Data by the People, for the People â€” Eight Years of Progress Opening Government Data to Spur Innovation, Opportunity, & Economic Growth
Washington, DC – On his first full day in office, President Obama issued the “Transparency and Open Government” memorandum, making clear that his Administration was “committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness,” and fostering a sense of transparency, public participation, and collaboration amongst the government and the American people.
Since 2009, the Administration has made significant progress opening up data sets that have never before been public, and creating new pathways to civic engagement. Today, students are able to compare the cost of college with other significant data points, such as graduation rates and average salaries of graduates to determine where to get the most bang for their buck. Communities can map demographic, income, and school data to promote Fair Housing. Patients can find information on the safety and cost of hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians, empowering them to make smarter health care choices. These diverse tools benefit different groups of people, industries, and communities, yet all rely on one thing: open data.
Managing data as an asset and making it available, discoverable, and usable — in a word, “open” — has served to strengthen our democracy, promote government efficiencies, and improve citizens’ quality of life. With open data, we identify gaps and look for solutions to the most pressing challenges we face as a Nation. Open data has the power to make our economy grow and our local communities thrive.
Today, the Administration is releasing a fact sheet of key accomplishments over the past eight years in opening government data to spur innovation, opportunity, and economic growth. The release of this list comes in conjunction with today’s White House Open Data Innovation Summit, which will bring together government trailblazers, entrepreneurs, companies, advocates, and civic innovators to celebrate the accomplishments and to discuss the path forward on this progress.
Timeline of Key Open Government Actions
Since 2009, the President has taken action to ensure that government remains effective and innovative for the American public in an increasingly digital world. Notable examples include:
January 2009: Released Presidential Memorandum: “Transparency and Open Government”
March 2009: Hired the first U.S. Chief Information Officer
April 2009: Hired the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer
December 2009: Released Open Government Directive
August 2012: Launched the Presidential Innovation Fellows program
May 2013: Released Executive Order 13642: “Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information”
May 2013: Released OMB Memorandum M-13-13: “Open Data Policy—Managing Information as an Asset”
January 2014: Re-launched Data.gov, improving searchability of federal datasets
March 2014: Established Open Data Cross Agency Priority Goal to evaluate federal efforts to open data
May 2014: Published the US Open Data Action Plan
February 2015: Hired the first U.S. Chief Data Scientist
August 2015: Signed an Executive Order to make permanent the Presidential Innovation Fellows program
Spring 2016: Hosted four United States Open Data Roundtables
September 2016: Created the first White House Open Data Summit
Opening Data to Spark Economic Growth, Innovation, and Opportunity
The U.S. Government is creating more data today than at any point in history. Under President Obama’s leadership, Federal agencies are making more of that data freely available to the public for use – unleashing nearly 200,000 datasets to date. At the state and local level, governments are finding ways to release data and create platforms to better inform citizens. The private sector is also working on public-private partnerships to release data. And today, open data has given us access to information that can make our lives better and our economy stronger.
Key examples of how open data has fueled economic growth, innovation and opportunity for Americans all over the United States include:
Police Data Initiative (PDI) increases transparency and accountability to improve policing outcomes. The Administration launched the White House Police Data Initiative to enable law enforcement agencies to better use data and technology to increase transparency and accountability, and ultimately improve policing outcomes and reduce unnecessary uses of force. More than 50 police departments from across the country have joined the Police Data Initiative, and have released over 150 open data sets on police-citizen interactions (e.g., use of force, traffic and pedestrian stops, and calls for service) in order to build trust with citizens. Additionally, through research partnerships, several of the departments are helping spur innovation in the use of data from body-worn cameras and advanced data analytics to improve police early intervention systems. Read more: FACT SHEET: Creating Opportunity for All Through Stronger, Safer Communities.
