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Queensland University of Technology Baden Appleyard CRICOS No.00213J An Australian Perspective on Open Access to and the Pricing of Public Sector Information.

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Presentation on theme: "Queensland University of Technology Baden Appleyard CRICOS No.00213J An Australian Perspective on Open Access to and the Pricing of Public Sector Information."— Presentation transcript:

1 Queensland University of Technology Baden Appleyard CRICOS No.00213J An Australian Perspective on Open Access to and the Pricing of Public Sector Information Professor Brian Fitzgerald Law Faculty, QUT London, 1 November 2007

2 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J “Today we face major infrastructure and information issues in addition to challenges such as climate change and water shortages, which affect citizens, business and the community at large. Last year I launched the Australian e-Government Strategy – Responsive Government: A New Service Agenda. It outlines our plans through to 2010 and beyond and foreshadows the future – and a new way of interacting with citizens.” The Hon Gary Nairn MP Special Minister of State, Spatially Enabled Government 2007, Canberra, 14 August 2007

3 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Open Access and Pricing The rise of networked technologies and advanced ICT processing capacity means that today access to knowledge, content and data is a key driver of innovation – it fosters the formal and informal exchange of ideas which promotes new ways of doing things – new solutions and new products and services In this environment how do we manage publicly funded – crown copyright – in the best interests of all? The general approach has been that where government has collected material as part of its functions and can release this on the web, then the cost should be as close to zero as possible. This allows government to quantify downstream multipliers (possibilities) in the economy, instead of inhibiting them through high transaction costs at the entry point

4 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J An Australian Perspective Case Studies Office of Spatial Data Management Australian Bureau of Statistics Government Information Licensing Framework

5 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Office of Spatial Data Management Facilitates sharing of experience and expertise between Australian Government agencies; Promotes efficient use of Australian Government spatial data assets – what is calls information infrastructure – 80 fundamental/core spatial data sets ; Represents the Australian Government's interests in spatial data coordination and access arrangements with the States and Territories; and Fosters the development of a private sector spatial information industry.

6 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Development of the Charging Model THEN (Circa 1995) The Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee (CSDC) was the predecessor to the OSDM The CSDC operated under a cost recovery policy based on the average cost of distribution Model was a consequence of the pre-Internet age since some effort was required to service each request for data. The CSDC recognised a need to change to better address evolving needs.

7 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Need for Change Agencies recognised the need for national data sets, requiring access to other Federal, State and Local government jurisdictions, particularly for the National Land and Water Resources AuditNational Land and Water Resources Audit Availability of the Internet as a new delivery method Strategic emphasis overrode pricing and economic considerations. Recognised that pricing and access was a significant barrier, especially for the states and territories. More work to be done with states and territories. Once on the web an agency had few direct costs and therefore charges should be removed for access to datasets. Some details of the economic issues are available in the Policy on the OSDM websiteOSDM website

8 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Development of New Approach Inter-departmental Committee established in July 2000 to report on: –A pricing and access policy; –Data sets to which the policy should apply (fundamental data sets of national and multidisciplinary interest); –Guiding principles for transfer arrangements with the states and territories; and –Administrative arrangements for implementing and managing the policy (OSDM). The outcome was “A proposal for a Commonwealth policy on spatial data access and pricing” to Federal Cabinet that was agreed to in September Further details can be found on the OSDM website in the Policy document.OSDM website in the Policy document

9 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J OSDM New Pricing Model – Free Online NOW

10 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Rationale for Greater Access Early in its deliberations, the IDC adopted the basic principle that the new Commonwealth spatial data access and pricing policy should seek to maximise the net benefits to the community. The Commonwealth’s spatial data holdings are an asset that, if made more accessible can deliver economic and social benefits far exceeding the direct financial returns of higher levels of cost recovery.

11 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J OSDM Pricing Policy – When Does it Charge? Data under the policy exists in two separate categories: 1.Public Schedule of fundamental data sets for which there is no charge. 2.The Auxiliary List covers data that does not fully comply with the policy and charges may be incurred for access to these data sets which can include value added products. The licensing and pricing is up to the custodian agency but based on cost of transfer for data sets, and up to full cost recovery for value added products. Charging for data not online? Custodian agency discretion. e.g. marginal cost of transfer up to full cost recovery, the type of data and/or a value added product.

