European Commission presented a package of measures in April 2018 to improve
the availability of data in the EU. In addition to the revision of Directive
2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information (PSI Directive), the
package also includes a Recommendation on access to and preservation of scientific
information, a Communication from the Commission ‘Towards a common European data
space", and guidance on sharing private sector data in the European data
economy as supporting documentation for this communication. The value of the
European data economy in 2016 was €300 billion. Through proper legislative and policy
guidance, this value could increase to €739 billion by 2020, reaching 4% of EU
aim of the PSI Directive is to ensure that public sector data, which is already
publicly available under national regulations, can also be re-used for
aim of the Commission’s revision is to extend the scope of the Directive and
facilitate the re-use of public sector data. The Commission is of the opinion
that the availability of high value data from publicly funded services that is
free of charge is a key factor in accelerating European innovation in highly
competitive areas which rely on access to large amounts of high-quality data,
such as artificial intelligence. In addition, SMEs and start-ups could benefit by
new markets opening up to them for the provision of data-based products and services.
main revisions to the Directive are as follows:
Data in the utilities and transport sectors
Directive is now to apply not only to public authorities, but also to public
undertakings in the transport and utilities sectors. Public undertakings must
follow the same principles as public bodies. The intention behind extending the
Directive to include public undertakings is to extend the scope of the
Directive, rather than extending the obligation to provide data.
Access to data
sector data, including data from public undertakings that is accessible under
national laws, is to be made available digitally and free of charge. Access
should be free; however, the recovery of marginal costs is permitted. Public sector
bodies that need to generate revenue are exempt from this principle. They are
allowed to charge a reasonable fee for their data.
data, such as weather or traffic data, should be made available by public
bodies in real time via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
High value datasets
value datasets, that is, data whose re-use is associated with significant
benefits for society, the environment or the economy, are to be made available
free of charge via APIs and, where relevant, as a bulk download. A link of
categories of high value datasets is found in the Annex of the proposed
Directive and includes statistics.
Publicly-funded research data
States should support an open access policy when it comes to publicly funded
research data, that is, establish a policy of free access to this data.
Publicly funded research data should be made available for both commercial and
non-commercial re-use, provided that it has already been made publicly
available by researchers, research organisations or research funding organisations
through an institutional or subject-based repository. However, legitimate commercial
interests and intellectual property rights should continue to be taken into
Possible relevance to social security
rules on high value datasets, in particular the statistics category, could be
relevant to social insurance. Recital 58 of the compromise text states that
demographic and economic indicators could be included in this category. This
could possibly also include the statistical datasets of the umbrella associations
of Germany’s social insurance system and their members. The Commission is
empowered to adopt implementing acts stipulating specific high value datasets
for the categories listed.
regulations for the re-use of research data could also be of interest to the
research institutes of the various insurance branches. ‘Research data’ is
defined in the proposed Directive as ‘documents in a digital form, other than
scientific publications, which are collected or produced in the course of
scientific research activities and are used as evidence in the research
process, or are commonly accepted in the research community as necessary to
validate research findings and results.’
Agreement in European Parliament and Council
January, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposed revision of the Directive on the re-use of public sector
information. The Directive still has to be formally adopted by both legislative
Member States then have two years to transpose the Directive into national law.