Budget Cuts, White House Apathy Stifling Open Data Efforts - Nextgov

ab1630's bookmarks 2018-02-28


“Government data has long served [as] an authoritative source of information about the state of our society and our economy,” said Daniel Castro, director of the Center for Data Innovation. Open information provides a “common basis of understanding of reality,” he said, but policymakers have begun “waging a war on data” when it doesn’t support their ideas.

Castro joined a panel of data experts on Tuesday to discuss the current state of federal data initiatives and the potential consequences of those programs not getting the resources they need.

Federal officials have embraced a number of open data initiatives in recent years, and since taking office, the Trump administration has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to “unleashing the power of data” to create a more effective government. But recently many agencies are finding their data collecting abilities impeded by tightening budgets and staff cuts, and the White House doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to relieve the pressure, according to panelists.

“One of the biggest challenges right now is properly funding critical data infrastructure,” said former Census Bureau Director John Thompson, who currently serves as executive director of the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics....

Beyond stifling collaboration between federal data experts, Ross also said the Trump administration doesn’t seem to be taking any steps to foster open data as a practice, despite its assertions otherwise. The president’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, which oversaw many of the Obama-era open data programs, remains without a leader, and Trump has yet to appoint a chief technology officer.

To foster a culture of open data, Ross said private citizens and researchers must begin showing the government how they use federal data in their work. “Bringing it down to real people in diverse situations” will help agencies “realize the value of this data,” and help foster a stronger relationship between data producers and data users, she said."



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Date tagged:

02/28/2018, 12:16

Date published:

02/28/2018, 07:18