The Opportunity Project aims to improve economic mobility for all Americans. The Administration launched The Opportunity Project (TOP) in March 2016 to catalyze the creation of digital tools that use Federal and local open data to help communities navigate information about resources we all need to thrive, such as quality housing, schools, jobs, and transportation. Through Opportunity.Census.gov, TOP provides infrastructure for government - tech sector engagement through the creation of cohorts of tech companies and non-profits, Federal agencies and local communities that collaborate to create tools that address local challenges like connecting unemployed Americans with skills and jobs, helping low income families identify affordable homes near transportation and jobs, and exposing equity gaps between schools. Read more: FACT SHEET: The White House Launches “The Opportunity Project,” Utilizing Open Data to Build Stronger Ladders of Opportunity for All
City SDK and the U.S. Department of Commerce Data Service bridges the gap between federal, state, and local data. CitySDK (software development kit) by the U.S. Census Bureau is an open data platform that cities across the Nation are using to deliver innovation solutions for social good. It bridges the data gap between federal, state, and local data. This ecosystem-based approach is empowering citizens to deliver technical solutions that will benefit their local communities through the interaction of academia, industry, entrepreneurs, and government. For apps that require open data, case studies using the CitySDK have shown a reduction in developer time by 10x. For example, developers can use data available through the CitySDK to understand commuting habits, socioeconomic patterns on housing and employment, and where to target and anticipate community services and resources.
The College Scorecard helps Americans compare college costs and outcomes. In September 2015, the Administration launched the new College Scorecard tool to provide students and families with information on college performance that can help them identify colleges that are serving students of all backgrounds well and providing a quality and affordable education. The Scorecard is designed to increase transparency, aggregating data from institutions on federal financial aid and tax information and providing insights into the performance of institutions that receive federal financial aid dollars and the outcomes of the students of those institutions. Further, millions of parents use MyStudentData to view their child's school records per year. Parents can view demographics, schedules, grades, assignments, tests, attendance, discipline, and transcript data.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Open Data Portal and PatentsView improve access to patent and trademark data. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) open data portal improves the discoverability, accessibility, and usability of public patent and trademark data to harness the power of data. The Developer Hub establishes a shareable and "social" platform for anyone in this community to showcase unique ways they're using our data, combining it with other data sets such as economic and geographic data. Through this forum, users can unlock the data to answer questions about trends in technology and innovation but also to provide input on other types of data sets the USPTO should release. This portal includes Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for innovators to further mine this data, helping to inform our customers where to spend their limited research and development resources, and providing a much more detailed view of the competitive landscape than previously available. The PatentsView search tool allows audiences to interact with nearly 40 years of data on patenting activity in the U.S. This tool can be used to explore technological, regional, and individual-level trends through several search filters and multiple view options.
Opening Data to Improve the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Federal Government
Over the last eight years, the Administration has launched a number of open data initiatives aimed at making the Federal Government more effective and efficient. Key examples include:
Data.gov is the home of all Federal Government data for the open data community. At the home of the U.S. Government’s open data, Data.gov, are tools and resources to conduct research, develop web and mobile applications, design data visualizations, and more for the open data community. Data.gov, owned and managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), has catalogued nearly 200,000 datasets, many produced by the Federal Government to enable transparency and innovation and to foster a return on our Nation’s investment in data. With the Federal open data policy, Data.gov has led the implementation of the Project Open Data Metadata standard with federal agencies, but has also worked with state and local governments to implement the same standard, enabling common metadata and data discoverability on a national scale. Data.gov is now working to help highlight and facilitate other cross-government data federation efforts with the U.S. Data Federation.
Making open and machine readable data the standard. On May 9, 2013, President Obama signed an Executive Order making open and machine-readable data the new default for government information, taking historic steps to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs while appropriately safeguarding sensitive information and rigorously protecting privacy. Making information about government operations more readily available and useful is core to the promise of a more efficient and transparent government.
The White House has also launched Project Open Data, designed to share best practices and software code to assist federal agencies with opening data. These efforts have helped unlock troves of valuable data— that taxpayers have already paid for—and are making these resources more open and accessible to innovators and the public.
