Illuminating the Value of Open Data

The Data Foundation's mission is to illuminate the benefits of transforming government information into standardized, open data. The technology industry is our constituency. Government is our primary audience.

Accordingly, we undertake research projects that objectively explore the benefits and challenges of open data. Our research projects are intended to make open data concepts accessible for policymakers. We select research projects with these broad criteria in mind.

Our research projects explain how open data can improve government and society - and the related challenges and drawbacks policymakers must conquer. We are grateful to our Data Foundation supporters for making these projects possible.

Recent Research

Ongoing Research

Survey of Federal Chief Data Officers

The Data Foundation, Grant Thornton, and Qlik are conducting a survey of federal chief data officers to provide insights for effectively implementing the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (Evidence Act) and the OPEN Government Data Act. The survey will provide knowledge about opportunities and challenges faced by the emerging chief data officer community. The survey results will be released in early 2020.

Funding the Evidence Act 

As policymakers explore mechanisms to effectively implement the Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act and the OPEN Government Data Act, the identification and allocation of resources to support new legal requirements will be necessary. This white paper explores the opportunities and options available for Congress and Executive Branch agencies in exploring various funding flexibilities and mechanisms to ensure that the intent of the Evidence Act and the full vision of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking is realized over time. It describes options available to expand funding flexibilities for data and evidence activities in government. The white paper will be released in fall 2019. Authors: Kira Fatherree and Nick Hart.

Understanding Machine-Readability in Modern Data Policy

Information has its greatest utility when there is agreement as to what it means. Information standards establish agreement in domains of finance, life sciences, engineering, even building codes. The global movement to machine-readable data for compliance information reveals a costly gap between compliance standards and data standards. This paper asserts that this gap unnecessarily diminishes the value of machine readable data, and proposes that policymakers close this gap by advancing now-current best-practices for describing the layers of agreement they expect from machine-readable implementations of compliance reporting. The white paper presents a framework for applying machine-readability requirements in government agencies and offers recommendations for policymakers. Author: Dean Ritz

Focus Areas

The Data Foundation focuses its nonpartisan research, education, and programming in three areas.

  1. Deploying government data for public good. By transforming public-sector information from disconnected documents into standardized, open data, we are making governments more transparent on the outside and more efficient on the inside.

  2. Modernizing compliance data for efficiency and effectiveness. By replacing form-based compliance with data-centric reporting, we reduce compliance costs and enable better oversight.

  3. Harnessing private-sector data to improve business and society. By encouraging private-sector companies and nonprofits to open their operational data for broader use, we create opportunities for feedback, collaboration, and insight.


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