Around Town

What feds can learn from the global open data effort

Shutterstock image: data lines forming a sphere.

The Data Accountability and Transparency Act was signed into law a little more than two months ago, setting the stage for a single, machine-readable standard for financial data -- and for publication of that data online. But many countries have been using XBRL format for government data as a national standard for years, and that expertise could be put to use by federal agencies working to implement the Data Act.

At a Data Transparency Coalition breakfast July 29 in Washington, D.C., open data leaders from around the world shared their stories and offered their advice.

  • Frans Hietbrink, Tax and Customs Administration, The Netherlands: "Start thinking about ways to make it easier for the software developers, for them to adopt and comply with the standards."

    The Netherlands began working on open data standards 10 years ago -- on a voluntarily basis at first, according to Hietbrink. The program was met with great success as it evolved to work more closely with web and software developers and civil society groups. Eventually, the group behind the effort asked the government, "We know it works, now can you make it mandatory?"
  • Marcela Rozo, World Bank: "Adopt a global open standard, and make sure you put together enough standards for linkage of data so that users can follow the money."

    Rozo has been a driving force in the Open Contracting Partnership through the World Bank, an effort to promote the disclosure and transparency of public contracting data and increase engagement of people with contracting data through a global open standard. The partnership is planning to have a beta version ready by August and release version 1.0 by November, meant to be a starting point for contracting standards worldwide.
  • Bruno de Sousa Simoes, National Treasury, Brazil: "Don't believe what you hear, ask for a prototype. Examine the impact on both sides, and adopt open standards."

    De Sousa Simoes works on development of the Brazilian Public Sector Accounting and Fiscal Information System, or SICONFI Project, which aims to use XBRL format for government reporting. In Brazil, he said, the key to success was having SICONFI be mandatory and having penalties for non-compliance.

About the Author

Colby Hochmuth is a former staff writer for FCW.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group