Free Our Data: the blog

A Guardian Technology campaign for free public access to data about the UK and its citizens

Advisory Panel on PSI notes Free Our Data campaign again

As Oscar Wilde said, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. So it’s encouraging to note that in its latest minutes from the November 2006 meeting (PDF, 185KB) the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information (APPSI), which previously noted the campaign, has once more noted the contribution we’re making:

A member sought clarification from the Chair on whether APPSI intends writing to the Guardian in response to its “Free Our Data” campaign. The Chair stated that there were no plans to do so. He indicated said that the Guardian articles were providing a useful debate on issues relating to public sector information. The articles have been written by different contributors setting out their own viewpoints. APPSI did not consider it appropriate to get involved in commenting on specific issues or when an article contained some inaccuracies.

(Of course, The Guardian has a policy of correcting errors as soon as possible, and welcomes emails on that subject sent to reader*at*

The APPSI minutes contain some interesting points, including that of whether PhDs are subject to copyright, and if so whose.

Other interesting points:

Mike Clark stated that his paper “Fee or Free”, which is to be published in Business Information Review, was written in a personal capacity and it would contain a disclaimer stating that it did not represent the views of Government or APPSI. This led on to a discussion about the accuracy of the figures used to compare the EU and US PSI markets that were included in the PIRA Report on PSI for the EC in 2000. If the figure for the size of the US PSI market is incorrect it could have a significant bearing on the arguments that have been used to comment on the UK government’s approach to PSI and on other studies that use the figures cited by PIRA. A member suggested that APPSI should consider publishing a bibliography created by Mike Clark on its website with useful PSI references. Another member suggested that the bibliography could be linked to the actual articles.

Certainly if the numbers from the PIRA study aren’t right, it could have a big effect on the arguments. But it might do those in either direction.

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