European Parliament adopts open data strategy
On Thursday, the European Parliament approved new rules, introduced by the European Commission, for re-using public sector information. These changes will require that administrative data is published according to open data principles. When implemented, all documents made accessible by public organisations will be re-usable for any purpose, unless they are protected by third party copyright.
EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes, however, was unable to completely get her way when it came to providing most of the data for free. Instead, in most cases, agencies will be able to charge no more than the amount necessary to reproduce, provide, and disseminate the information. In some cases, purchasers will still have to pay other costs, including any interest that may apply. In any case, public sector bodies must be clear from the outset about potential fees and who has to pay them.
A regulatory authority will ensure that public organisations provide any data in this category in "machine-readable and open formats". The Directive's scope has also been expanded to include libraries, museums and archives. At the same time, new rules have been introduced for digitisation agreements in order to support public-private partnerships while protecting the interests of cultural institutions and the general public. Member states have 24 months to implement the new rules in their national laws.
Kroes praised the decision for unlocking "the full potential of the open data goldmine". The Dutch vice-president of the Commission believes the new rules could inspire economic growth of as much as 40 billion euros per year and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. She is particularly pleased that the initiative from Brussels made its way through the committees fairly quickly, in just 16 months, and announced that the Commission now plans to develop a series of implementation guidelines for aspects such as licensing, datasets and charging arrangements.
(Stefan Krempl / sno)