Another Request for Comments Released for the Federal Data Strategy

Published: October 18, 2018

Big DataPolicy and Legislation

Dubbed as one of the three Cross- Agency Priority (CAP) goals within the President’s Management Agenda to utilize data as a strategic asset, the second step has been completed for the Federal Data Strategy’s creation. The release of the Request for Comments on draft practices and the publish of finalized principles leads the Federal Data Strategy team one step closer to a finalized strategy in January 2019 and a Year 1 Action Plan in April 2019. The team also provides a list of use cases, some of which will be ultimately selected for a Data Incubator Playbook for release in April 2019.

The principles serve as a guide to the development and implementation of the data strategy, specifically leading to the formation of the practices and action steps. Published in July 2018, the 10 draft principles were categorized under three umbrella terms: stewardship, quality and continuous improvement. In the recently published finalized version, those terms were replaced with ethical governance, conscious design and learning culture. The ten finalized set of principles also contains simpler language and more emphasis on the creation and collection of data and the development of data leaders versus what was in the draft:

  • Ethical Governance
    • Uphold Ethics: Monitor and assess the implications of federal data practices for the public. Design checks and balances to protect and serve the public good.
    • Exercise Responsibility: Practice effective data stewardship and governance. Employ sound data security practices, protect individual privacy, maintain promised confidentiality, and ensure appropriate access and use.
    • Promote Transparency: Articulate the purposes and uses of federal data to engender public trust. Comprehensively document processes and products to inform data providers and users.
  • Conscious Design
    • Ensure Relevance: Protect the quality and integrity of the data. Validate that data are appropriate, accurate, objective, accessible, useful, understandable, and timely.
    • Harness Existing Data: Identify data needs to inform priority research and policy questions; reuse data if possible and acquire additional data if needed.
    • Anticipate Future Uses: Create data thoughtfully, considering fitness for use by others; plan for reuse and build in interoperability from the start.
    • Demonstrate Responsiveness: Improve data collection, analysis, and dissemination with ongoing input from users and stakeholders. The feedback process is cyclical; establish a baseline, gain support, collaborate, and refine continuously.
  • Learning Culture
    • Invest in Learning: Promote a culture of continuous and collaborative learning with and about data through ongoing investment in data infrastructure and human resources.
    • Develop Data Leaders: Cultivate data leadership at all levels of the federal workforce by investing in training and development about the value of data for mission, service, and the public good.
    • Practice Accountability: Assign responsibility, audit data practices, document and learn from results, and make needed changes.

Meanwhile, the purpose of the practices portion of the strategy is to help set actionable goals for federal agencies in a 5-10 year time frame. The draft principles are centered on five primary objectives, each with multiple sample practices that touch on the six stages within data’s lifecycle: creation/acquisition/collection, processing, access, use, dissemination, and storage and disposition.

*A complete list of the 47 draft practices can be found here.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the draft practices no later than November 16, 2018.