US Federal Data Policy: An Update on The Federal Data Strategy and The Evidence Act

Main Article Content

Amy O’Hara


The US federal data landscape is evolving through the implementation of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 and the 2020 Action Plan of the Federal Data Strategy (FDS). The Act and Plan seek better data governance; making data accessible and useful for the American public, businesses, and researchers; and improving how the government uses data to make decisions and for program oversight.

Objectives and Approach
This paper provides a brief overview of the Evidence Act, describing what has already been implemented and what is forthcoming and how it involves population data linkages. We will also describe the FDS, using the Five Safes framework to categorize its priorities for federal agencies.

We explain how the Evidence Act established new roles for Chief Data, Evaluation, and Statistical Officials. We describe efforts to set learning agendas and data inventories in agencies. We point to some successes, such as new repositories for tools and metadata, and progress on forming an advisory committee to explore how the US could build a National Secure Data Service. We tie the FDS action plan to these Evidence Act efforts, showing how agencies and communities of practice are expected to develop over time. We focus on the ten actions that involve shared solutions across government that focus on ethics, privacy, tools and standards.

Conclusion / Implications
This paper shares updates on US federal data policy that started with the 2016 Commission for Evidence-based Policymaking, up through the current administration’s efforts to leverage data as a strategic asset. We highlight accomplishments, opportunities, and challenges for federal policy, noting how political will and funding ultimately affect progress.

Article Details

How to Cite
O’Hara, A. (2020) “US Federal Data Policy: An Update on The Federal Data Strategy and The Evidence Act”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1640.