Open Government Data: New Insights, New Solutions

Open data, free government data released for public use, has emerged in recent years as a major public resource. Federal agencies, municipal governments, scientific researchers, and businesses are collaborating to use open data to advance cancer research, spur neighborhood development, and eliminate “transit deserts,” among other goals. At the Center for Open Data Enterprise, we work with both data providers and data users to help maximize the value of open data by addressing users’ needs.

This year, the Center teamed up with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to co-host a series of four 2016 Open Data Roundtables designed to make government data more accessible and usable by bringing together data experts across sectors and from diverse legal, technology, data, and policy backgrounds.

We convened nearly 300 data experts across four events from March through June in Washington, DC. These Roundtables focused on four cross-cutting goals: releasing highly detailed information while protecting privacy; identifying scalable ways to improve data quality; sharing and applying government-funded research data; and creating public-private collaborations to support open data. Participants worked together to identify case studies, lessons learned, and best practices in open data across the federal government.

You can learn more about the 2016 Open Data Roundtables by reading the background papers and key takeaways for each Roundtable here. A number of insights emerged from each Roundtable, such as:

• How new data governance structures can be an important strategy for managing privacy concerns.
• Why user feedback systems are a critical mechanism for improving data quality
• What new incentives could encourage researchers to share their data.
• How public-private collaborations around open data can provide platforms and tools to help make up for scarce government resources.

The Center will publish a detailed report drawing on the Roundtables’ findings in fall 2016. We welcome your input and feedback. Please send comments and inquiries to Katherine Garcia, Director of Communications and Outreach, at katherine@odenterprise.org.  

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