Washington, DC (December 22, 2018) – SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, today applauded Congressional passage of the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act. The bill, which is included as Title II of the broader Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, requires federal agencies to publish government data in machine-readable and open formats and use open licenses.
“This bill makes permanent the federal government’s commitment to Open Data and codifies a policy of open by default for all government data,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, which has worked for more than a decade to broaden public access to research.
“It will make information generated by the federal government more accessible and transparent to entrepreneurs, researchers, and others who can use those files – and in doing so, will generate new services and products, build businesses and create jobs. It’s exactly what we should be doing in a 21st century economy.”
“SPARC is grateful to the bipartisan leaders in the Senate and House who supported and pressed for this legislation, and to the Data Coalition for being such an effective driving force in getting it over the finish line,” added Joseph.
In addition to assuring that government data is available to the public by default, the OPEN Government Data Act directs agencies to support innovative uses of government data, adopt consistent data practices across government, and develop best practices for Open Data. It also provides much-needed clarity on important foundational policy elements, such as providing clear definitions of covered data and open licenses. And just as critically, it codifies key aspects of President Obama’s 2013 landmark Executive Order on Open Data into permanent statute.
SPARC®, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education. SPARC empowers people to solve big problems and make new discoveries through the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. Learn more at sparcopen.org.