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Obama's new open-data policy aims to boost access to federal data for entrepreneurs, researchers

Entrepreneurs and researchers will now have greater access to information generated and stored by the federal government thanks to an executive order recently issued by President Obama. In the above video, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel explain the importance of the new open-data policy and how it will promote innovation and economic growth while increasing government transparency and efficiency.

In addition to the release of the Open Data Policy, the White House announced several complementary actions, including:

  • A new Data.Gov. In the months ahead,, the powerful central hub for open government data, will launch new services that include improved visualization, mapping tools, better context to help locate and understand these data, and robust Application Programming Interface (API) access for developers.
  • New open source tools to make data more open and accessible. The U.S. Chief Information Officer and the U.S. Chief Technology Officer are releasing free, open source tools on Github, a site that allows communities of developers to collaboratively develop solutions. This effort, known as Project Open Data, can accelerate the adoption of open data practices by providing plug-and-play tools and best practices to help agencies improve the management and release of open data. For example, one tool released today automatically converts simple spreadsheets and databases into APIs for easier consumption by developers. Anyone, from government agencies to private citizens to local governments and for-profit companies, can freely use and adapt these tools starting immediately.

The open-data policy, and its implications for the medical research community and health-care startups, will likely be a popular topic of discussion among attendees at the Big Data in Biomedicine conference being held at Stanford next week.

Previously: Stanford computer scientist shows stem cell researchers the power of big data, Atul Butte discusses why big data is a big deal in biomedicine, Stanford and Oxford team up for conference on “big data’s” role in biomedicine and Mathematical technique used to identify bladder cancer marker

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