Chapter III – Conditions for re-use (Art. 5-10)
Art. 5 Open Data Directive - Available formats arrow_right_alt
- 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.
Art. 6 Open Data Directive - Principles governing charging arrow_right_alt
- The re-use of documents shall be free of charge.
However, the recovery of the marginal costs incurred for the reproduction, provision and dissemination of documents as well as for anonymisation of personal data and measures taken to protect commercially confidential information may be allowed.
- By way of exception, paragraph 1 shall not apply to the following:
- public sector bodies that are required to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of their costs relating to the performance of their public tasks;
- libraries, including university libraries, museums and archives;
- public undertakings.
- Member States shall publish online a list of the public sector bodies referred to in point (a) of paragraph 2.
- In the cases referred to in points (a) and (c) of paragraph 2, the total charges shall be calculated in accordance with objective, transparent and verifiable criteria. Such criteria shall be laid down by Member States.
The total income from supplying and allowing the re-use of documents over the appropriate accounting period shall not exceed the cost of their collection, production, reproduction, dissemination and data storage, together with a reasonable return on investment, and — where applicable — the anonymisation of personal data and measures taken to protect commercially confidential information.
Charges shall be calculated in accordance with the applicable accounting principles.
- Where charges are made by the public sector bodies referred to in point (b) of paragraph 2, the total income from supplying and allowing the re-use of documents over the appropriate accounting period shall not exceed the cost of collection, production, reproduction, dissemination, data storage, preservation and rights clearance and, where applicable, the anonymisation of personal data and measures taken to protect commercially confidential information, together with a reasonable return on investment.
Charges shall be calculated in accordance with the accounting principles applicable to the public sector bodies involved.
- The re-use of the following shall be free of charge for the user:
- subject to Article 14(3), (4) and (5), the high-value datasets, as listed in accordance with paragraph 1 of that Article;
- research data referred to in point (c) of Article 1(1).
Charges for the re-use of documents constitute an important market entry barrier for start-ups and SMEs. Documents should therefore be made available for re-use free of charge and, where charges are necessary, they should in principle be limited to the marginal costs. Where public sector bodies carry out a particularly extensive search for requested information or extremely costly modifications of the format of requested information, either voluntarily or as required under national law, marginal costs may cover the costs associated with such activities. In exceptional cases, the necessity of not hindering the normal running of public sector bodies that are required to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of their costs relating to the performance of their public tasks should be taken into consideration. This also applies where a public sector body has made data available as open data but is obliged to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of their costs relating to the performance of other public tasks. The role of public undertakings in a competitive economic environment should also be acknowledged. In such cases, public sector bodies and public undertakings should therefore be able to charge above marginal costs. Those charges should be set according to objective, transparent and verifiable criteria and the total income from supplying and allowing re-use of documents should not exceed the cost of collection and production, including purchasing from third parties, reproduction, maintenance, storage and dissemination, together with a reasonable return on investment. Where applicable, it should also be possible to include in the eligible cost the costs of anonymisation of personal data and costs of measures taken to protect the confidentiality of data. Member States may require public sector bodies and public undertakings to disclose those costs. The requirement to generate revenue to cover a substantial part of the public sector bodies’ costs relating to the performance of their public tasks or the scope of the services of general interest entrusted with public undertakings does not have to be a legal requirement and may stem, for example, from administrative practices in Member States. Such a requirement should be regularly reviewed by the Member States.
The return on investment can be understood as a percentage, in addition to marginal costs, allowing for the recovery of the cost of capital and the inclusion of a real rate of return. As the cost of capital is closely linked to credit institutions’ interest rates, which are themselves based on the fixed rate of the European Central Bank (ECB) on main refinancing operations, the reasonable return on investment should not be more than 5 % above the ECB’s fixed interest rate.
