Open Data Policy Tools & Resources - Sunlight Foundation

Interested in working on an open data policy in your community or exploring how other cities are incorporating open data principles? Browse The Sunlight Foundation’s key resources on basic open data policy best practices and strategies for implementation.

The Sunlight Foundation is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses civic technologies, open data, policy analysis, and journalism to make our government and politics more accountable and transparent to all.

➝  Checklist: Implementing Best-Practices

➝  Compare Policies Across Cities

➝  Tools for Open Data Community Engagement


What Data Should Be Public

1. Proactively release government information online
2. Reference and build on existing public accountability and access policies
3. Build on the values, goals and mission of the community and government
4. Create a public, comprehensive list of all information holdings
5. Specify methods of determining the prioritization of data release
6. Stipulate that provisions apply to contractors or quasi-governmental agencies
7. Appropriately safeguard sensitive information

How To Make Data Public

8. Mandate data formats for maximal technical access
9. Provide comprehensive and appropriate formats for varied uses
10. Remove restrictions for accessing information
11. Mandate data be explicitly license-free
12. Charge data-creating agencies with recommending an appropriate citation form
13. Require publishing metadata
14. Require publishing data creation processes
15. Mandate the use of unique identifiers
16. Require code sharing or publishing open source
17. Require digitization and distribution of archival materials
18. Create a central location devoted to data publication and policies
19. Publish bulk data
20. Create public APIs for accessing information
21. Optimize methods of data collection
22. Mandate ongoing data publication and updates
23. Create permanent, lasting access to data

How To Implement Policy

24. Create or appoint oversight authority
25. Create guidance or other binding regulations for implementation
26. Incorporate public perspectives into policy implementation
27. Set appropriately ambitious timelines for implementation
28. Create processes to ensure data quality
29. Ensure sufficient funding for implementation
30. Create or explore potential partnerships
31. Mandate future review for potential changes to this policy