What is Data Transparency?

Americans deserve easy access to their government's information. Federal data should be published online in electronic formats that make the data easy to search, sort and download. When separate federal agencies publish similar data, they should use standardized formats so that government-wide searches are possible.


Too often, the U.S. government fails to publish crucial data at all - or publishes such data in inconsistent or outdated electronic formats, hindering transparency.


In recent years, some members of Congress, leaders in the executive branch, and civic activists have begun to call for federal data transparency. However, bills that would require consistent electronic formats for financial regulation and for federal spending data have not yet been passed. And Congress has yet to address the government's failure to publish standardized program performance measures, corporate disclosures, legislative actions, and judicial documents.


The Data Transparency Coalition has been formed to serve as a leading voice for the publication of standardized federal data. The coalition will bring together for-profit and non-profit organizations to inform Congress, the executive branch, and the public about the benefits of using consistent electronic formats for all types of information generated, collected, or mandated by the government. The coalition will support the adoption of interoperable government-wide identifiers for agencies, programs, grants, contracts, regulated entities, and other basic data elements. The coalition will also support the use of markup languages that organize data elements in predictable ways.


Data transparency in our government can be achieved if leaders in Congress and the executive branch embrace two principles: consistent publication and electronic standardization. Data transparency will make federal information technology more efficient. Data transparency will help the American technology industry create thousands of new jobs in data delivery and analysis. And by opening the government to its people, data transparency will strengthen our democracy.


Achieving data transparency will be difficult. But it is possible. And you can help. Join us.