How federal statistical agencies can implement open data policies

  • Statistical agencies should evaluate their existing user engagement strategies and take concrete steps towards incorporating feedback from users. Typically, users of statistical data range from individual researchers to large institutional organizations. Agencies should ensure that there are institutionalized mechanisms for feedback from the users to the survey designers.
  • Statistical agencies should support their staff in efforts to explore and improve the integration of administrative data from federal agencies with data from statistical surveys. Title III of the Evidence Act creates a presumption in favor of sharing data at the request of statistical agencies. Staff at these agencies should also be supported with appropriate enforcement mechanisms in order to leverage this opportunity created by law.
  • Statistical agencies should take steps to align their data strategies along with their communication strategies. Given the inherent difficulties in recording narrative information in statistical surveys, agencies should consider alternative methods of communicating the impact of their data including through narrative reports and visualizations.
  • Given their long history of generating evidence to inform policy, smaller statistical agencies can play an important role in helping their host federal agency define the learning agenda and think through their data needs.
  • Statistical agencies should work on elevating their existing privacy and security practices into a comprehensive data governance program. They should take steps to train staff on important issues of privacy and security throughout the data lifecycle.
  • Statistical agencies should leverage their history of implementing the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act to help their host federal agencies in implementing the Strategy and the Evidence Act.



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Center for Open Data Enterprise

The Center for Open Data Enterprise (CODE) is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to maximize the value of open government data for the public good