President Donald Trump signed the OPEN Government Data Act into law Jan. 14, codifying Obama-era requirements that the federal government’s data be made open and machine readable, when otherwise not prohibited by law.

The bill was signed as part of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, which requires agencies to submit annual plans for addressing policy questions and was passed by both chambers of Congress last year.

“Today is a historic day for the open data movement. The Data Coalition applauds President Trump for signing into law the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. The government-wide law will transform the way the government collects, publishes, and uses non-sensitive public information,” said Sarah Joy Hays, acting executive director of the Data Coalition, which advocates for the publication of standardized government data.

“Title II, the OPEN Government Data Act, which our organization has been working on for over three and a half years, sets a presumption that all government information should be open data by default: machine-readable and freely-reusable. Our Coalition celebrates the congressional and executive branch allies, as well as the open data advocates, who made this possible.”

The policy for open government data was established by an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2013 but could have been subject to removal by a future executive order.

The OPEN Government Data Act ensures that the policy continues to be carried out as part of federal law.

Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.

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