OMB, OSTP to release new tools to reach big open data goals

Thursday - 7/3/2014, 1:31pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

The Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy are looking for 100 percent participation from agencies when it comes to supplying data sets for the administration's Enterprise Data Inventory. Agencies have until the end of November to provide the data, according to the administration's latest cross-agency priority goals update listed on Performance.gov.

Agencies are being asked to provide the Enterprise Data Inventory with all data sets posted to their websites, as well as those mentioned in System of Record Notices, Privacy Impact Assessments and any purchased data sets, according to the report.

In addition, OMB and OSTP are calling for an agency's Public Data Listing to include URLs for all data sets to make public access to that information easier. This includes any data sets released under Freedom of Information Act requests.

Efforts to reach their cross-agency open data goals include launching an integrated dashboard for key performance indicators (KPIs) by the end of the month and the General Services Administration launching a new metadata validator tool within the next two weeks.

OMB and OSTP have already reached several milestones, including the launch of their open data roundtable series to connect companies from the Open Data 500 with agency data owners.

The agencies' goals follow President Barack Obama's push for agencies to make publicized, easy-to-read data the norm, as announced in the U.S. Open Data Action Plan.

The White House continues to encourage the use of open data through various events, including brainstorming workshops, summits and code-a-thons as well as by offering incentive prizes for creative data use. The administration also maintains the Project Open Data website, providing agencies with free tools and resources for releasing data to the public.

The progress update said industry and academia are also joining the movement. The report gave examples of New York University's Open Data 500 study of companies using federal data for business and product development and the formation of the non-profit U.S. Open Data Institute helping agencies release data sets to the public.

OMB and OSTP continue to work toward specific open data goals:

  • Fuel economic growth and innovation.

  • Develop and maintain an enterprise data inventory.

  • Make data discoverable to the public.

  • Prioritize and release valuable data through public engagement.

  • Prevent inappropriate disclosure of sensitive information.

  • Assign roles and responsibilities to strengthen the culture of data management.

To evaluate their goals and success, OMB and OSTP will monitor the number of external organizations using government data and their increased value and outcomes, according to the report.

OMB and OSTP are ensuring a chief data officer or chief technology officer holds responsibility for data management within each agency.

The administration's ultimate open data goal is to "fuel entrepreneurship and innovation, and improve government efficiency and effectiveness by unlocking the value of government data and adopting management approaches that promote interoperability and openness of this data," the report stated.

The Obama administration has set new cross-agency priority goals for managing government as part of its 2015 budget. Federal News Radio examines the eight areas identified by the White House in our special report, 2014 Cross-Agency Priority Goals.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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