On April 5, 2017, ACRL joined over 80 other organizations in signing a coalition letter supporting the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, reintroduced by a bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers on March 29, 2017, as S. 760 and H.R. 1770. The OPEN Government Data Act will require all federal agencies to publish their information online, using non-proprietary, machine-readable data formats.
The bill codifies and expands the 2013 government-wide Open Data policy (“Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset”, M-13-13), which has been integrated into agency policy for the past three years. It is similar to what was passed by the Senate last Congress.
In summary, the legislation would:
- Require federal agencies to take the next step in publishing their data sets in a truly accessible manner in open formats and as machine-readable data;
- Help create a map of all federal data sets;
- Empower agency Chief Information Officers to improve the quality of the data they are publishing; and
- Write meaningful open data definitions into US law to enable smarter legislation in the future.
The coalition letter is being sent to relevant Congressional committees. Supporting this legislation is consistent with ACRL’s strategic goal to accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship and, more specifically, the strategic objective that ACRL is an advocate for open dissemination practices.