folks built on work done by the Global Voices technology for transparency team. They selected a few case studies to establish patterns and generalizations that could be useful in establishing a knowledge base of transparency efforts worldwide.


Categories of Technology Interventions

  • "Home Run" Cases: "technological intervention almost by itself produces increases in accountability because it unleashes latent individuals desires by allowing them to take significant actions that were previously impossible absent the technology" (Reclamos fit this category)
  • "Interventions that compliment traditional media efforts - especially investigative journalism - by making information about politicians, other officials, or governmental activities generally available...strategy is to improve accountability by improving the quality of the public sphere" (Mumbai Votes and the Fair Play Alliance fit this category)
  • "Technological interventions that are tailored to advance the very specific agendas of particular non-governmental or governmental organizations by amplifying their capabilities and strategies" (Cidade Democratica, Keyan Budget Tracking Tool, Uchaguzi, and Kiirti fit this category)

Categories of users

  • "Mass": citizens, consumers, neighborhood residents
  • "Organizational": journalists, NGOs, governments, corporations

Organizations Listed

  • Cidade Democratica (Brazil) - citizen participation in local government
  • Reclamos (Chile) - consumer complaints
  • Budget Tracking Tool (Kenya) - budget monitoring
  • Ushahidi & Uchaguzi (Kenya) - election monitoring
  • Mumbai Votes (India) - legislative agenda
  • Kiirti (India) - complaint resolution
  • Fair Play Alliance (Slovakia) - watchdog, citizen journalist, advocacy