The reason for open data

Open data are those sets of data produced or compiled by public bodies that are made available to citizens, -usually from public portals-, so that they can be used in a simple, free and convenient way.

Open data has great potential value and is essential for public administration transparency, efficiency and equal opportunity in creating wealth. Making them available to society is an exercise in transparency that allows citizens to have information on the actions and services of the Administration and on the management of public resources.

The reuse of data also allows the different actors in society (citizens in general, entities, associations, companies...) to develop new products and services that add value, innovation and knowledge, and in fact even become potential business opportunities.

Principles of open data

Open data must be:

  • Public: they must not be subject to any type of privacy, security or any other type of restriction, except those that, by law, are subject to restrictions.
  • Detailed: It must be the same primary, original data, unprocessed (known as raw data). How the information was obtained and where the primary documents are located must be reported; in this way the user can verify that it is a transparent process and that the data has not been manipulated.
  • Updated : they must be available to citizens with the necessary frequency so that they do not lose their value and are always accurate and up-to-date. Priority must be given to those data whose usefulness depends on the time factor.
  • Accessible : They should be accessible to the largest possible number of users, so that there are no restrictions on the purpose of use or barriers, such as the need to formally request the information or go through any other process.
  • Automated : they must be available in widely used electronic formats and structured so that they can be processed automatically on any computer.
  • No registration : they must be open to everyone, without the need to register beforehand to be able to consult them.
  • Open format : They cannot be owned by or depend on a particular company and must be free from legal and financial restrictions on use.
  • Free : the use of the data must not be subject to any type of regulation that restricts its reuse. Therefore, the data must be free of rights, patents, copyright and not be subject to privacy or security rights or rules.

regulatory framework

Beyond the ethical or economic values that the promotion of open data may imply, it is important to mention that the reuse of public sector data is regulated by Law 37/2007, of November 16, on the reuse of public sector information which was modified by Law 18/2015, of July 9, to adapt it to European Directive 2013/37/EU .

On the other hand, the National Interoperability Scheme (ENI), regulated by Royal Decree 4/2010, of January 8, establishes the set of criteria and recommendations that must be taken into account by the AA.PP. for the making of technological decisions that guarantee interoperability, and specifically in the Technical Norma de Interoperabilidad de Reutilización de resources de la información , the set of basic guidelines for the reuse of documents and information resources prepared or guarded are established by the public sector.

It is also key to highlight the impetus for the reuse of data associated with the laws linked to the promotion of Transparency, specifically the state-level Law 19/2013, of December 9, on transparency, access to public information and good government , and the Catalan Law 19/2014, of December 29, on transparency, access to public information and good governance .

In this sense, both in the case of the state and Catalan transparency law, the regulation addresses three main elements: active advertising obligations for all administrations and public entities, preferably in reusable formats; the right of access to public information and, finally, the obligations relating to good governance that must be fulfilled by public officials.

Going into the details of Law 19/2014, if we look at article 5.1 it is specified that "mechanisms will be established to facilitate transparency information in a clear, structured way and in a reusable format by means of a comprehensive system of information and knowledge in electronic format".

On the other hand, article 17 states that "the reuse of public information is free and is not subject to restrictions, except in the cases in which, by regulatory means, it is subject to obtaining a creative recognition license commons”. In other words, in the absence of a regulation that establishes a creative commons recognition license, the reuse of the information provided on the portal is free and can be reused by any lawful means and use.

According to article 17 of law 19/2014, the reuse of data can be done in two ways: one, in principle free, and another subject to obtaining a creative commons recognition license . The Transparency Portal must specify the type of reuse applicable to the information it contains and must also include a legal notice on the conditions of reuse.

-. First modality: the reuse of data is free and not subject to limitations, except for the basic conditions of art. 8 of Law 37/2007: citation of the source, no alteration or denature of the information, specification of the date of the last update, indication of the purpose of the reuse of personal data and impossibility of identifying the interested parties by adding new data .

-. Second modality: the reuse of data, if applicable, is subject to obtaining a Creative Commons recognition license. In accordance with the provisions of art. 17 of Law 19/2014, the conditions and procedure for this type of reuse of public information must be developed by regulation.

Attribution Licenses (Creative Commons)

Through a Creative Commons license, the author exercises the right that the law gives him exclusively to decide certain conditions of use and distribution of his work. The author can give freedom for his work to be reproduced as long as the authorship is acknowledged and establishing, or not, restrictions on commercial use and the possibility of making derivative works.

Creative Commons licenses are therefore not alternatives to copyright, quite the opposite: they are based on intellectual property and copyright legislation and all they do is release certain rights held by the author of a work so that other people can make certain uses of it without having to request explicit permission.

There are six main Creative Commons licenses. All of them imply recognition of the author (by) and, the more symbols, the fewer uses are allowed:

  1. Attribution (by) or CC by : Any exploitation of the work is allowed, including a commercial purpose, as well as the creation of derivative works, the distribution of which is also allowed without any restrictions.
  2. Acknowledgment – Share Alike (by-sa) or CC by-sa : The commercial use of the work and possible derivative works is permitted, the distribution of which must be done with a license equal to that which regulates the original work
  3. Acknowledgment – NonCommercial (by-nc) or CC by-nc : The generation of derivative works is allowed as long as no commercial use is made. This does not mean that the person who has the rights can use it for commercial purposes, only the restriction applies to other people.
  4. Acknowledgment – No Derivative Work (by-nd) or CC by-nd : Commercial use of the work is permitted but not the generation of derivative works. This does not mean that the person who has the rights can modify it, the restriction only applies to the rest of the people.
  5. Acknowledgment – NonCommercial – Share Alike (by-nc-sa) or CC by-nc-sa : Commercial use of the original work or possible derivative works is not permitted, the distribution of which must be done with a license equal to that governing the original work. This does not mean that the person who has the rights can use it for commercial purposes, only the restriction applies to other people.
  6. Acknowledgment – NonCommercial – No Derivative Work (by-nc-nd) or CC by-nc-nd : No commercial use of the original work or the generation of derivative works by other than the rights owners is allowed. It is the most restrictive license as it only allows other people to download the work and share it with others as long as they acknowledge the authorship, but without making any modifications or commercial use.

As provided by art. 17 of Law 19/2014, the future regulation will have to develop the obtaining of creative commons recognition licenses regarding the reuse of public information.

Finally, it should also be noted that State Law 19/2013 protects local entities that want to promote reuse projects, where the information is provided in an exercise of pure transparency.

Additional documentation

The following publications are of interest for these purposes: