European drive towards data openness

Hot on the heels of the UK White Paper mentioned in the previous post, the EU Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, has announced plans for a revision of an EU directive on the use of public data to open data up for re-use and exploitation.

The irreverent blog “The Register” summarises the plans including:

  • Making it a general rule that all documents made accessible by public sector bodies can be reused for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by third-party copyright.
  • Making it compulsory to provide data in commonly-used, machine-readable formats, to ensure data can be effectively re-used.

Now, while it is arguable as to whether research data fits the criteria for public data, this and the UK’s White Paper is indicative of a growing push towards data openness from governments. This may possibly stem from thirst for new economic exploitation of open information for much needed growth, rather than the high-minded principles of earlier Open Access directives, but the path is the same.

PS – Neelie Kroes has an interesting video online on the drive towards openness, of which this is part. Given her role, in some ways this can be seen as demonstrating the Commission’s position. This was delivered at the libraries LIBER 40th annual conference, Barcelona earlier this year.