Thematic Areas

The review of publicly available materials, case studies, and interviews has been supplemented by a series of internal memoranda written by faculty members exploring the basic concepts that are the focus of our inquiry, including public participation mechanisms, transparency issues, corporate governance issues, and the Independent Review Panel mechanism. Within each area, we sought to develop key theoretical frameworks and questions as the concepts apply to ICANN, and to formulate a set of working hypotheses. These internal documents served as “thought pieces” and were aimed at inspiring discussions among the Berkman team members, regarding areas for future research, key questions and considerations, and a variety of other research objectives.

Transparency Issues (PDF)

In this background memo, ICANN's overall structure and commitment to transparency are described and analyzed through three distinct modes of transparency (active, passive, and participatory). ICANN's information disclosure exemptions and general approach to transparency of decision making are also thoroughly evaluated. For each aspect of transparency analyzed, we provide recommendations and suggestions for improving ICANN's transparency practices.

Public Participation (PDF)

We developed a draft conceptual framework for understanding key issues and concerns related to public participation in the context of ICANN decision-making processes. This research was based on an extensive review of the literature, including, but not limited to, scholarly works, blog posts, media reports, ICANN materials, and submissions to the ATRT. The preliminary version of this analysis was submitted to the ATRT as part of our August 28 Progress Report (PDF). It also included a description of how the public inputs process played out in the context of four policy development processes.

Corporate Governance (PDF)

As reflected in our final report, we explored many examples of alternative corporate governance models that might be applicable to ICANN, while recognizing that its unique mandate and structure preclude the wholesale application of other successful corporate governance models to ICANN. Oliver Goodenough’s memo on procedural justice explores one key aspect of the corporate governance challenge for ICANN at the nexus of decision-making, participation and transparency; it is illustrative of the type of exploration that we did via consultations with corporate governance experts (including Special Advisor John Coates), internal discussions, and other forms of research. For a discussion of some of the alternative governance models referenced above, please also see our memo on Transparency Issues (PDF).

Independent Review Panel (IRP) (PDF)

This memorandum was written by Professor Jack Goldsmith and includes his reflections on the ICANN Independent Review Panel process. His reflections are informed by his role as an independent expert for ICM in ICM v. ICANN and reflects his personal views alone and not ICM's or anyone else's.