The United States Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018

On Monday, January 14, 2019, the U.S. President signed into law the “Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018,” aiming to improve evidence-based policy through strengthening Federal agency evaluation capacity, furthering interagency data sharing and open data efforts, and improving access to data for statistical purposes, while protecting confidential information.

GODAN enthusiastically welcomes this development, which recognises the importance of open data in informed policy making. Executive Director Andre Laperriere said:

“The news that the United States has signed into law an act that will open government data to the public is a landmark step forward in ensuring that society has access to free and open data. With this information, anybody can find and access information on their government’s every day activities and use it to their advantage to have a positive impact.

The act should be hailed as a big victory both in the US and abroad where the aim is to create a domino effect, encouraging more governments around the world to pass similar laws and policies relating to open data as it helps improve the ways they can run and serve its respective citizens. Industries will be able to develop and build as a result of sharing knowledge, and greater efficiency would result in several industries, which could also benefit the economy. This opening of data will prove a vital tool for many US industries currently under pressure such as agriculture, which can benefit immensely from the use of open data.

As the bill also states that public information released by federal agencies should be "machine-readable”, it emphasises the growing influence on how technology can help to take open data to new heights through improved communication, knowledge and understanding.”