Chapter III – Conditions for re-use (Art. 5-10)
Art. 5 Open Data Directive - Available formats
- Without prejudice to Chapter V, public sector bodies and public undertakings shall make their documents available in any pre-existing format or language and, where possible and appropriate, by electronic means, in formats that are open, machine-readable, accessible, findable and re-usable, together with their metadata. Both the format and the metadata shall, where possible, comply with formal open standards.
- Member States shall encourage public sector bodies and public undertakings to produce and make available documents falling within the scope of this Directive in accordance with the principle of ‘open by design and by default’.
- Paragraph 1 shall not imply an obligation for public sector bodies to create or adapt documents or provide extracts in order to comply with that paragraph where this would involve disproportionate effort, going beyond a simple operation.
- Public sector bodies shall not be required to continue the production and storage of a certain type of document with a view to the re-use of such documents by a private or public sector organisation.
- Public sector bodies shall make dynamic data available for re-use immediately after collection, via suitable APIs and, where relevant, as a bulk download.
- Where making dynamic data available for re-use immediately after collection, as referred to in paragraph 5, would exceed the financial and technical capacities of the public sector body, thereby imposing a disproportionate effort, those dynamic data shall be made available for re-use within a time frame or with temporary technical restrictions that do not unduly impair the exploitation of their economic and social potential.
- Paragraphs 1 to 6 shall apply to existing documents held by public undertakings which are available for re-use.
- The high-value datasets, as listed in accordance with Article 14(1) shall be made available for re-use in machine-readable format, via suitable APIs and, where relevant, as a bulk download.
In order to get access to the data opened for re-use by this Directive, it would be useful to ensure access to dynamic data through well-designed APIs. An API is a set of functions, procedures, definitions and protocols for machine-to-machine communication and the seamless exchange of data. APIs should be supported by clear technical documentation that is complete and available online. Where possible, open APIs should be used. Union or internationally recognised standard protocols should be applied and international standards for datasets should be used where applicable. APIs can have different levels of complexity and can mean a simple link to a database to retrieve specific datasets, a web interface, or more complex set-ups. There is general value in re-using and sharing data via a suitable use of APIs as this will help developers and start-ups to create new services and products. It is also a crucial ingredient of creating valuable ecosystems around data assets that are often unused. The set-up and use of API needs to be based on several principles: availability, stability, maintenance over lifecycle, uniformity of use and standards, user-friendliness as well as security. For dynamic data, meaning frequently updated data, often in real time, public sector bodies and public undertakings should make this available for re-use immediately after collection by ways of suitable APIs and, where relevant, as a bulk download, save for cases where this would impose a disproportionate effort. Assessment of the proportionality of the effort should take into account the size and operating budget of the public sector body or the public undertaking in question.
The possibilities for re-use can be improved by limiting the need to digitise paper-based documents or to process digital files to make them mutually compatible. Therefore, public sector bodies should make documents available in any pre-existing format or language, through electronic means where possible and appropriate. Public sector bodies should view requests for extracts from existing documents favourably when to grant such a request would involve only a simple operation. Public sector bodies should not, however, be obliged to provide an extract from a document or to modify the format of the requested information where this involves a disproportionate effort. To facilitate re-use, public sector bodies should make their own documents available in a format which, as far as possible and appropriate, is not dependent on the use of specific software. Where possible and appropriate, public sector bodies should take into account the possibilities for the re-use of documents by and for persons with disabilities by providing the information in an accessible format in accordance with the requirements of Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council (1).
(1) Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2016 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (OJ L 327, 2.12.2016, p. 1).
To facilitate re-use, public sector bodies should, where possible and appropriate, make documents, including those published on websites, available through an open and machine-readable format and together with their metadata, at the best level of precision and granularity, in a format that ensures interoperability, for example by processing them in a way consistent with the principles governing the compatibility and usability requirements for spatial information under Directive 2007/2/EC.