12 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Impact of No Fee Policy Growth of access from 50,000 access in FY02/03 to over 1.5million access in FY05/06. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that commercial companies are beginning to use this data to support product development or service delivery activities. Improved access also has significant non direct impacts such as improved information on which to base decisions (commercial or policy), better informed community and more comprehensive information available to the academic and research communities.

13 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Australian Government Data Access

14 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Transitional Budgeting - Proposal

15 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J OSDM Conclusion The major national issues of climate change, counter terrorism, health management, etc can be supported by spatial data. Many users have need for fundamental data. It is only when they wish to add their own specific data that differences occur. In the past, data was often re-collected because its existence was not known, or it could not be easily accessed. This lead to huge additional costs. The concept of free and open access provides many benefits, not the least of which is cost savings.

16 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J OSDM Conclusion The present licensing arrangements do not address the breadth of licensing issues and is aiming to introduce a PSI licence based upon Creative Commons licensing, to support a wider range of management needs and also to provide consistency with other agencies or jurisdictions that adopt this mechanism. Web 2.0 capabilities require a fully automated online data access and licensing mechanism. A PSI Licence based upon Creative Commons can address many of the weaknesses of the present mechanisms, further reducing the barriers to data access, stimulating the economy and providing many other benefits.

17 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J “Creative Commons provides an alternative layer of copyright and a store of material that can be accessed and understood by almost anyone with minimal effort. It is hoped that as Creative Commons scheme grows people will experiment with new ways to promote and market their work. The Creative Commons scheme potentially provides a new, innovative approach, and legal framework, to the recording, protection, and distribution of information, across both government and non-government spheres.” The Hon Gary Nairn MP Special Minister of State, Geospatial Infrastructure Solutions Conference: The future of spatially enabled government, Brisbane, 8 August 2007

18 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) The central statistical authority for the Australian Government and the states and territories Collects, compiles, analyses and disseminates statistics and related information Ensures co-ordination of official bodies in the collection, compilation and dissemination of statistics and related information, with particular regard to: –the avoidance of duplication; –integration of statistics compiled by official bodies; and –the maximum possible utilization of information Provides liaison between Australia, other countries and international organizations, in relation to statistical matters.

19 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Development of the Charging Model PRE JULY 2005 Austats provided ABS data for a fee until a policy change in July 2005 POST JULY 2005 Publications (pdf) free from July 2005 and other downloadable content from December 2005 Hardcopy products continue to be cost recovered

20 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Rationale for Change “Statistics are so vital to our national life, and have made such a key contribution to nation-building, that they lend themselves easily to structural analogies. They are the cornerstone of our decision-making, the very building blocks of research, planning and discussion with governments and the community and are one of the important pillars of our democracy. Ready access to those statistics for those that need them is of paramount importance…. In June this year I was happy to announce that, as a result of a May 2005 Budget initiative and consistent with the Government’s policy of Backing Australia’s Ability, many ABS publications would be available free of charge from the Internet. These publications previously cost between $20 and $40 each.” The Hon Peter Costello MP Treasurer, the ABS Centenary Celebration, 8 December 2005.

21 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Rationale for Change Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines argued information published on the internet qualifies for free accessAustralian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines Increasing government, business and community expectation that ABS products, where inputs are provided by the community, should be available free of charge on the Internet ABS was one of the few remaining National Statistical Organisations in the OECD that continued to charge for internet access to statistics ABS vision for future of electronic dissemination

22 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Rationale for Change Increasing emphasis on evidence-based decision making and information to better target government and business spending for economic and social policies, and economic growth. Removing the cost barrier for access to statistics will foster greater evidence-based decision making The revenue shortfall was in part covered by new and ongoing budget funding. Operating costs associated with charging regime were also reduced.

23 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Impact of No Fee Policy Use of ABS data has increased significantly This is consistent with the ABS corporate goal of informed and increased use of statistics.

24 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Pricing of Services ABS has not implemented any new products or services to recover revenue foregone by the release of free data, via the website Information consultancy service was in place and providing customised data on request Preliminary evidence points to reduced demand for the information consultancy service, probably due to a combination of more data being published to the website and the removal of the price barrier. Visitors to the ABS website are able to locate the information they need themselves. ABS continue to charge for customised data not available from the ABS website and hardcopy products (publications, Census maps, and CD-ROMs)

25 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Pricing of Services Pricing is determined by considering whether the information is of interest to a narrow group or broad group of beneficiaries. Free data on the ABS website has been determined to be of interest to the broader Australian community. Costs incurred in making the data available for consultancy purposes, combined with costs involved in disseminating (the data itself is free) is also considered.

