M-13-13: Open Data Policy

On May 9, 2013 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the memorandum, Open Data Policy—Managing Information as an Asset, which created  a framework to institutionalize open data for the federal government, as mandated by an accompanying Executive Order. The memorandum defined open data as “publicly available data structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users” and outlined the following seven principles:

Public. All agencies must “adopt a presumption in favor of openness” within all proper legal, privacy, and security restrictions.

Accessible. Open data must be convenient and modifiable, in machine-readable formats “that can be retrieved, downloaded, indexed, and searched.”

Described. The data must include a description of its strengths, weaknesses, analytical limitations, security requirements, and processing requirements.

Reusable. Truly open data must include an open license with no restrictions on its use.

Complete. Agencies must publish data in its primary form with as much granularity as possible.

Timely. Open data must be published as “quickly as necessary to preserve the value of the data.”

Managed Post-Release. Agencies must designate a point of contact to assist with data use, complaints, and requirements.

The M-13-13 memorandum “establishes a framework to help institutionalize the principles of effective innovation management at each stage of the information lifecycle to promote interoperability and openness. Whether or not particular information can be made public, agencies can apply this framework to all information resources to promote efficiency and produce value.” This memorandum also supported the creation of Project Open Data which is an OMB and OSTP online repository of tools, best practices, and schema to help agencies adopt the framework described above.