Federal IT Dashboards give insight into how the U.S. government spends its information technology investments. In June 2009, the Administration launched the IT Dashboard, a first-of-its-kind website to enable Federal agencies, industry, the general public, and other stakeholders to view details of more than $70 billion in Federal information technology (IT) investments. The IT Dashboard displays data received from agency IT Portfolio and Business Case reports, including general information on over 7,000 Federal IT investments and detailed data for over 700 of those investments that agencies classify as "major." Agency Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a regular basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided by the IT Dashboard.
eRegulations makes regulations easier to read and navigate. The Administration launched eRegulations to make regulations easier to read and navigate for the American public. Created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and 18F, eRegulations clarifies regulations by bringing related information and regulatory history to the forefront, and allows the public to more easily and contextually voice their opinions on the proposed regulations before they become the law of the land. Further, it also saves agencies time in sorting and organizing comments on proposed regulations using a more granular data structure for them to analyze, organize and respond. All of it is open source and agencies and the public can review the history, documentation and dive into the code at: https://eregs.github.io.
ForeignAssistance.gov improves transparency in U.S. foreign assistance spending. The Administration launched ForeignAssistance.gov to serve as the U.S. Government's main tool for improving transparency in U.S. foreign assistance spending. Transparency and open data enable stakeholders and the general public to better understand U.S. foreign assistance investments around the world, make foreign aid more useful for development, and help hold ourselves more accountable. Since its launch, ForeignAssistance.gov has been working to establish standard data requirements across the U.S. Government, support agencies in quarterly data reporting, and develop a dynamic and user-friendly website. Its mission is to serve as a central repository where stakeholders can easily access and use U.S. Government foreign assistance budget, financial, and award information in a standardized and easy-to-understand format.
Increasing federal spending transparency. On May 9, 2014, President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act), setting forth a new commitment to expand Federal spending transparency. When fully implemented, taxpayers will be able to access, search, and download Federal spending data on a publicly available website. This data includes obligations, outlays, unobligated balances, and other budgetary resources for each appropriations account. Taxpayers will also have access to more information about Federal awards as they will be linked with financial data for the first time. With increased access to this data, the public will see where, how, and on what their Government spends their tax dollars.
Open Data to Improve the Health and Wellness of the American Public
The policies of this Administration in the healthcare industry--ranging from digitizing health records to expanding coverage, to putting data to work for science--have spurred an arc of transformation in healthcare, creating new opportunities and attracting new innovators and entrepreneurs. Making health data more open and accessible increases choice, empowerment and accountability on all sides of the healthcare spectrum.
A decade ago, only ten percent of hospitals used an electronic health record (EHR) with basic functions. Now, 97 percent of hospitals and 75 percent of doctors are using a certified EHR, spurred by the HITECH Act. Electronic health records allow physicians, pharmacists and patients to access information quickly and securely— putting individuals at the center of their care and enhancing collaboration, improving decision-making and reducing the risk of errors. Studies show that giving patients access to their records may increase healthy behavior and improve decision-making. Research is accelerated when researchers have access to de-identified research data. And now, the public can access nationwide data on hospital performance and charges, rates of procedures and medication patterns, giving them critical information to make healthcare decisions.
Key examples of the Administration’s open data efforts to improve the health and wellness of citizens include:
Precision Medicine enables individualized treatments. The President’s Precision Medicine Initiative is enabling a new era of medicine through research, technology, and policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized treatments. Key principles of the initiative include making it easier for patients to access, understand and share their own digital health data, including donating it for research, and opening data and technology tools to invite citizen participation, unleash new discoveries and bring together diverse collaborators to share their unique skills.
In February 2016, at the Precision Medicine Initiative Summit hosted by the President at the White House, six of the major electronic health record vendors announced they will pilot use of open, standardized APIs and other methods to give individuals the ability to contribute their data to research, including for the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort, when it is launched. These “Sync for Science” pilots will demonstrate a new model of patient-enabled research, leveraging industry-led progress to give patients access to their own electronic health records through APIs, and breaking down the research data silos that too often slow scientific progress. Read more: FACT SHEET: President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.
