Engage: Getting on with Government 2.0
Appendix E: The OECD principles for public sector information
In April 2008 the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Council adopted the Recommendation of the OECD Council for enhanced access and more effective use of public sector information.345 (Australia is a member of the OECD and was a participant in and a signatory to the Recommendation.) It recommends that member countries ‘in establishing or reviewing their policies regarding access and use of public sector information…take due account of and implement the following principles, which provide a general framework for the wider and more effective use of public sector information and content and the generation of new uses from it.’
The thirteen OECD principles are:346
- Openness. Maximising the availability of public sector information for use and reuse based upon presumption of openness as the default rule to facilitate access and reuse. Developing a regime of access principles or assuming openness in public sector information as a default rule wherever possible no matter what the model of funding is for the development and maintenance of the information. Defining grounds of refusal or limitations, such as for protection of national security interests, personal privacy, preservation of private interests for example where protected by copyright, or the application of national access legislation and rules.
- Access and transparent conditions for reuse. Encouraging broad non-discriminatory competitive access and conditions for reuse of public sector information, eliminating exclusive arrangements, and removing unnecessary restrictions on the ways in which it can be accessed, used, reused, combined or shared, so that in principle all accessible information would be open to reuse by all. Improving access to information over the Internet and in electronic form. Making available and developing automated online licensing systems covering reuse in those cases where licensing is applied, taking into account the copyright principle below.
- Asset lists. Strengthening awareness of what public sector information is available for access and reuse. This could take the form of information asset lists and inventories, preferably published online, as well as clear presentation of conditions to access and reuse at access points to the information.
- Quality. Ensuring methodical data collection and curation practices to enhance quality and reliability including through cooperation of various government bodies involved in the creation, collection, processing, storing and distribution of public sector information.
- Integrity. Maximising the integrity and availability of information through the use of best practices in information management. Developing and implementing appropriate safeguards to protect information from unauthorised modification or from intentional or unintentional denial of authorised access to information.
- New technologies and long-term preservation. Improving interoperable archiving, search and retrieval technologies and related research including research on improving access and availability of public sector information in multiple languages, and ensuring development of the necessary related skills. Addressing technological obsolescence and challenges of long term preservation and access. Finding new ways for the digitisation of existing public sector information and content, the development of born-digital public sector information products and data, and the implementation of cultural digitisation projects (public broadcasters, digital libraries, museums, etc.) where market mechanisms do not foster effective digitisation.
- Copyright. Intellectual property rights should be respected. There is a wide range of ways to deal with copyrights on public sector information, ranging from governments or private entities holding copyrights, to public sector information being copyright-free. Exercising copyright in ways that facilitate reuse (including waiving copyright and creating mechanisms that facilitate waiving of copyright where copyright owners are willing and able to do so, and developing mechanisms to deal with orphan works), and where copyright holders are in agreement, developing simple mechanisms to encourage wider access and use (including simple and effective licensing arrangements), and encouraging institutions and government agencies that fund works from outside sources to find ways to make these works widely accessible to the public.
- Pricing. When public sector information is not provided free of charge, pricing public sector information transparently and consistently within and, as far as possible, across different public sector organisations so that it facilitates access and reuse and ensures competition. Where possible, costs charged to any user should not exceed marginal costs of maintenance and distribution, and in special cases extra costs for example of digitisation. Basing any higher pricing on clearly expressed policy grounds.
- Competition. Ensuring that pricing strategies take into account considerations of unfair competition in situations where both public and business users provide value added services. Pursuing competitive neutrality, equality and timeliness of access where there is potential for cross-subsidisation from other government monopoly activities or reduced charges on government activities. Requiring public bodies to treat their own downstream/value-added activities on the same basis as their competitors for comparable purposes, including pricing. Particular attention should be paid to single sources of information resources. Promoting non-exclusive arrangements for disseminating information so that public sector information is open to all possible users and re-user's on non-exclusive terms.
- Redress mechanisms: Providing appropriate transparent complaints and appeals processes.
- Public private partnerships. Facilitating public-private partnerships where appropriate and feasible in making public sector information available, for example by finding creative ways to finance the costs of digitisation, while increasing access and reuse rights of third parties.
- International access and use. Seeking greater consistency in access regimes and administration to facilitate cross-border use and implementing other measures to improve cross-border interoperability, including in situations where there have been restrictions on non-public users. Supporting international cooperation and coordination for commercial reuse and non-commercial use. Avoiding fragmentation and promote greater interoperability and facilitate sharing and comparisons of national and international datasets. Striving for interoperability and compatible and widely used common formats.
- Best practices. Encouraging the wide sharing of best practices and exchange of information on enhanced implementation, educating users and re-user's, building institutional capacity and practical measures for promoting reuse, cost and pricing models, copyright handling, monitoring performance and compliance, and their wider impacts on innovation, entrepreneurship, economic growth and social effects.
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- http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/0/27/40826024.pdf [ 295k] or http://tinyurl.com/59tafe [ 295k].
- Note the taskforce’s observation at s.5.5 that it considers that the principle of timeliness should be given greater prominence in this list.
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