On Monday evening, President Trump signed the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act into law, setting the requirement for all government agencies to make data accessible and machine-readable by default.

The bill, passed as part of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, sets the stage for a major modernization effort for Federal IT, as agencies will be required to create a comprehensive inventory of agency data, submit their inventory to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in real-time, and create a list of policy-relevant questions that the agency plans to answer with data. Agencies can expect OMB guidance within the next year, with the law setting a deadline of 90 days to implement that guidance.

The bill also establishes the chief data officer position into law, and creates a Federal Chief Data Officer Council.

“Today is a historic day for the open data movement,” said Sarah Joy Hays, acting executive director of the Data Coalition, in a statement. “The government-wide law will transform the way the government collects, publishes, and uses non-sensitive public information.”

“This law is a major achievement for the open data community, and by passing this law, the United States has established itself as one of the global leaders in open data. There is a lot of important work ahead to implement this legislation, and we look forward to working with the government as it makes data available to benefit generations to come,” said Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation.

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