Cancer Moonshot aims to accelerate progress toward ending cancer as we know it. In his final State of the Union address, President Obama asked Vice President Biden to head up a new national effort with the ambitious charge to make a decade worth of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, in five years. This goal cannot be achieved without all parts of the cancer community and beyond contributing what they can. Toward that end, the Vice President and Cancer Moonshot team have met with cancer researchers, oncologists, nurses, patients, advocates, technologists, designers, engineers, and data scientists to spur new actions and collaborations, including addressing a key Moonshot objective: to unleash the power of data. Read more: whitehouse.gov/cancermoonshot
The Health Data Initiative partnership forges the way for open data sharing. The Health Data Initiative (HDI) was launched in 2010 in partnership with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release health data from HHS' vaults and make it easily available and accessible to the public and to innovators across the country. This information includes clinical care provider quality information, nationwide health service provider directories, databases of the latest medical and scientific knowledge, consumer product data, community health performance information, government spending data and much more. In addition to publishing new data sets, this Initiative also focused on making existing data much easier for developers to use -- i.e., by making it machine-readable, downloadable and accessible via application programming interfaces -- while rigorously protecting privacy and confidentiality. The growing inventory of publicly available data resources is easily findable and accessible at a central location through the HealthData.gov website. The initiative promoted the use of data by innovators across the country through grassroots "meetups," public competitions, "code-a-thons”, and more.
Blue Button: My Data for Health, patients and consumers of health care have a right to their data. In 2010, the Administration launched Blue Button to allow individuals to view, download, send, and, in the future, connect health data to applications and services they trust. More than 750 organizations have taken the Blue Button Pledge to put patients and families at the center of their care. More than three million Veterans, service members, and Medicare beneficiaries have now accessed their personal health data more than 46 million times from their government.
Today, an estimated 150 million Americans now have the ability to access their health records online from health professionals, medical laboratories, retail pharmacy chains, and state immunization registries. In fact, a majority of healthcare providers are now providing access to health information online. More than 16,000 health care organizations and providers are now listed on the Blue Button Connector, a tool to help patients and consumers access their health records online. The Administration has also worked to clarify an individual’s legal right to access their health information and transmit it to where they choose.
Envisioning data-driven innovations for mental health, invisible illness, and suicide prevention. In 2015, President Obama proclaimed September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day, reaffirming that mental health is an essential part of overall health. With renewed commitment to supporting and empowering all Americans to seek the care they need, the White House proposed a $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care and inspire new audiences from all sectors to collaboratively address suicide prevention. In response, clinicians, researchers, data scientists, and innovators are utilizing Data.gov open datasets and unlocking millions of new records/datasets from non-government sources for new insights and improved treatments for mental health, invisible illness, and suicide prevention through a series of hackathons including: the Mental Health Hackathon (December 2015), Veterans Affairs Brain Trust (April 2016), Lyme Innovation (April/June 2016), and Veterans Affairs Suicide Prevention Innovations (September 2016).
Lyme Innovation helps solve challenges in prevention and treatment of Lyme disease. Lyme Innovation aims to solve critical prevention, diagnostic, and treatment and rehabilitation challenges facing the Lyme disease field by bringing together diverse researchers and scientists at a series of hackathons in April and June 2016. This effort is led by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Innovation (VACI), Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network/Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, and the Open Medicine Institute with sponsorship from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation. Lyme Innovation contributed to the National Day of Civic Hacking. The foundational principles of Lyme Innovation include: open data, open science, open innovation, and collaboration with all sectors including patients and those with lived experience.
