Back in May, we posted about the Obama Administration's executive order on open government data and cited Govtrack.us's Josh Tauberer's analysis of the Executive Order as missing the mark and being confused -- if not downright misleading -- about "open licensing."
Happening now: Webcast on Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and PublicationsSubmitted by jrjacobs on Tue, 2013-05-14 10:10.
The webcast for public comments on Public Access to Federally Supported R&D is happening today and tomorrow (14 – 15 May 2013), starting at 9:00 a.m EST. Here's the agenda and already-submitted written statements. In a few days, the video archives from the webcast will also be available (same URL), and eventually the full transcript of the meeting will also be found on the same page. Check it out. It's heartening to hear so many scholars, academics, policy wonks etc coming out in support of open access to scientific information and data.
This message is just a reminder that the Public Comment meeting on Public Access to Federally Supported R&D: Publications will occur tomorrow and Wednesday (14 – 15 May 2013), starting at 9:00 a.m. The agenda is attached.
The link to the webcast is on the front page of the agenda, but here it is again: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/DBASSE_083052
If you are interested, the written statements that were received as part of the registration process can also be downloaded from a link on that page. In a few days, the video archives from the webcast will also be available (same URL), and eventually the full transcript of the meeting will also be found on the same page.
We look forward to seeing all of you who will attend in person, and hope that those who watch by webcast find it a useful meeting.
Meredith A Lane, PhD
Director, Board on Environmental Change and Society
Project Director, Committee on Population
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
National Research Council
Keck Center, 500 Fifth St NW, Washington, DC 20001
The White House has issued a new Executive Order on open data:
- Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information. EXECUTIVE ORDER, May 09, 2013.
To promote continued job growth, Government efficiency, and the social good that can be gained from opening Government data to the public, the default state of new and modernized Government information resources shall be open and machine readable. Government information shall be managed as an asset throughout its life cycle to promote interoperability and openness, and, wherever possible and legally permissible, to ensure that data are released to the public in ways that make the data easy to find, accessible, and usable. In making this the new default state, executive departments and agencies (agencies) shall ensure that they safeguard individual privacy, confidentiality, and national security. [emphasis added]
- Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset. Memorandum For The Heads Of Executive Departments And Agencies M-13-13, Office of Management and Budget (May 9, 2013). [pdf. 12 pages]
- Landmark Steps to Liberate Open Data. by Todd Park and Steve VanRoekel White House Blog (May 09, 2013)
John Wonderlich at the Sunlight Foundation has an excellent analysis and commentary:
- Open Data Executive Order Shows Path Forward, by John Wonderlich, Sunlight Foundation Blog (May 9, 2013).
[T]he new policies take on one of the most important, trickiest questions that these policies face -- how can we reset the default to openness when there is so much data? How can we take on managing and releasing all the government's data, or as much as possible, without negotiating over every dataset the government has?
How can the public (or policymakers) request what they don't know exists? How can CIOs manage what they haven't surveyed?
...Today's Executive Order demonstrates a new approach to open data, moving beyond rhetoric and aspiration, requiring agencies to publicly report on what data can be made public, building a new backbone for federal open data policy, and setting an example for other governments to follow. [emphasis added]
- New Open Data Memorandum almost defines open data, misses mark with open licenses. by Joshua Tauberer (May 9th, 2013).
- President Obama’s New E.O.: Open Data, Not Government Transparency by Jim Harper, Cato Institute (May 9, 2013).
Sunlight Foundation's OpenGov Champion of the month is Sandra Moscoso. Sandra is a mom of two public school students in Washington DC, and a member of the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization (CHPSPO) -- oh and she just happens to manage an open data portal at the World Bank’s financial sector.
...she and other CHPSPO members were able to collect data to show how the schools that had a full time librarian had better test score results than those who had lost theirs due to budget cuts. The group was able to use that figure as an effective basis for their request to the city to restore funding for librarians.
Thanks in part to a We the People petition signed by 65,000 people(!), President Obama's science advisor, John Holdren, issued a directive on Friday to all research funding agencies to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months of publication. It also requires that scientists receiving taxpayer dollars to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data. This is huge! By my rough count, that means that approximately 20 US agencies will now make the science they fund available to the public. The only thing better would be for President Obama to support FREE access to ALL federal govt publications by assuring that FDsys remains freely available (one of the recommendations of the recent NAPA report was the tremendously backward and short-sighted suggestion that GPO charge for access to their FDsys database!)
See the policy memorandum, Expanding Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research
The Obama Administration is committed to the proposition that citizens deserve easy access to the results of scientific research their tax dollars have paid for. That’s why, in a policy memorandum released today, OSTP Director John Holdren has directed Federal agencies with more than $100M in R&D expenditures to develop plans to make the published results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication and requiring researchers to better account for and manage the digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research. OSTP has been looking into this issue for some time, soliciting broad public input on multiple occasions and convening an interagency working group to develop a policy. The final policy reflects substantial inputs from scientists and scientific organizations, publishers, members of Congress, and other members of the public—over 65 thousand of whom recently signed a We the People petition asking for expanded public access to the results of taxpayer-funded research.
To see the new policy memorandum, please visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/ostp_publi...
To see Dr. Holdren’s response to the We the People petition, please visit: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/increasing-public-access-resul...
