On 25 April 2018, the European Commission (EC) published its proposal for a revision of the Directive on Public Sector Information (PSI Directive). While research data is not in the scope of the current Directive, the EC suggests widening its scope to now include it.
The PSI Directive aims to make as much data held by public-sector organisations as possible available for re-use. The goal is to increase transparency and promote data-driven innovation and fair competition.
Organisations falling under its scope are ministries, state agencies, municipalities, and organisations that are funded for the most part by or are under the control of public authorities. Since 2013, museums, libraries, and archives have been included as well. Organisations in the educational, scientific, and broadcasting sector are excluded under current legislation.
The EC held a public consultation in the autumn of 2017 to which Science Europe responded urging the EC to take the particularities of the research sector into account. Despite supporting Open Science and Open Access, Science Europe stresses that not all scientific data may be suitable for publication in the same way, for example for privacy or confidentiality matters.
The April 2018 EC proposal was analysed by the European Parliament and the Council. Both institutions underlined that research data should be open in general, however acknowledge that there should be limitations. Both institutions introduced the principle that research data should be ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ as well as the inclusion of the FAIR data principles (making data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Re-usable). These additions are in light with what Science Europe had been advocating for. The Council text also stresses the increasing importance of data management plans (DMPs), for further information see Science Europe recommendations on DMPs here.
The three institutions – European Parliament, Council and EC – will soon start the so-called trilogues negotiations. They will aim to approve a final version before the European elections in May 2019.