26 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Licensing of Data Any amount of free data may be downloaded on-line for personal use of the individual, or internal use of the organisation downloading it. If data in excess of 500 individual cells is to be re-used, a licence agreement needs to be entered into. This licence is perpetual and free and sets out the conditions of use including warranties, indemnities and attribution.

27 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J ABS Dissemination of Statistics

28 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J ABS Dissemination of Statistics YearData Cubes Time Series Spreadsheets Total 2003– – – –

29 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF) Stage 1 identified licensing practices of various Queensland agencies identified that open content licensing and Creative Commons in particular could meet 85% of agency licensing requirements resulted in endorsement by Queensland Spatial Information Council and the Information Queensland Steering Committee of an open content licensing model, based on Creative Commons

30 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Stage 2 Report Included: Advantages of standardised open access and use arrangements, balanced with appropriate protection for private, confidential and legislatively restricted information collected or held by government Advantages include greater use and re-use of publicly available government data and facilitation of data sharing arrangements Development of a user toolkit for licensing purposes Developments in internationally supporting policies favouring greater access to, and re-use of, government data (public sector information) (see Government Information Licensing Framework (GILF)

31 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Why does the QLD Govt Need a GILF? GILF is a standardised legal environment of terms and conditions within which all information transactions occur. Establish a standard, single framework for access to all data for other jurisdictions, community and the private sector Help manage the Government’s IP Reduce legal risks associated with potential unauthorised use of data and information products and services both in and outside of Government Facilitate improved access to, and use of, Government held data and information within Government Creates economic efficiency

32 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Australian Productivity Commission General Principles Cost Recovery by Government Agencies Report (2001) In practice, there are very few ‘pure’ public goods in the information sector. It is possible in many situations to devise ways to exclude people and impose charges. Charging becomes possible if, for example, information is supplied only in hard copy form and restrictions are placed on the re-use of the information. Similarly, some agencies have developed conditional access systems for charging for information supplied over the Internet. But charging for such ‘impure’ public goods may be undesirable from an economic (not to mention social) perspective. Once information is collected, the cost of supplying it to an additional user tends to be low, even close to zero in the case of the Internet. Prices that are any higher than the marginal costs of dissemination (for example, the costs of printing an extra copy of a publication or downloading data from a website) may discourage socially desirable uses of this information. See page 24.

33 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Australian Productivity Commission General Principles Cost Recovery by Government Agencies Report (2001) The above analysis suggests that taxpayer funding may be appropriate where: –there are significant public good characteristics (that is, the products are non- rivalrous and either non-excludable or, where exclusion is possible, can be provided at such low cost that exclusion is economically undesirable); or –there are significant positive spillovers. Some information products that do not meet these tests may nevertheless be funded from general taxation revenue, but only if the government explicitly decides that there are other significant policy reasons for doing so. Where these situations do not arise and information products benefit only particular consumers, there will usually be a case for charging for them. While different agencies define their products differently, these broad distinctions allow information products to be classified into two broad groups: taxpayer funded ‘basic products’ and cost recovered ‘additional products’. Basic information products typically involve the collection and compilation of data or other material (for databases or archives), and some (but not necessarily all) analysis and dissemination. See page 167.

34 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Australian Productivity Commission General Principles Cost Recovery by Government Agencies Report (2001) As a general principle, the costs of providing information products that are additional to the basic product set should be recovered. However, cost recovery should not be implemented where: –it is not cost effective; –it would be inconsistent with policy objectives; or –it would unduly stifle competition and industry innovation. Additional information products should be classified into three broad categories and priced accordingly: –dissemination of existing products at marginal cost; –incremental products (which may involve additional data collection or compilation) at incremental (avoidable) cost; and –commercial (contestable) products according to competitive neutrality See pages

35 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Future 1.Expansion of open access to and reuse of crown copyright as fundamental economic policy 2.Exchange of ideas, knowledge and culture through informal social or more structured networks will sponsor the innovation of the future – government is a key player 3.Charging “may” activate where value adding is involved

36 Queensland University of Technology CRICOS No.00213J Special Thanks To:

37 Queensland University of Technology Baden Appleyard CRICOS No.00213J Thank you Prof. Brian Fitzgerald


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