Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 04, 2008

UK Cabinet Officer supports free use of public sector info

Michael Cross, Report backs freer use of data, The Guardian, April 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

...Cabinet Office minister, Tom Watson...was introducing a progress report on the Power of Information review, which last June urged the government to make better use of social media and to make its data available for reuse. The interim report contains 15 sets of promises for making official information more easily available for reuse. However, it's noncommittal on the original review's call for government trading funds to make their core data available for free unless there is good evidence to levy charges.

In his speech, Watson reaffirmed his support for Technology Guardian's Free Our Data campaign, suggesting that the government trading fund system had outlived its usefulness....He referred to a "lively debate" about whether the economy and society would be better served by giving the data away. That debate, of course, has been given renewed vigour by the publication alongside the Budget of the Cambridge economic study into the costs and benefits of making various trading funds' "public task" data free. That suggested the wider economy would see a net gain of £164m from making raw data from the six biggest trading funds - Land Registry, Companies House, Ordnance Survey, the Met Office and the UK Hydrographic Office - available for free reuse....