Democratizing Data: A Search and Discovery Platform for Public Data Assets

Show how public data are being used in science so that the government can make more transparent public investments. By using automated NLP approaches we enable government agencies and researchers to quickly find the information they need.

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Promotes better use of data

The Democratizing Data project is inspired by the 2018 Foundations for Evidence-based Policymaking Act. Its goal is to facilitate the collaboration between federal agencies and the public for the purpose of understanding how government data assets are used. The intent is to engage the public by providing information about the usage of the assets and expanding the use of the public data assets. As an initial step in meeting that goal, the Search and Discovery Platform describes how datasets identified by federal agencies have been used in scientific research. It uses machine learning algorithms to search over 90 million documents and find how datasets are cited, in what publications, and what topics they are used to study.

USDA Webinar

Watch the video and access slides from the March 28, 2023 webinar.

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Our tools make it possible

The platform is designed to provide users with multiple access modalities to answer usage questions – a dashboard, Jupyter notebooks, and an API.


Dashboards mainly illustrate how data are being used for research, the primary topics and researchers, and the affiliated institutions.

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Jupyter Notebooks

The Jupyter Notebooks are structured to enable researchers to access a database that contains the metadata and perform their own queries.

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Application Programming Interface (API)

For sophisticated users, the information can be accessed through an API.

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User feedback on the tools and the usage measures is very important. Keep checking this site for current and future workshop information, as well other events.


12:00 pm-1:00 pm EST | Virtual

USDA Webinar

An online USDA/ ERS & NASS Democratizing Data Joint Info Session.

Update: This webinar took place on March 28, 2023. Watch the video and access slides on the event page.

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Understanding consumer buying choices

Using the retail scanner data made available by the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Chen Zhen constructed panel price indexes provides valuable insights how changes in food prices can affect consumer behavior and ultimately impact public health outcomes.

Learn more by listening to the Show Us the Data Podcast, Episode 3.

Insights into experiences of Black women in STEM fields

Dr. Tiffany Oliver's work with the Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) provides important insights into the experiences of Black women in STEM fields and their journey to earning a PhD.

Learn more by listening to the Show Us the Data Podcast, Episode 4.

A New Collaborative Search & Discovery Platform

A data ecosystem overview presented at the COPAFS Quarterly meeting showcasing four agency use cases and presented by: Peggy Carr, NCES, Kevin Barnes, NASS, Emilda Rivers, NCSES, and Spiro Stefanou, ERS. The panel was moderated by Nancy Potok, former Chief Statistician of the US.

Learn more by viewing the COPAFS Search and Discovery Platform slide deck.