Libraries, including university libraries, museums and archives should be able to charge above marginal costs in order not to hinder their normal running. In the case of such public sector bodies, the total income from supplying and allowing re-use of documents over the appropriate accounting period should not exceed the cost of collection, production, reproduction, dissemination, preservation and rights clearance, together with a reasonable return on investment. Where applicable, the costs of anonymisation of personal data or of commercially sensitive information should also be included in the eligible cost. For the purpose of libraries, including university libraries, museums and archives, and bearing in mind their particularities, the prices charged by the private sector for the re-use of identical or similar documents could be considered when calculating a reasonable return on investment.
The upper limits for charges set in this Directive are without prejudice to the right of Member States to apply lower charges or no charges at all.
Member States should lay down the criteria for charging above marginal costs. For example, they should be able to lay down such criteria in national rules or to designate an appropriate body or appropriate bodies, other than the public sector body itself, competent to lay down such criteria. That body should be organised in accordance with the constitutional and legal systems of the Member States. It could be an existing body with budgetary executive powers and under political responsibility.
Art. 7 Open Data Directive - Transparency arrow_right_alt
- In the case of standard charges for the re-use of documents, any applicable conditions and the actual amount of those charges, including the calculation basis for such charges, shall be pre-established and published, through electronic means where possible and appropriate.
- In the case of charges for the re-use other than those referred to in paragraph 1, the factors that are taken into account in the calculation of those charges shall be indicated at the outset. Upon request, the holder of the documents in question shall also indicate the way in which such charges have been calculated in relation to a specific re-use request.
- Public sector bodies shall ensure that applicants for re-use of documents are informed of available means of redress relating to decisions or practices affecting them.
Ensuring that the conditions for re-use of public sector documents are clear and publicly available is a pre-condition for the development of a Union-wide information market. Therefore, all applicable conditions for the re-use of documents should be made clear to the potential re-users. Member States should encourage the creation of indices accessible on line, where appropriate, of available documents so as to promote and facilitate requests for re-use. Applicants for re-use of documents held by entities other than public undertakings, educational establishments, research performing organisations and research funding organisations should be informed of available means of redress relating to decisions or practices affecting them. This will be particularly important for start-ups and SMEs, which may not be familiar with interactions with public sector bodies from other Member States and corresponding means of redress.
The means of redress should include the possibility of review by an impartial review body. That body could be an already existing national authority, such as the national competition authority, the supervisory authority established in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2016/679, the national access to documents authority or a national judicial authority. That body should be organised in accordance with the constitutional and legal systems of Member States. Recourse to that body should not pre-empt any means of redress otherwise available to applicants for re-use. It should however be distinct from the Member State mechanism laying down the criteria for charging above marginal costs. The means of redress should include the possibility of review of negative decisions but also of decisions which, although permitting re-use, could still affect applicants on other grounds, in particular by the charging rules applied. The review process should be swift, in accordance with the needs of a rapidly changing market.
Making public all generally available documents held by the public sector — concerning not only the political process but also the legal and administrative process — is a fundamental instrument for extending the right to knowledge, which is a basic principle of democracy. That objective is applicable to institutions at every level, be it local, national or international.
Art. 8 Open Data Directive - Standard licences arrow_right_alt
- The re-use of documents shall not be subject to conditions, unless such conditions are objective, proportionate, non-discriminatory and justified on grounds of a public interest objective.
When re-use is subject to conditions, those conditions shall not unnecessarily restrict possibilities for re-use and shall not be used to restrict competition.
- In Member States where licences are used, Member States shall ensure that standard licences for the re-use of public sector documents, which can be adapted to meet particular licence applications, are available in digital format and can be processed electronically. Member States shall encourage the use of such standard licences.