Opening Data to Make Federally-Funded Scientific and Medical Research More Accessible
Open Science extends the concept of open data to the science realm by making the results of Federally-funded scientific and medical research more accessible. Scientific research results include digital data, scholarly publications, and software. Key examples of the Administration’s efforts include:
Increasing public access to digital scientific data. In February 2013, the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy instructed all Federal agencies that spend more than $100 million per year on R&D to develop plans for increasing public access to digital data and scholarly publications resulting from research that they conduct or fund. Only about one-fifth of the Federal Government’s investment in research—and one-quarter of its investment in research and development (R&D)—is conducted by Federal agencies. The vast majority of the research the Federal Government funds is conducted by industry, universities, and other private, non-profit organizations. Agencies with completed public access plans are moving toward implementation. This means that researchers need to prepare data management plans for their new research projects, describing the data to be generated by the research and provisions being made for long-term preservation and access to the data. Agency policies expect that, at the minimum, the data underlying published research papers will be made available. Eight agencies currently require data management plans for all new research projects, and seven additional agencies have begun phasing-in such requirements across their research portfolios. Agencies are providing researchers with additional instructions for proper data management and information about suitable data repositories for preserving and providing access to research data.
National Cancer Institute creates a community resource for sharing cancer data via the Genomic Data Commons. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Genomic Data Commons (GDC) promotes cancer data sharing by encouraging cancer data submissions, making diverse data compatible for cross-study analysis, and providing easy access to the data for researchers worldwide. At its launch in June 2016, the GDC shared data from more than 14,000 patients, along with associated clinical data (e.g. clinical diagnosis, treatment history, survival data), and the number of patients with data in the GDC will exceed 32,000 with the submission of data from Foundation Medicine. With each new addition, the GDC will grow into a more comprehensive knowledge base that will foster important discoveries in cancer research and increase the success of cancer treatment for patients.
The Open Science Prize increases international collaboration to help solve pressing public health and biomedical research challenges. The Open Science Prize is a unique collaboration between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the UK-based Welcome Trust, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). It was designed to encourage, recognize the development of new tools, products, and services that use open digital content to help solve pressing public health and biomedical research challenges. As a first of its kind international challenge competition between these organizations, it is an example of an innovative two-phase funding method that is successfully stimulating international collaborations around open data. In Phase I of this competition, there were 96 entries representing 450 innovators from 45 countries. Of these submissions, 6 were selected as semi-finalists and were provided with 80K to develop prototypes.
NIH Data Sharing Repositories. In an effort to increase access to biomedical data for discovery and reuse, NIH recently made 64 data sharing repositories viewable to the public on HealthData.gov. These NIH-supported repositories represent a wide variety of publicly accessible repositories covering data from international neuroimaging to clinical eye exam data. Exposing these publically-accessible NIH-supported data sharing repositories on HealthData.gov will not only bring further attention to their existence, but also increase opportunities for the discoverability and reuse of biomedical data supported through NIH funding.
Clinical trial registration and results reporting at ClinicalTrials.gov. ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and results database of publicly- and privately-supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world. This site contains information from more than 220,000 registered clinical trials conducted with private and public funding in this country and around the world, plus summary results for more than 18,700 trials. Data is available to all requesters, both within and outside the United States, at no charge. Summary results information reporting is extended to applicable clinical trials of drugs (including biological products) and devices, regardless of whether or not they are approved, licensed, or cleared by the FDA. A new NIH policy will help ensure that all NIH-funded clinical trials are registered and their results information shared on ClinicalTrials.gov.
Open Geospatial and Earth Sciences
The U.S. Government invests in Earth observations, many of which are geo-referenced, and are critical to the protection of lives and property, national security, economic growth, and scientific inquiry. A core principle of the U.S. Government is that these Federal geospatial data are public goods, paid for by the American people, and that free, full, and open access to these data significantly enhances their value to society. Value comes from the use of these data to inform decisions. In March 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released the Common Framework for Earth-Observation Data to assist Federal agencies and the data management community in making geospatial data more discoverable, accessible, and usable. This will, in turn, facilitate the greatest benefit to the United States and international community from our vast collective investment in Earth observations.
