Open data and the reuse of public-sector information
Directive (EU) 2019/1024 on open data and the reuse of public-sector information
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It lays down the legal framework for the reuse* of public-sector information such as geographical, land registry, statistical or legal information held by public-sector bodies* or public undertakings*, and of publicly funded research data.
It aims to boost the socioeconomic potential of public-sector information, for example by making it more easily available for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, by increasing the supply of dynamic data* and datasets with a particularly high economic impact, and by promoting competition and transparency in the information market.
It is part of a package of measures designed to reinforce the European Union’s (EU) data economy, including the development of artificial intelligence.
Also referred to as the ‘open data directive’, it recasts Directive 2003/98/EC.
It repeals Directive 2003/98/EC and Directive 2013/37/EU from 17 July 2021.
The directive is based on the general principle that public and publicly funded data should be reusable for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
The directive promotes the use of open data (data presented in open formats* that individuals can use freely and share for any purpose). Public-sector bodies and public undertakings must make their documents available in any pre-existing format or language and, where appropriate, by electronic means in formats that are open, machine readable, accessible, findable and reusable, complete with their metadata.
Practical arrangements for reuse
Public-sector bodies must process requests for document reuse, through electronic means where appropriate, making them available within a reasonable time.
They must also make the necessary arrangements to facilitate the online search and discovery of the documents they keep.
EU Member States must also facilitate the effective reuse of documents, in particular by supplying information on the rights outlined in the directive and by offering assistance and guidance.
Dynamic and real-time data
Dynamic data must be made available for reuse immediately on collection via an application programming interface and, where relevant, as a bulk download.
Member States must adopt policies and take action to make publicly funded research data openly available, following the principle of ‘open by default’, and support the dissemination of research data that are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (the FAIR principle).
Concerns relating to intellectual property rights, personal data protection and confidentiality, security and legitimate commercial interests must be taken into account in accordance with the principle of ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’.
Publicly funded research data can be reused for commercial or non-commercial purposes in cases where they are already made publicly available via institutional or subject-based repositories.
Fair trading and non-discrimination
The reuse of documents is open to everyone in the market and any applicable reuse conditions should be non-discriminatory.
As a general rule, arrangements between public-sector bodies or public undertakings holding the documents and third parties cannot grant exclusive rights.
In narrowly defined cases where the directive allows for such arrangements, their validity is subject to regular review and special transparency requirements apply.
Documents whose reuse is associated with significant socioeconomic benefits should be made available under particularly friendly reuse conditions. The directive therefore obliged the European Commission to adopt a list of high-value datasets which should be made available free of charge, in machine-readable formats, through application programming interfaces and, where relevant, as bulk downloads. The datasets were selected from within six thematic categories set out in Annex I:
earth observation and environment;
companies and company ownership;
In addition, new thematic categories may be added by the Commission by way of a delegated act.
As a result, an implementing act, Regulation (EU) 2023/138, lays down a list of specific high-value datasets and the arrangements for their publication and reuse.
The reuse of documents should be free of charge. However, marginal costs incurred to reproduce and disseminate documents, anonymise personal data and protect commercially confidential information may be recovered.
By way of exception, cultural institutions, public undertakings and some public-sector bodies that fulfil the requirements set out in Article 6(2) may charge more in order to recover eligible costs.
The directive does not apply to:
documents for which third parties hold intellectual property rights;
documents to which access is excluded or restricted bya national access regime, or on the grounds of sensitive critical infrastructure protection;
documents whose supply falls outside the scope of the public task of a public-sector body or outside the scope of provision of services in the general interest of a public undertaking;
documents held by public undertakings that are related to activitiesdirectly exposed to competition and therefore not subject to procurement rules under Article 34 of Directive 2014/25/EU (see summary);
other documents referred to in Article 1(2) of the directive.
FROM WHEN DO THE RULES APPLY?
The directive had to be transposed into national law by 17 July 2021.
For further information, see:
Reuse. The use, by individuals or legal bodies, of documents held by public-sector bodies or public undertakings.
Public-sector body. The state, regional or local authorities, bodies governed by public law or associations formed by such authorities, or bodies governed by public law.
Public undertaking. Any undertaking over which public-sector bodies have a dominant influence through ownership, financial participation or the rules which govern it; these include those acting as public passenger road or rail transport operators, air carriers and EU shipowners fulfilling public-service obligations.
Dynamic data. Documents in a digital form, subject to frequent or real-time updates due to their volatility or rapid obsolescence; typically data generated by sensors.
Open format. A file format that is platform-independent and made available to the public without any restriction that impedes the reuse of documents.
Directive (EU) 2019/1024 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on open data and the reuse of public-sector information (recast) (OJ L 172, 26.6.2019, pp. 56–83).
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2023/138 of 21 December 2022 laying down a list of specific high-value datasets and the arrangements for their publication and re-use (OJ L 19, 20.1.2023, pp. 43–75).
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, pp. 1–15).
Directive 2014/25/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors and repealing Directive 2004/17/EC (OJ L 94, 28.3.2014, pp. 243–374).
Successive amendments to Directive 2014/25/EU have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 2008 on common rules for the operation of air services in the Community (recast) (OJ L 293, 31.10.2008, pp. 3–20).
See consolidated version.
Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road and repealing Council Regulations (EEC) Nos 1191/69 and 1107/70 (OJ L 315, 3.12.2007, pp. 1–13).
See consolidated version.
Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92 of 7 December 1992 applying the principle of freedom to provide services to maritime transport within Member States (maritime cabotage) (OJ L 364, 12.12.1992, pp. 7–10).
See consolidated version.
last update 25.01.2023