The GovLab has hosted a series of Roundtables that brought together federal agencies with the businesses and other organizations that use their data, drawing on the work of the Open Data 500. The U.S. Open Data Action Plan, released by the White House on May 9, 2014, describes these Roundtables as a key part of meeting the commitment to “support innovators and improve open data based on feedback.” The Plan notes that “Specific, actionable feedback from these sessions [the Roundtables] and others has the potential to improve descriptions, formats, and accessibility of government data.”


The Open Data Roundtables bring together data providers in government and data users in business and the nonprofit sector to identify the kinds of datasets that have the greatest value, and to determine what is needed to make them as useful as possible. The Roundtables are designed to:

  • Prioritize the most important datasets in each agency for business and public use.
  • Improve each agency’s data and make it easier to find, access, and work with.
  • Connect businesses and organizations with government agency staff who manage the data they use, and set up a process for ongoing feedback.

The GovLab has published summaries of these Roundtables and their results to help establish a new way of planning, preparing, and implementing the release of open data at the federal level. The shift to demand-driven open data will help agencies prioritize their work on open data much more effectively, meet the needs of users more efficiently, and potentially release billions of dollars in economic value through new, targeted data release.


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