This paper is the result of ongoing personal discussions in blogs, electronic forums and meetings with experts and practitioners of eGovernment and web 2.0. It argues that the current methodology for measuring eGovernment progress developed by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young for the European Commission, which centres on the availability of online services, has served its purpose well, but it is now rapidly reaching the end of its usefulness.
In view of recent developments linked to web 2.0, this article proposes that transparency of public data should be considered as a flagship eGovernment initiative, just as 'making services available online' was in a previous era. In order to support this proposal, it analyzes: the case for government transparency as a flagship goal; the degree of policy priority which is increasingly given to it; the originality of the idea with respect to the traditional debate on transparency and 'open government' and the possible benefits and drawbacks of transparency as a flagship initiative for eGovernment policy. It then puts forward a new simple and cost-effective method, based on the existing methods and using the model from CGEY, for measuring transparency. It focuses on 20 basic public data (such as law proposal, planning applications, beneficiaries of government subsidies, etc.) rather than 20 basic public services. Instead of measuring the four stages of online interactivity (from no information to transaction), it assesses the four stages of transparency and reusability of public data (from no information to reusable and machine-readable data).