The NSF-funded International Working Group on Online Consultation and Public Policy Making (IWG) was a three-year (2007-2009) research effort focusing on (a) how to evaluate the policy and other social impacts of online citizen consultation initiatives aimed at influencing actual government decision making, and (b) how the optimal design of such initiatives is affected by cultural, social, legal, and institutional contexts. Its sub-groups considered the impacts of online consultations on government agencies and policy makers, the impacts of online consultations on public participants and civil society organizations, the relationship between the design of consultation and the kinds of impacts identified, and the ways in which legal, political and institutional context shape prospects for success. US participation in four international working groups was supported by $280,000, through a grant of $1,000,000 to the Center for Technology in Government at the State University of New York at Albany, from the National Science Foundation’s Digital Research Program (PI, Sharon Dawes, SUNY-Albany).
You can read more about the project here.
The project's outputs included a series of four conferences (at Harvard University, Ohio State University, the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC, and at Sciences Po, Paris), a special issue of the journal I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, and an extensive edited volume to be published by MIT Press in late 2011. Andrew Chadwick contributed a paper to the I/S special issue and the edited volume.