lunes, 16 de mayo de 2011

Road Blocks to a Pan European Market for PSI Reuse, a long summary

Note: This article is a translation with a few add-ons of what I wrote in Spanish for my personal blog. You can see the original post in Spanish: "Obstáculos para el desarrollo de un mercado pan-europeo de reutilización, un largo resumen".

SharePSI #daa1psi
Source: ePSIplatform
On Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th I participated in Brussels at the workshop "Removing Road Blocks to a Pan European Market for PSI Reuse" held by the Share PSI initiative. It was superbly organized by W3C y ETSI for the European Commission, and gathered a good number of members of the European open data community: governments, businesses and civil society organizations.

The European Commission will use the output of the SharePSI workshop at the 1st Digital Agenda Assembly event: "Beyond raw data: public sector information, done well". Ultimately the contributions, like those obtained through the public consultation on Open Data held at the end of 2010, will help to make the reform of the PSI directive richer and more effective.

In my opinion, compared to other seminars, the level of the discussion was very high in most of the sessions, though there are a few topics that are recurrent in this type of events (pricing, licensing, return of investment and privacy). Clearly, this shows that we are not being able to resolve the issues satisfactorily. In a few occasions it was also clear that not everyone is at the same level of discussion, but it is entirely normal because the open data community is growing at a rapid pace and many new people are joining the discussion.

I think the seminar was very intense and productive and this was largely due to the excellent work done by the program committee and especially by Margot Dor (ETSI) and Thomas Roessler (W3C) to create the workshop programme from the large number of position papers sent from all over Europe.

As you know I usually attend this type of events, and this time one of the things that caught my attention was, the presence of representatives of large companies in the discussion. It was rare until now that Adobe, IBM or Orange were interested in the Open Data movement. And I strongly believe that this is a good thing, because their software and their position in the IT services in governments can provide solutions that will drive the development of a more effective Open Data.

I guess that their presence has much to do with W3C and ETSI. I hope they are here to stay and contribute much to the debate and the solutions, though for now they are still far from the more advanced group. However, I also believe that it is the responsibility of those of us who have been long time in the debate, to bring them to the vision of what is the main objective of the Big Idea, Open Data, but well done.

I will also highlight the number of national government representatives that I could identify in the room (at least from Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland). And New Zealand representation in the person of Laurence Millar, who described us the situation in his country, which is enviable in many respects, such as the very active community of developers they have.

I found very interesting the discussion on the pricing of the meteorological datasets and the apparent long-running dispute which has been brought now to the open data ring by the Association of Private Meteorological Services (PRIMET). I think it's for good that this happened and that these discussions come to enrich the open data debate. There were also several new use cases like the very interesting FearSquare, presented by Andrew Garbett or the impressive Arcticweb that Erin Lynch showed us, that called my attention

On the other hand, it was a pleasure to hear entrepreneurs like François Bancilhon speaking about his work at Data Publica or like Chris Taggart on his excellent Open Corporates, which I have been following for a while. The risks that people like them are taking contribute greatly to push the boundaries of what can be done, although for sure they may have to face problems, because they are disrupting the established situation. My most sincere admiration, respect and support to go ahead.

On my side, I presented the work that Euroalert is doing to develop our 10ders Information Services platform, which aggregates data on procurement notices across the EU. You can find the slides and the summary of the intervention at Euroalert Blog. I also was the moderator of the second half of the session on Use Cases, where we heard the complains of the Federation of European Publishers about the difficulties they face in competing with they still call the culture of free. I was surprised by their approach in the context of Open Data, which I believe is completely misleading again. I hope they will take a more positive position in the future. I was also lucky to have one of the best quotes of the event, made ​​by Hervé Rannou, from ITEMS International, who presented the lessons learned in the Open Data project of the City of Marseille: "The use of the data is infrastructure, like roads"

On June 16th we will see at the 1st Europe Digital Agenda Assembly the most interesting outcomes and conclusions that the European Commission has harvested from this Workshop. I hope it will be useful to take firm steps forward to enable a more favourable environment for market growth based on the development of new information services. In short, for companies powered by opendata as I like to call them. I also hope that among all of them Euroalert will be a remarkable Open Data company, both because of the success of its value proposition and for our contribution to the development of this environment.

To finish this long post, though the occasion deserved it, I will leave some resources that you will find useful to dive into what was said in the workshop. I have used them review what was said in the last two sessions, which I could not attend. I highly recommend to read the excellent work done in collaborative note-taking which reflects faithfully the discussions. You can also check out the tweet archive created by the University of Lincoln, the slides used by speakers, the list of twitter accounts of attendees, the position papers submitted or the snaps of event.

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