Foundation Finds Open Data Movement Making Progress

Big Data Analytics

The State of The Union of Open Data, a report released by the Data Foundation on Wednesday, finds widespread agreement that progress is being made across a variety of organizations on data standardization, data sharing, and data usage.

“Almost uniformly–and more than in past years of our survey–the experts we surveyed saw forward progress,” the report notes. The survey included 33 interviews “with Federal, state, and international government officials and private-sector thought leaders.”

The Data Foundation, which advocates for “better data standards, broader data publication, and improved data reporting,” is based in Washington and backed by numerous technology consulting firms including Booz Allen Hamilton, and Grant Thornton.

Among the survey’s results: 84 percent of organizations saw data standardization improve in their field, 85 percent saw data sharing improve, and 97 percent saw the use of data improve. Most organizations shared a positive outlook for the future; just under 94 percent expected data standardization, sharing and usage to improve in 2019.

While the report took a positive tone, it also highlighted some areas for improvement.

The authors noted that “a good number of respondents moderated their affirmative responses with qualifying language” on the subject of data standardization. The report also pointed out that “a few respondents noted the propensity of some agencies to treat data as proprietary, or to withhold or limit data sharing as a way of protecting their ‘turf.’”

Still, the progress in the report outweighed the gripes on restrictions to open data.

“For three consecutive years, our survey on The State of the Union of Open Data indicates that open data is making strides. Its benefits are exponential: open data use can be applied to many different sectors of society and government, including healthcare, housing, education, and national defense,” said Sarah Joy Hays, interim president of the Data Foundation.

“Open data feeds allow for the discovery of many different paths for distributing information,” the report notes. “The respondents to the State of the Union of Open Data survey were nothing if not voluble and imaginative about the variety of topics yet to cover and the many angles from which to explore open data.”

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