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National Science Foundation

Digital Strategy and Open Data at NSF

FEDERAL DIGITAL STRATEGY OVERVIEW

On May 23, 2012, President Obama released a Memorandum calling for all government agencies to "identify ways to use innovative technologies to streamline their delivery of services to lower costs, decrease service delivery times, and improve the customer experience." In response to this directive, the Federal CIO released a strategy entitled "Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People," which aims to deliver the general public and our government workforce access to government information and services on demand and on any device. The Digital Strategy focuses agency efforts in three broad areas: building information-centric systems and tools; utilizing shared platforms to improve information dissemination across government; and delivering customer-centric, highly effective services. Ultimately, the Digital Strategy aims to enable more efficient and coordinated delivery of digital information across the federal space.

The Digital Government Strategy has three main goals:

  • Enable the American people and an increasingly mobile workforce to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
  • Ensure that as the government adjusts to this new digital world, we seize the opportunity to procure and manage devices, applications, and data in smart, secure and affordable ways.
  • Unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.

NSF reports its progress on Digital Strategy activities in its Digital Strategy Report, which is available in HTML, XML and JSON.

OPEN DATA

Pursuant to the May 9, 2013 Open Data Memorandum (OMB Memorandum M-13-13) and Project Open Data, NSF maintains an enterprise data inventory of all data resources across the agency and periodically updates public data listings.

In alignment with the goals described in the memorandum, NSF aims to connect developers and the public with agency data and resources, so that NSF information can adapt to new purposes in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and research community.

NSF's Developer Resources provides access to featured NSF data and web services. The page is updated as NSF makes new developer tools and data resources available.

In addition to NSF's resources for developers, the Foundation maintains a public data listing, where each data set is described using a metadata profile that corresponds to the Data.gov common core standard. NSF's public data listing is periodically updated to ensure public accessibility.

NSF's default position is to ensure data and information is available and accessible in an open machine-readable format. NSF will continue to provide opportunities for its stakeholders and the public to provide input on which datasets are high-value data collections. NSF will then prioritize the conversion to open formats, based on stakeholder and public interest.

OPEN DATA INVENTORY APPROACH

As described in NSF's Open Data Inventory, summarized below, NSF is committed to continually expanding, enriching, and opening existing agency data with the following goals:

  • Expand -- publish additional data assets in the inventory:
  • Enrich -- improve the discoverability, management, and reusability of agency data assets through metadata.
  • Open -- provide machine-readable and publically accessible agency data assets.

QUARTERLY MILESTONES

The following quarterly milestones describe NSF's schedule for evaluating the enterprise data inventory and public data listings.

  • Initial Enterprise Data Inventory
    • Description: Publish Updated Inventories
    • Completed Date: November 30, 2013
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Expands through creation of new inventory.
  • Initial Public Data Inventory
    • Description: Completion of initial (baseline) Public Data Inventory.
    • Completed Date: November 30, 2013.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Expands and opens through creation of new inventory.
  • Full Assessment of Agency Data Sources
    • Description: Conduct full review of agency data sources for potential inclusion in updated Enterprise Data Inventory and Public Data Inventory.
    • Completed Date: February 28, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Expands by identifying additional data assets for inventory inclusion.
  • Improve Metadata
    • Description: Review existing datasets and related metadata and develop recommendations for adding additional metadata to improve access to content.
    • Completed Date: February 28, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Enriches by identifying need for additional/improved metadata pertaining to data assets.
  • Increase Openness of Priority Data Assets
    • Description: Develop agency plan for increasing open access to existing agency datasets, focusing on high value datasets (i.e., datasets most relevant to NSF's mission of advancing scientific research).
    • Completed Date: February 28, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Opens by increasing open access to agency data assets.
  • Expand Inventories per Assessment Results
    • Description: Ensure newly identified agency data sources are added to updated Enterprise Data Inventory and Public Data Inventory.
    • Completed Date: May 31, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Expands by adding additional data assets to inventories.
  • Update Inventory Metadata
    • Description: Update metadata in Enterprise Data Inventory and Public Data Inventory to reflect recommendations resulting from metadata review.
    • Completed Date: May 31, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Enriches by improving metadata pertaining to data assets.
  • Publish Updated Inventories
    • Description: Publish updated Enterprise Data Inventory and Public Data Inventory to reflect the results of expansion, enrichment, and openness efforts described above.
    • Completed Date: August 30, 2014.
    • Description of how milestone expands/enriches/opens inventory: Expands, Enriches, and Opens inventories by delivering fully updated inventories.

NSF's public data inventory is available in JSON format. NSF's datasets are also linked from Data.gov and from the agency's Open Government page.

We Welcome Your Feedback!

NSF welcomes your input and feedback on our implementation of federal digital strategy and open data requirements. Contact us to share your thoughts on NSF's open data activities.

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