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Cost recovery and open access arguments in the context of access, sharing and re-use Katleen Janssen ICRI – K.U.Leuven - IBBT.

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Presentation on theme: "Cost recovery and open access arguments in the context of access, sharing and re-use Katleen Janssen ICRI – K.U.Leuven - IBBT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cost recovery and open access arguments in the context of access, sharing and re-use Katleen Janssen ICRI – K.U.Leuven - IBBT

2 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Setting the scene… □ Charging debate has been based on dichotomy between open access and cost recovery □ Arguments are often based on personal opinions or political strategies □ “You’re either with us, or against us!” □ No conclusive evidence either way □ Need to move on beyond this debate

3 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Some things need to be clarified first… □ What is the cost of PSI? □ Direct or indirect □ Fixed or variable □ Marginal or full □ Marginal cost as the pivotal point between cost recovery and open access? □ What is the value of PSI? □ Based on type of data, type of user, purpose of use?

4 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Purpose of use? □ Public access“democratic purpose” (e.g. FOIA, access to environmental info) □ Re-use“economic purpose” (e.g. PSI directive) □ Sharing“public task purpose” (e.g. INSPIRE, SEIS)

5 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Existing charging policies □ Reasonable amount □ Reasonable return on investment □ Marginal cost □ Actual costs of producing the material □ Minimum required to ensure the necessary quality □ ….

6 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access □ Democratic argument □ Open access increases democracy □ Public participation, accountability, digital divide □ “Democracy has existed for much longer than FOIA” □ “Truly an effect on participation?” □ “Most requests are not about democracy” □ Value of the argument □ Access: democratic purpose □ Re-use: nothing to do with democracy? □ Sharing: indirect impact – citizens benefit from better policy?

7 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (2) □ Investments were made for the public task □ “If the public bodies didn’t need the data, they wouldn’t be collected” □ “Budgets are made to meet mandates” □ Value of the argument □ True for access and sharing, but re-use?

8 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (3) □ The taxpayer has already paid □ “Cooperation of the taxpayer will reduce” □ Taxpayer as “board of directors” □ “Taxpayer is paying for a select group of companies” □ “Investments were already made for the public task” □ “Cost recovery would reduce taxes” – but where does the money go to? □ Value of the argument □ Access: not for a select group □ Re-use: more valid □ Sharing: see public task argument

9 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (4) □ Charges merely shift the budget between public bodies □ “Not the taxpayer’s problem” □ Not valid for individual organisations □ Only true is sufficient funding is provided by Treasury □ Value of the argument □ Sharing: it’s all for the public task □ But: no distinction between public tasks and other activities

10 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (5) □ Incentive for economic activity and growth □ “Open access will generate more tax income” □ No conclusive evidence □ Where does the additional tax money go? □ Value of the argument □ Re-use: increase of products on the market □ Access: citizen can choose between information products □ Sharing: better policy making stimulates economic growth

11 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (6) □ Better performance of the public bodies □ Cost recovery improves quality of the data □ Not a general rule □ “Leads to overinvestment in quality?” □ If quality is needed for public task, it will be provided □ “Free availability promotes standards” □ Quality requirements differ between user □ Value of the argument □ Sharing: data is needed for public task □ Access: may actually require higher quality? □ Re-use: quality needed?

12 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (7) □ Better performance of the public bodies □ Cost recovery improves quality of the service □ “Better insight in consumer needs” □ “Still not as efficient as private sector?” □ Other means to discover user needs? □ Value of argument □ User needs are different for each purpose

13 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (8) □ Better performance of the public bodies □ Liability □ “Cost recovery reduces number of users, so less risk for liability” □ “But raises expectations of the user” □ Concerns for alteration or misuse □ Against user’s own interest to misuse data □ Other means to prevent this □ Value of the argument □ Re-use: concerns for misuse □ Access & sharing: concerns for decision-making

14 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (9) □ Better performance of the public bodies □ Transaction costs □ “May not make charging worthwhile” □ Might also be there for marginal cost □ “Flood of requests, distracting from core task” □ Providing data to public is a core task (FOIA) □ Value of argument □ Transaction costs are higher if distinction is made between different types of use

15 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Arguments cost recovery v. open access (9) □ Political position of the public body □ “Private sector may not enter into partnership if everybody can get the data for free” □ Not dependent on central budget □ “Credibility of the public body is higher if it makes money” □ Value of the argument □ Convince the treasury of the importance of data!

16 Cost recovery and open access arguments □ Conclusion □ We need to move the discussion forward □ Create awareness and dialogue – ePSIplus! □ This is the theory…how does it work in practice? □ Evidence, evidence, evidence!

17 Thank you! Questions or remarks?


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