On May 9, 2013, President Barack Obama issued Executive Order #13642 “Making Open & Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information.” The Executive Order was accompanied by the Office of Management and Budget’s Open Data Policy (M-13-13), which provides guidance on implementing the Executive Order, while maintaining protections for national and operational security, and individual privacy. The Executive Order is intended to ensure that U.S. Government information is made available and accessible to the public to drive transparency, economic growth, and innovation.
USAID responded to the Executive Order in two ways. We compiled each of the first set of deliverables spelled out in the Open Data Policy but, more importantly, we defined and developed the processes for opening Agency program and management data on into the future. With nearly 200 data assets (defined as a collection of data elements or datasets that make sense to group together), USAID’s Open Data Listing (www.usaid.gov/data) is USAID’s entry point for available, useable, and accessible development data.
USAID’s Open Data Listing hosts data assets relevant to global development available for anyone to access, compare, and analyze against other relevant data and keep the findings, or better yet, share with others. We have already published data assets describing USAID’s budget and financial flows, performance monitoring data, survey data used in planning, monitoring and evaluating development programs, and ten years of monthly prices of crops and produce across twenty-five countries. This is a small sample of the many data assets we plan to publish.
USAID is committed to learning what types of data would be most useful to open and make available; how to improve our methods of getting the data to you; and how to better document and annotate the data. We welcome suggestions via our Github site and our online feedback form.
The Executive Order’s emphasis on transparency and increasing accessibility to information is core to USAID’s values, and USAID is thrilled to enhance this part of its mission. To ensure that inclusiveness and transparency is core to our implementation of the Open Data Policy, USAID has created a special governance committee with intra-agency representation to coordinate the management and dissemination of its data.
USAID’s Open Data Listing and Github site provide the public with a forum to engage and participate in the work of international development. By working together collaboratively across fields, specialties, countries, and regions, we will identify the most sustainable solutions to eradicate extreme poverty and achieve our global development goals.