Open Data Policies
Open Data means giving the public better access to government data. Open Data is part of the Open Government initiative. This initiative ensures the public sees transparency, participation, and collaboration from all federal agencies. Making data publicly and openly available is necessary to reach those goals.
More data resources are available to the public because of Open Government laws. Governance over this effort is mandated at the federal level and then applied by each agency within their own policies. Each agency has a data governance body that works on Open Data initiatives.
Statutes and Directives
EPA's open data sharing operates under these statutes and Directives:
Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018
The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 was signed into law in January 2019. The Evidence Act includes many of the suggestions of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (2017). This law applies the use of evidence and data to develop policies and evaluate and improve programs across the federal government. All agencies are required to develop evidence-based policy and review plans as part of regular business. The law also requires the creation of learning agendas designed to:
- Address priority questions
- Improve Open Government projects
- Promote better public access to agency data assets
- Improve data sharing across Federal agencies.
21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act
The 21st Century IDEA aims to make using digital media from the government better. And, it supports requirements for federal public websites. Read EPA's response to the IDEA act.
Open Government Directive
In 2009 the Office of Management and Budget released the Open Government Directive (M-10-06). This directive tells federal agencies how to apply the rules of transparency, participation, and collaboration. To comply with this directive, EPA released five Open Government Action Plans. EPA Open Government Action Plan 5.0 remains published. EPA also released an Open Government Data Quality Plan. The Evidence Act turned many of these standards and requirements into law.
EPA manages large amounts of regulatory, scientific and other data. The following links go to resources and documents that describe the agency's data management processes.
- Current IT/IM Directives
- Data Standards Policy
- Enterprise Data Management Policy
- Controlled Unclassified Information Policy
- EPA Mandatory Declassification Review
- EPA Data Center Optimization Initiative
Transparency is a key goal for the agency’s work, as outlined in EPA’s Strategic Plan for FY2022-2026. EPA’s open government goals and projects are an important part of providing transparency. Public access to peer-reviewed, scientific research papers and research data is part of EPA’s open government and transparency efforts. EPA has a well known pledge to make the results of EPA-funded research available to the public. EPA issued its first Plan to Increase Access to Results of EPA-Funded Scientific Research (pdf) (4.7 MB, June 2018) in November 2016. Since that time, EPA has met this goal by working to ensure the public has access to the results of federally funded peer-reviewed, scientific research papers and research data.
EPA has created a repository at PubMed Central to provide access to the agency’s scientific texts. The agency has also worked with Data.gov to provide access to the data underlying these publications. Plus, to maximize public access while protecting private information, EPA has made selected data available in a secure data enclave. Learn more about the first available secure datasets used to support these controlled information research studies.
Open Science Policy
These policies relate to the publishing of research and linked data at EPA and across the federal government.
- EPA Order 1000.17B: Policy for Increasing Access to Results of EPA-Funded Extramural Scientific Research
- OSTP Public Access Memo: Ensuring Free, Immediate, and Equitable Access to Federally Funded Research (Nelson Memo)
- OSTP Public Access Memo: Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research (Holdren Memo)