The results of the studies summarized here will significantly advance knowledge and practice in digital government by examining institutions, networks, deliberation, and policymaking processes. Our research efforts will produce important literature reviews, data collection instruments and protocols, and data analysis techniques that will strengthen digital government research. The joint products of this endeavor will include at least two major books, more than twelve substantial scholarly articles, and a policy web forum that will be a prototype for other such forums. In addition, the twelve NSF digital government doctoral fellows will each author at least one paper resulting in about twelve more published articles.
All faculty and research assistants work closely on research activities as well as on the broader infrastructure building activities as a research group under the coordination of Jane Fountain, the project director. In a biweekly digital government seminar, core research team members, researchers from partner universities, government agencies, and other institutions, doctoral fellows, graduate students and undergraduate research assistants meet to discuss and present research and related infrastructure building activities.
The National Center is intended explicitly to have a major impact on the infrastructure that advances knowledge and practice in the domain of digital government. In addition to the activities described here, we anticipate a number of partnerships, some already in play, with other university researchers, with government agencies, nonprofits and the relevant private sector firms. We expect our joint research and network-building activities to catalyze digital government research, particularly in the social sciences, through the publication of our work, relationships with colleagues throughout the country, guidance to graduate students and the digital government fellows and the stream of joint activities that are likely to emerge rapidly as spin-offs to those described here. We expect that the ripple effect from our joint efforts outward through our professional networks will have a substantial and visible effect on knowledge and practice across a wide variety of settings and specialties. In addition, the School of Public Policy is unusual in its combination of research and teaching. The history of the school involves a creative, ongoing tension between theory and practice as faculty strive to balance scholarly research programs with practical problem solving and close work with policymakers and government executives and decision makers. We anticipate the production of teaching cases, executive programs, and a range of educational materials and tools to be jointly produced that will be used across the globe.
University of Massachusetts Amherst is unique in its reach into all levels of government. We use this institutional capacity to help build the national infrastructure for digital government research and practice by convening influential decision makers, by fostering collaboration across university programs in technology and government, and by using our leadership position to galvanize support for digital government research and to advance practice in this challenging and urgently needed domain.