Europe Unveils Open Data Strategy, Hopes to See Economic Benefits

Molly Bernhart Walker | FierceGovernmentIT | December 14, 2011

The European Commission unveiled Dec. 12 an Open Data Strategy for Europe--a revision to its 2003 directive on the re-use of public sector information that adds legislative, deployment and funding elements. These actions build upon open government strategies in the United Kingdom and France, and position the European Union as the global leader in the re-use of public sector information, according to an E.U. statement.

E.U. member states have 18 months to implement the directive into their national legislation, according to a Dec. 12 memo.

In addition to the rules laid out in the 2003 directive, the Open Data Strategy says all documents accessible by the public sector can be reused for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, unless protected by a third party copyright. The directive also instructs member states to keep data request charges as low as possible--"in practice this means most data will be offered for free or virtually for free, unless duly justified."