WASHINGTON—The Center for Data Innovation today commended Congress for passing of the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, included as Title II of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174). The Center issues the following statement from the Center’s director, Daniel Castro:
We’ve just witnessed a historic moment for open data. Congress has now affirmed the basic principle that government data should be freely available and accessible to everyone by default.
For years, businesses, journalists, academics, civil society groups, and even other government agencies have relied on the vast supply of data the federal government makes freely available in open formats online. However, while many federal government agencies publish open data, there has never been a law mandating the federal government to do so, making the future of this crucial economic and social resource uncertain. For this reason, the Center for Data Innovation was the first organization to call for comprehensive federal legislation to define the publication of open data as a permanent responsibility of the U.S. government.
The OPEN Government Data Act will ensure that the federal government releases valuable data sets, follows best practices in data management, and commits to making data available to the public in a non-proprietary and electronic format.
Today’s vote marks a major bipartisan victory for open data. This legislation will generate substantial returns for the public and private sectors alike in the years to come.
The Center for Data Innovation conducts high-quality, independent research and educational activities on the impact of the increased use of information on the economy and society. In addition, the Center for Data Innovation formulates and promotes pragmatic public policies designed to enable data-driven innovation in the public and private sector, create new economic opportunities, and improve quality of life. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. For more about the Center, visit datainnovation.org.