The Climate Data Initiative identifies and opens relevant climate-related datasets. In 2014, the Administration launched the Climate Data Initiative where U.S. agencies worked to identify relevant datasets within the U.S. government and catalogue them on the open-data site climate.data.gov. Building on this effort, this month, the Administration launched the Partnership for Resilience and Preparedness (PREP), a public-private collaboration among Federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, private-sector companies, and civil-society organizations. The partnership will identify priority-information needs, reduce barriers to data access and usability, and develop an open-source platform to enable sharing and learning on the availability and use of data and information for climate resilience. Since the Initiative’s announcement, more than 500 Federal datasets have been made available.
Arctic open data aims to meet critical data needs to inform scientific understanding of the Arctic. The United States seeks to fill data gaps in the Arctic. The Administration is forging international collaborations and public-private partnerships to meet critical data needs to inform scientific understanding of the Arctic as well as informing smart policies. For example, the United States is creating the first-ever open, publicly available, high-resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the Arctic to support informed land management, sustainable development, safe recreation, and scientific studies, as well as domain-specific challenges. These Arctic DEMs can also serve as benchmarks against which future landscape changes (due to, for instance, erosion, sea level rise, extreme events, or climate change) can be measured. Moving forward, the United States will explore creating similarly valuable resources for parts of the world where publicly available, reliable, and high-resolution data are not currently open and publicly available.
The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative makes agricultural and nutrition data available for worldwide use. Launched in 2013, now with more than 360 partners, the GODAN initiative works to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritionally relevant data available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. GODAN is the largest sector-focused open data partnership, and is comprised of public and private institutions, non-profit organizations, industry partners, and governments. Collectively, GODAN partners aim to redefine and promote adoption of open data policies with a focus on opening agriculture and nutrition data, critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #2 of ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Opening Data to Spur Investments and Innovation in the Energy, Environment, and Climate Sectors
Access to information is transforming the United States to a clean energy economy. Open access to energy data allows researchers to collaborate more effectively, advancing innovation in the private sector, and serves as a foundation for new ideas for energy and grid modernization. By exposing federally-funded energy data in open, machine-readable formats, the Department of Energy has enabled innovators to use this data in new and exciting ways to move the needle on solving global energy concerns, and to bring new solutions to the energy market, creating new industries, and jobs.
The Energy Information Administration features supply and demand data for the U.S. electric grid. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) makes free and open data available through an Application Programming Interface (API) and open data tools to better serve the American public. The EIA API hosts 1.6 million energy-related datasets, publicly available for free, and EIA released a U.S. Electric System Operating Data tool in August 2016 to provide hourly electricity operating data. The tool features near-real-time demand data, plus analysis and visualizations of hourly, daily, and weekly electricity supply and demand on a national and regional level for all 66 electric system balancing authorities that make up the U.S. electric grid. EIA open data continues to facilitate more informed analysis and policy decisions on a national and regional level.
Open PV Project: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were early government adopters of open data. In 2009, the Open PV Project – real-time status of solar photovoltaic market in the U.S. – was launched and has responded to the call-to-action for open data. Data for the project is voluntarily contributed from a variety of sources including utilities, installers, and the general public. The data collected is actively maintained by the contributors and always changing to provide an evolving, up-to-date snapshot of the U.S. solar power market.
Open Energy Information (OpenEI): In 2009, the Administration launched OpenEI, a community wiki where users can view, edit, add, download, as well as rate and provide comments on energy datasets. The community contributes to the most up-to-date information needed to make informed decisions on energy, market investment, and technology development. The data provided on OpenEI data will also help create new businesses, build innovative tools and inspire new analyses.
City Energy Profile Tool: In 2016, the DOE and NREL developed the City Energy Profile tool that displays and allows users to download sector-specific electricity, natural gas, and fuel consumption estimates, electricity generation data, utility rates, renewable energy potentials, transportation data, and policies/incentives for more than 23,450 U.S. cities. City decision-makers use this tool to better understand their energy landscape and make more strategic energy decisions.
