State Open Data Policies and Portals
by Laura Drees & Daniel Castro DataInnovation.org August 18, 2014 (excerpts)
...Many state governments in the United States have begun to embrace open data as a way to encourage transparency and accountability, increase public participation, and promote economic growth. “Open data” refers to data that is made freely available without restrictions.1 States publish data sets on a wide variety of topics, such as education, health care, and public safety. By releasing open data, government agencies can foster data-driven innovation not only within government, but also among private-sector organizations and individuals who can make use of these data sets. The impact of releasing open data can be substantial. A 2013 McKinsey Global Institute report estimated that open data could add over $3 trillion annually in total value to the global economy.2 Yet for all of the evidence of economic and societal benefits from open data, states vary widely in the degree to which they have embraced the idea. This report provides a snapshot of state efforts to create open data policies and portals and ranks states on their progress....
...The six top-scoring states are Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma, and Utah. Each of these states has established an open data policy; only New York did so exclusively by means of executive order; the rest either passed legislation or issued both an executive order and legislation. These states’ policies require their open data portals to publish basic government data, such as expenditure information, as well as other agency data. They also require that the data be published in a machine readable format. The corresponding portals contain extensive catalogs of open data, are relatively simple to navigate, and provide data in machine readable formats. The portals also provide links to APIs to download particular data and have other information designed specifically for developers looking to build applications using the data. The next highest ranked states, Connecticut and Texas, offer similarly serviceable, machine readable open data portals that provide wide varieties of information, but Connecticut’s policy does not require machine readability, and Texas’s does not require data beyond expenditures. Of the next ranked two states, Rhode Island’s policy requires neither machine readability nor government data beyond expenditures; New Hampshire’s policy requires machine readability and many types of data, but its open data portal is not yet fully functional....
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