OPEN Government Data Act

On April 26, 2016, bipartisan supporters introduced the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act (H.R. 5051, S. 2852), which will require all federal agencies to publish their information online, using non-proprietary, searchable data formats.

Celebrating the introduction of the OPEN Government Data Act on April 14, 2016: Data Coalition executive director Hudson Hollister, Center for Data Innovation director Daniel Castro, Center for Data Innovation policy associate Josh New, Rep. Blake Farenthold, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Derek Kilmer, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation president Robert Atkinson. Photo credit: Center for Data Innovation.

Government information should be published as machine-readable data – not documents.

The Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act provides a sweeping, government-wide mandate for federal agencies to publish all their information as open data – using standardized, nonproprietary formats. The OPEN Government Data Act builds on President Obama’s May 2013 Open Data Policy. It makes the key aspects of the Open Data Policy permanent and mandatory.

Section 5 of the OPEN Government Data Act sets an official presumption that “Government data assets made available by an agency shall be published as machine-readable data … in an open format, and … under open licenses.”

Section 5 would make every failure to use open data – the SEC’s reliance on document-based corporate disclosures, the government’s continued use of the proprietary DUNS Number, the IRS’ reluctance to move to e-filing – legally questionable. Section 5 will provide a powerful tool for open data reforms in every area of the government’s information portfolio.

Section 7 of the OPEN Government Data Act requires agencies to maintain, and publish, an Enterprise Data Inventory of all data assets. The Enterprise Data Inventory will help agencies and open data advocates identify key government information resources and transform them from documents and siloed databases into open data.

The OPEN Government Data Act’s lead sponsors are Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE).

OPEN Government Data Act Resources