accountability [English]

InterPARES Definition

n. ~ IP2 · The obligation to answer for actions for which one is responsible.

Other Definitions

  • IP2 Dictionary (†242 ): n. ~ The ability to answer for, explain, or justify actions or decisions for which an individual, organization, or system is responsible. [Archives] – n., The determination and measure of responsibility and liability to another. [Arts] – n., The extent to which persons in government and the workplace are held answerable for their conduct in office and for the quality of their performance of assigned duties, particularly when incompetence, dereliction, or malfeasance is at issue. See also: performance evaluation. [Computer and Information Sciences] – n., The obligation to answer or answer for discharge of duties or conduct. [General Dictionaries] – n., Principle that individuals, organizations, and the community are responsible for their actions and may be required to explain them to others. [General Dictionaries]
  • SAA Glossary 2005 (†241 ): n. ~ The ability to answer for, explain, or justify actions or decisions for which an individual, organization, or system is responsible.
  • Wikipedia (†387 s.v. accountability): Answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving [Dykstra, 1939]. ...In leadership roles [Williams, 2006], accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.


  • Anciaux-Duclert 2013 (†665 ): The open-data movement shares some of its objectives with the FOIA and the PSI, for it is based "on principles of accountability and transparency on the one hand and innovation and economic growth on the other hand." (Quoting K. Janssen, "The Influence of the PSI directive . . . ," Government Information Quarterly, 28:4. (†1522)
  • CNSS-4009 (†730 p.2): Principle that an individual is entrusted to safeguard and control equipment, keying material, and information and is answerable to proper authority for the loss or misuse of that equipment or information. (†1723)
  • ISACA Glossary (†743 s.v. accountability): The ability to map a given activity or event back to the responsible party. (†1757)
  • Kurian 2013 (†576 s.v. accountability): 1. Relationship in which each party is responsible for the discharge of assumed responsibilities in compliance with proper legal and ethical standards. 2. Clear presentation of financial information that makes it possible to identify the legitimacy of transactions. (†1097)
  • Ladley 2012 (†589 p.17): An organization must identify parties which are ultimately responsible for data and content assets. (†1194)
  • Law 2011 (†581 s.v. accountability): The allocation or acceptance of responsibility for actions (†1144)
  • Logan 2010 (†446 ): Note that neither definition [of information governance or IT governance] includes any notion of coercion, but rather ties governance to accountability that is designed to encourage the right behavior. There is something buried in the definition which I think is at the heart of what I consider to be the problem that most of us face when we start talking about information governance. The word that matters most is accountability. The root of all of our problems with information, and we do have lots of problems with it, is the fact that there is no accountability for information as such. (†604)