Within the year, DOE and NREL will add a public API to the City Energy Profile tool that will enable city decision makers, other federal agencies, academics, and private researchers to easily access the City Energy Profile tool data and conduct their own city level analyses. An initial analysis showed that if all the cities included in the data set implemented six types of clean energy policies, the cities in aggregate could reduce the U.S.’ annual greenhouse gas emissions by 3-8 percent.
In 2016, NREL also launched Data.nrel.gov--a laboratory data platform that catalogs data and associated metadata in an effort to connect researchers, entrepreneurs, and analysts with data that can transform the energy economy and lead to new businesses and U.S. jobs.
Open data enhances public participation and civic engagement
Public participation in government isn’t just a cornerstone of democracy—it’s how the U.S. government ensures that policies and practices reflect the ideas and expertise of the American people. President Obama continually emphasizes the importance of more inclusive and open government, directing federal agencies to “find new ways of tapping the knowledge and experience of ordinary Americans.” Government is more effective when it gathers input from the public as it makes decisions. By harnessing input and expertise from a wide array of voices, we can continue to strengthen our government.
These efforts are just a sampling of how the U.S. government is using incentive prizes, crowdsourcing, and citizen science to advance national priorities, collaborating with civil societies, including companies, universities, foundations, non-profits, and the public:
Challenge.gov taps into the collective wisdom of the crowd. Drawing on the talents and interests of thousands of Americans, the Federal Government has helped solve some of the Nation’s most challenging and pressing problems. More than 50,000 Americans have participated in more than 300 competitions with $35 million in prizes through Challenge.gov. Recently, $2 million was awarded to the winners of Rebuild by Design, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s competition to create redevelopment projects for the region affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Hackathons, data jams, and conferences paves the way for a new kind of civic engagement. The open data movement has opened the door to a new kind of civic engagement: civic hacking. Civic hackers are developers, designers, data scientists, communicators, civic organizers, entrepreneurs, government employees and anyone willing to get his or her hands dirty solving problems. Some civic hackers are employed by nonprofits, while others belong to private companies. Some are civic hackers by night. Many cities across the United States have caught onto this trend, working hand-in-hand with local, volunteer developers to build new and interesting civic applications. For example, New York City launched its Big Apps competition; Chicago began its Hack Nights; and Datapoloozas were created to challenge developers and entrepreneurs to show a return on investment from their data, and build new apps and businesses. Federal agencies featured open data efforts at dozens of hackathons, data jams, and conferences including the 2015 Health Datapalooza, Transportation Datapalooza, Third Annual Safety Datapalooza, Mental Health Hackathons, an Accessibility Hackathon, a White House Mapathon, and eight Open Data Roundtables led by Federal agencies. In 2016, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) co-led a four-part Open Data Roundtables series to increase two-way public engagement, which have inform National Open Data Guidelines to be publicly announced at the 2016 Open Datapalooza.
National Day of Civic Hacking widens participation in civic participation. Each year in June, the National Day of Civic Hacking gives members of the public an opportunity to do what is most quintessentially American: roll up our sleeves, get involved and work together to improve our society. On June 4, 2016, hundreds of empowered citizens worked collaboratively to build technology solutions to local challenges using publicly-released data. One of 2016’s civic hacking challenges was focused on using data visualization to help tell the story of Promise Zones, high poverty communities where the government partners with local leaders to drive economic growth. The #HackForChange hashtag saw more than 11,000 original posts reaching 24 million between May 7 - June 6, 2016.
The Data Science Bowl engages data scientists to amplify their impact to affect change. The Data Science Bowl is a yearly competition for data scientists to harness their passion, unleash their curiosity, and amplify their impact to affect change on a global scale. The 2015-2016 Data Science Bowl asks participants to use data science to transform how we diagnose heart disease. Participants will use data provided by the National Institutes of Health and Children’s National Medical Center to create an algorithm that automates a heart function assessment process, effectively acting as a thermometer for the heart. With faster, more accurate insight into the heart’s performance in hand, we are giving doctors an opportunity to create robust treatment plans for stopping and treating this disease.