For over a decade, public sector information (or data) has been more and more in the spot-light. As a result of the development of a data and platform economy, Public Sector Bodies (PSBs) not only realised the value and importance of the data they were holding in their reg-isters, databases and IT systems but also understood that “these data should be set free” as far as possible. At the European level, this awareness translated into the adoption of the Directive on Re-use of Public Sector Information (PSI Directive) in 2003. This text was further modified in 2013 to adjust to a fast changing environment in which data format, price and availability became even more important. For this reason, in 2013 the legislator adopted new rules on:
- Re-usability of data by default
- Marginal cost charging
- Extension of the Directive to cultural data
- Machine readable format
Today, five years after the modifications to the original Directive, the discussion on making more data re-usable is not anymore the flagship of a limited number of stakeholders but it has rather developed into “a new normal”. Not only public sector bodies but also private companies and all other types of organisations entered in the debate around making data “free”—accessible, understandable, and actionable.
This “new normal” situation raises a number of questions for the future of legislation in this domain:
- How has the PSI Directive performed in this fast evolving context?
- Does it (still) re-spond to the stakeholders’ needs and expectations?
- Is it fit-for-purpose when it comes to the next 10 years?
Considering the evolving legislative context at the European level (includ-ing many relevant initiatives in the Digital Single Market strategy) and the fast-changing economic environment in which more and more data become available (also thanks to the take-up of Internet of Things - IoT technologies), this study looks at the recent past and the recent future of the PSI Directive trying to provide an answer to all these questions.