Monday, January 14, 2019 News

Bill to Make Federal Government Data More Accessible Becomes Law

Open Data

Contact: Ranit Schmelzer, 202-538-1065, [email protected]

Washington, DC (January 14, 2019) – Today, President Trump signed into law the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act. The bill requires federal agencies to publish government data in machine-readable and open formats, and to use open licenses.

SPARC, which has worked for more than a decade to broaden public access to research, called it a “truly watershed moment for Open Data in the United States.”

“This bill is a huge win for innovation, transparency and openness – and most of all, for taxpayers who fund the data in the first place,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

“It will make information generated by the federal government more accessible and transparent to researchers, entrepreneurs, and others who can use it – 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.”

The OPEN Government Data Act, which is included as Title II of the broader Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act:

  • Makes permanent the federal government’s commitment to open data and codifies a policy of open by default for all government data, including federally-funded research data, while respecting privacy and national security concerns;
  • Calls for government data assets made available by an agency to be machine-readable and under open licenses;
  • Provides crucial definitions of key terminology, including a strong definition of open license requirements, which will help to standardize implementation of open data practices across U.S. agencies;
  • Directs agencies to support innovative uses of government data, adopt consistent data practices across government, and develop best practices for open data; and
  • Codifies key aspects of President Obama’s 2013 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

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