Critical Read

Ranking the states on open data

WHAT: “State Open Data Policies and Portals,” from the Center for Data Innovation

WHY: Increasingly, states are following feds into the open data space, with varying degrees of success. So far, 10 states have established open data policies, with nine of these offering portals to host government data sets. Some states focus data disclosures around contracts, spending, and legislation. Typically, these aren't quite as robust as open data policies because the information isn't presented in machine readable format, or because it focuses on narrow topic areas. A few cities, including Philadelphia, Burlington, Vt., and South Bend, Ind., have open data policies that could serve as templates for adoption at the state level.

The Center for Data Innovation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation came up with a score sheet to grade all 50 states in their open data efforts, based on whether a policy is in place, what kind of data is available, and the presence and usability of a data portal. States with robust open data policies, whether instituted by executive order or legislation, scored highest. Leaders include Texas, Maryland, Utah, Hawaii and New York. The bottom of the open data heap includes Massachusetts, Alabama, Louisiana, Kansas and Wyoming.

VERBATIM: "Given the significant opportunities that open data presents, all states should be developing open data policies and portals as an initial step towards greater use of open data. States creating new open data policies or portals, or refreshing old ones, have many opportunities to learn from the experiences of early adopters."

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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