"Openness in government strengthens our democracy, promotes the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and contributes to economic growth. As one vital benefit of open government, making information resources easy to find, accessible, and usable can fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, and scientific discovery that improves Americans' lives and contributes significantly to job creation." —President Barack Obama, May 9, 2013
On May 9, 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order entitled "Making Open and Machine Readable the new Default for Government Information." Pursuant to that Executive Order, a Memorandum, "Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset (M-13-13)" was published that established a framework to help institutionalize the principles of effective information management at each stage of the information's life cycle to promote interoperability and openness. Whether or not particular information can be made public, agencies could apply this framework to all information resources to promote efficiency and produce value. The Memorandum required agencies to collect or create information in a way that supports downstream information processing and dissemination activities. This includes using machine-readable and open formats, data standards, and common core and extensible metadata for all new information creation and collection efforts. It also includes agencies ensuring information stewardship through the use of open licenses and review of information for privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions to release. Additionally, it involves agencies building or modernizing information systems in a way that maximizes interoperability and information accessibility, maintains internal and external data asset inventories, enhances information safeguards, and clarifies information management responsibilities.
The Department of State has created an Open Data Plan that describes its approach to open data, and it includes a schedule for how it will expand, enrich and open its Enterprise Data Inventory to the public. Comments on the Open Data Plan and requests for open datasets may be sent to email@example.com.