Open government data—data that is freely available for use, reuse, and republication—is a major public resource for government, citizens, the scientific research community, and the private sector. Citizens can use open data to improve democracy by interacting directly with the government and holding public officials accountable. The government can apply open data to deliver public services more effectively, foster entrepreneurship, broaden opportunities for businesses, and empower researchers to advance scientific discovery and drive innovation.
The Obama Administration has championed open data as an essential part of open, transparent government since the President’s first day in office. Over the past eight years, the federal government has launched a range of programs showing that open data is more than a tool for good government—it is a critical national resource. Federal open data programs are helping students and their parents choose colleges, improving health care, supporting local business, and literally mapping the universe. The White House has also made future commitments to use open data to improve government and to support international data-driven efforts.
The next administration should build on these accomplishments by prioritizing four goals:
Goal I: Enhance the government open data ecosystem
Open data can help federal agencies accomplish their missions more effectively and efficiently. While some agencies have established strong open data programs, most need additional resources and support. The next administration should enhance the open data ecosystem by developing a strong data infrastructure across government, including appropriate personnel, policies, and coordination efforts.
Goal II: Deliver direct benefits to citizens and communities
In the United States and internationally, open data has helped citizens and communities improve their health care, nutrition, education, public safety, and more. The next administration should identify the major challenges impacting American communities and leverage open data to address them.
Goal III: Share scientific research data to spur innovation and scientific discovery
When scientists freely share their data, the entire research enterprise benefits. Working with the research community, the next administration should develop policy and technology solutions to make open, shared research data the norm.
Goal IV: Help businesses and entrepreneurs use government data as a resource
American businesses are the heart of the economy and open data can fuel their growth. The next administration should help businesses by making it easier to access valuable government data and simpler to report data to regulatory agencies.