Michael Stebbins is Assistant Director for Biotechnology at OSTP
This site is a centralized federal resource for Smart Disclosure. Here you will find hundreds of government datasets that can help enable consumer choice; apps that demonstrate the power of Smart Disclosure; challenges for app developers; and resources to learn more about Smart Disclosure.
- Consumer.Data.Gov is Live!, by Sophie Raseman and Nick Sinai, whitehouse.gov (February 11, 2013).
The Community announced today is a first-of-its-kind centralized platform containing over 400 smart disclosure data sets and resources from dozens of agencies across government. Using the Community, entrepreneurs and innovators can access free Federal data to create the consumer applications, products, and services of the future -- all in one convenient location.
Here are some really useful tools and projects that make data more useful and understandable. They are winners of the Knight Foundation "data challenge."
"The winning projects go well beyond collecting data to unlocking its value in simple and powerful ways, so journalists can analyze numbers and trends, and communities can make decisions on issues important to them."
- Six ventures bring data to the public as winners of Knight News Challenge, Press Release, The Knight Foundation (Sep 20, 2012).
The six winners are:
- Safecast: Creating a community of citizen and professional scientists to measure and share data on air quality in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. The air quality effort is inspired by Safecast's success in providing radiation data following Japan's 2011 nuclear disaster.
- LocalData: Providing a set of tools that communities can use to collect data on paper or via a smartphone app, then export or visualize the data via an easy-to-use dashboard. The city of Detroit has used the tools, created by Code for America fellows, to track urban blight.
- Open Elections: Creating the first freely available, comprehensive source of U.S. election results, allowing journalists and researchers to analyze trends that account for campaign spending, demographic changes, legislative track records and more. Senior developers from The Washington Post and The New York Times lead the project.
- New Tools for OpenStreetMap: Launching tools that make it easier for communities to contribute to OpenStreetMap, the community-mapping project used by millions via foursquare and Wikimedia and becoming a leading source for open, street-level data. DevelopmentSeed will create the tools.
- Pop Up Archive: Taking multimedia content - including audio, pictures and more - from the shelf to the Web, so that it can be searchable, reusable and shareable. Founded by University of California grad students and SoundCloud Fellows, the project beta tested by helping archive the collection of the independent, Peabody-winning production team the Kitchen Sisters.
- Census.IRE.org: Providing journalists and the public with a simpler way to access Census data, so they can spend less time managing the information and more time analyzing it and finding trends. The project is led by a senior developer from the Chicago Tribune in partnership with Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).
Big Hat Tip to Kevin Taglang!
The annual meeting of the Association of Public Data Users was held recently in Washington and it produced interesting discussions and insights into the current state of and future directions for official statistics. Here are links to presentations from the conference and an excellent overview of the conference by Peggy Garvin.
- Association of Public Data Users 2012 Annual Conference, The Future of the Federal Statistical System in an Era of Open Government Data, Agenda and papers. (September 12-13, 2012).
- APDU 2012 Conference Explores the Future of Federal Survey Data, by Peggy Garvin, InfoToday (September 20, 2012).
[Editor's note: Adeeb Sahar, Stanford undergraduate student and Sunlight Foundation intern, asked me to post the following PSA about Sunlight's many projects of interest to students, researchers, and the public. FGI has no official connection to Sunlight Foundation. We just love what they're doing!]
The Sunlight Foundation has launched a campaign to partner with university libraries to provide easy access for students and researchers by cataloging as electronic resources its vast online databases of information on politics and government data.
Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to enhance government transparency through free online resources that track political contributions, follow federal regulations and bills and monitor Congressional activity.
Many universities have already let in the sunlight; Sunlight's projects are cataloged in university library databases including those at Stanford University, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania. In its ongoing effort to supply government information to students, the Sunlight Foundation is looking to partner with even more university libraries.
The following are the most commonly cataloged databases by university libraries and are geared toward university-level researchers and students interested in political science, public policy, and politics and government:
- Scout is the first free searchable database of regulations and bills from all fifty states and the federal government. This service searches through a variety of sources including the Congressional Record, THOMAS, and the Federal Register to produce curated legislative news alerts.
- Influence Explorer contains the most recent information on political contributions, lobbying information, contracts and other government data, allowing users to track and analyze influence by lawmaker, company or prominent individual.
- Clearspending is a scorecard that analyzes how well U.S. government agencies are reporting their spending data on USAspending.gov and provides insights to any descrepancies.
- Open Congress brings together official legislative data with news and blog coverage, social networking, public participation tools, and more to give users a comprehensive assessment of Congressional activity.
- Capitol Words makes searchable all Congressional records from 1996 to today by state, date or politician to uncover the most popular words and phrases used by legislators in the U.S. Congress.
If you are a subject specialist interested in including Sunlight Foundation's electronic databases on your university library website, contact Adeeb Sahar at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Ngai at email@example.com. See the Sunlight Foundation site for more information about our projects.
Our pal Josh Tauberer at Govtrack.us wrote recently that he's started a new Docket page on which readers can now know up to a week ahead when a bill is scheduled to come to the floor of the House or Senate. He was able to cobble together the data needed to do this because of the freely available -- and new -- House website called docs.house.gov and Senate.gov where the Senate's floor for the next day is published. And don't forget to follow govtrack for tweets on the upcoming bills. Way to use structured, open government data, Josh!!