The re-use of documents should not be subject to conditions. However, in some cases justified by a public interest objective, a licence may be issued imposing conditions on the re-use by the licensee dealing with issues such as liability, the protection of personal data, the proper use of documents, guaranteeing non-alteration and the acknowledgement of source. If public sector bodies license documents for re-use, the licence conditions should be objective, proportionate and non-discriminatory. Standard licences that are available online may also play an important role in this respect. Therefore Member States should provide for the availability of standard licences. Any licences for the re-use of public sector information should, in any event, place as few restrictions on re-use as possible, for example limiting restrictions to an indication of source. Open licences in the form of standardised public licences available online which allow data and content to be freely accessed, used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose, and which rely on open data formats, should play an important role in this respect. Therefore, Member States should encourage the use of open licences that should eventually become common practice across the Union. Without prejudice to liability requirements laid down in Union or national law where a public sector body or a public undertaking makes documents available for re-use without any other conditions or restrictions, that public sector body or public undertaking may be allowed to waive all liability with regards to the documents made available for re-use.
If the competent authority decides no longer to make available certain documents for re-use, or to cease updating those documents, it should make those decisions publicly known, at the earliest opportunity, by electronic means where possible.
Member States should in particular ensure that re-use of documents of public undertakings does not lead to market distortion and that fair competition is not undermined.
Public sector bodies should comply with Union and national competition rules when establishing the principles for re-use of documents avoiding as far as possible exclusive agreements between themselves and private partners. However, in order to provide a service of general economic interest, an exclusive right to re-use specific public sector documents may sometimes be necessary. This may be the case if no commercial publisher would publish the information without such an exclusive right. In this regard, it is appropriate to take into account public service contracts that are excluded from the scope of Directive 2014/24/EU pursuant to Article 11 of that Directive and innovation partnerships as referred to in Article 31 of Directive 2014/24/EU.
There are numerous cooperation arrangements between libraries, including university libraries, museums, archives and private partners, which involve digitisation of cultural resources granting exclusive rights to private partners. Practice has shown that such public-private partnerships can facilitate worthwhile use of cultural collections and at the same time accelerate access to the cultural heritage for members of the public. It is therefore appropriate to take into account current divergences between Member States with regard to digitisation of cultural resources, by a specific set of rules pertaining to agreements on digitisation of such resources. Where an exclusive right relates to digitisation of cultural resources, a certain period of exclusivity might be necessary in order to give the private partner the possibility to recoup its investment. That period should, however, be limited to as short a time as possible in order to comply with the principle that public domain material should stay in the public domain once it is digitised. The period of an exclusive right to digitise cultural resources should in general not exceed 10 years. Any period of exclusivity longer than 10 years should be subject to review, taking into account technological, financial and administrative changes in the environment since the arrangement was entered into. In addition, any public private partnership for the digitisation of cultural resources should grant the partner cultural institution full rights with respect to the post-termination use of digitised cultural resources.
Art. 9 Open Data Directive - Practical arrangements arrow_right_alt
- Member States shall make practical arrangements facilitating the search for documents available for re-use, such as asset lists of main documents with relevant metadata, accessible where possible and appropriate online and in machine-readable format, and portal sites that are linked to the asset lists. Where possible, Member States shall facilitate the cross-linguistic search for documents, in particular by enabling metadata aggregation at Union level.
Member States shall also encourage public sector bodies to make practical arrangements facilitating the preservation of documents available for re-use.
- Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, continue efforts to simplify access to datasets, in particular by providing a single point of access and by progressively making available suitable datasets held by public sector bodies with regard to the documents to which this Directive applies, as well as to data held by Union institutions, in formats that are accessible, readily findable and re-usable by electronic means.
Tools that help potential re-users to find documents available for re-use and the conditions for re-use can facilitate considerably the cross-border use of public sector documents. Member States should therefore ensure that practical arrangements are in place that help re-users in their search for documents available for re-use. Examples of such practical arrangements are assets lists, which should preferably be accessible online, of main documents (documents that are extensively re-used or that have the potential to be extensively re-used), and portal sites that are linked to decentralised assets lists. Member States should also facilitate the long-term availability for re-use of public sector information, in accordance with the applicable preservation policies.
The Commission should facilitate the cooperation among Member States and support the design, testing, implementation and deployment of interoperable electronic interfaces that enable more efficient and secure public services.
Art. 10 Open Data Directive - Research data arrow_right_alt
- Member States shall support the availability of research data by adopting national policies and relevant actions aiming at making publicly funded research data openly available (‘open access policies’), following the principle of ‘open by default’ and compatible with the FAIR principles. In that context, concerns relating to intellectual property rights, personal data protection and confidentiality, security and legitimate commercial interests, shall be taken into account in accordance with the principle of ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. Those open access policies shall be addressed to research performing organisations and research funding organisations.
- Without prejudice to point (c) of Article 1(2), research data shall be re-usable for commercial or non-commercial purposes in accordance with Chapters III and IV, insofar as they are publicly funded and researchers, research performing organisations or research funding organisations have already made them publicly available through an institutional or subject-based repository. In that context, legitimate commercial interests, knowledge transfer activities and pre-existing intellectual property rights shall be taken into account.
The volume of research data generated is growing exponentially and has potential for re-use beyond the scientific community. In order to be able to address mounting societal challenges efficiently and in a holistic manner, it has become crucial and urgent to be able to access, blend and re-use data from different sources, as well as across sectors and disciplines. Research data includes statistics, results of experiments, measurements, observations resulting from fieldwork, survey results, interview recordings and images. It also includes meta-data, specifications and other digital objects. Research data is different from scientific articles reporting and commenting on findings resulting from their scientific research. For many years, the open availability and re-usability of scientific research data stemming from public funding has been subject to specific policy initiatives. Open access is understood as the practice of providing online access to research outputs free of charge for the end user and without restrictions on use and re-use beyond the possibility to require acknowledgement of authorship. Open access policies aim in particular to provide researchers and the public at large with access to research data as early as possible in the dissemination process and to facilitate its use and re-use. Open access helps enhance quality, reduce the need for unnecessary duplication of research, speed up scientific progress, combat scientific fraud, and it can overall favour economic growth and innovation. Beside open access, commendable efforts are being made to ensure that data management planning becomes a standard scientific practice and to support the dissemination of research data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (the FAIR principle).
For the reasons explained above, it is appropriate to set an obligation on Member States to adopt open access policies with respect to publicly funded research data and ensure that such policies are implemented by all research performing organisations and research funding organisations. Research performing organisations and research funding organisations could also be organised as public sector bodies or public undertakings. This Directive applies to such hybrid organisations only in their capacity as research performing organisations and to their research data. Open access policies typically allow for a range of exceptions from making scientific research results openly available. The Commission Recommendation of 25 April 2018 on access to and preservation of scientific information describes, among other things, relevant elements of open access policies. Additionally, the conditions, under which certain research data can be re-used, should be improved. For that reason, certain obligations stemming from this Directive should be extended to research data resulting from scientific research activities subsidised by public funding or co-funded by public and private-sector entities. Under the national open access policies, publicly funded research data should be made open as the default option. However, in this context, concerns in relation to privacy, protection of personal data, confidentiality, national security, legitimate commercial interests, such as trade secrets, and to intellectual property rights of third parties should be duly taken into account, according to the principle ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’. Moreover, research data which are excluded from access on grounds of national security, defence or public security should not be covered by this Directive. In order to avoid any administrative burden, obligations stemming from this Directive should apply only to such research data that have already been made publicly available by researchers, research performing organisations or research funding organisations through an institutional or subject-based repository and should not impose extra costs for the retrieval of the datasets or require additional curation of data. Member States may extend the application of this Directive to research data made publicly available through other data infrastructures than repositories, through open access publications, as an attached file to an article, a data paper or a paper in a data journal. Documents other than research data should continue to be exempt from the scope of this Directive.
This Directive is without prejudice to Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council (1). It provides for conditions within which public sector bodies can exercise their intellectual property rights in the internal information market when allowing re-use of documents. Where public sector bodies are holders of the right provided for in Article 7(1) of Directive 96/9/EC, they should not exercise that right in order to prevent re-use or to restrict the re-use of existing documents beyond the limits provided for in this Directive.
(1) Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society (OJ L 167, 22.6.2001, p. 10).