Context of the Open Government Data
policy in France
Challenges to be overcome
Priorities for further development
Action Plan
for France
SGMAP / Mission Etalab
20 avenue de Segur
75007 Paris
01 42 75 80 00
1. Context of the Open Government Data policy in France........................................................................................3
2. Challenges to be overcome.....................................................................................................................................................7
3. Priorities for further development.........................................................................................................................................8
4. APPENDIX.........................................................................................................................................................................................8
Release of high value datasets.................................................................................................................................................13
French Government Roadmap for Open Government Data ....................................................................................18
Handbook on Open Government Data................................................................................................................................24
Report on the economic models of Open Government Data..................................................................................37
G8 Open Data Action Plan for France
Application of the G8 Open Data Charter of June 18, 2013
This document was produced by the French Prime Minister’s taskforce Etalab (data.gouv.fr) for
Open Government Data at the Secretariat General for Modernization of Public Action in
consultation with all ministerial departments.
It is released under the French government “Open Licence” (“Licence Ouverte”). You are free
to reproduce, copy, publish and transmit it; disseminate and redistribute it; adapt, modify,
extract and transform it; and reuse it, including for commercial purposes, under the condition
that you attribute the document by acknowledging its source and its publication date (6
November 2013).
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Action Plan for France
France, its government and its local authorities are strongly committed to Open Government Data.
This essential public policy is altogether:
1. A driver of democratic vitality,
2. A strategy to support economic and social innovation,
3. A catalyst for the modernization of public action.
Opening and sharing public data is a significant political commitment and stems from a long republican
and democratic tradition in France. Article 15 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen,
adopted on 26 August 1789, states that "Society has the right to require of every public agent an
account of its administration."
Pursuant to this principle, France has gradually constructed a public right of access to
information and government documents, from the creation of the public archives service and the
public statistical service, the adoption of the Access to Administrative Documents Act in 1978 or the
creation of a major public service for the dissemination of law, to the transposition of the European
directive on Public Sector Information in 2005.
With the opening of open data portals for several local authorities in 2010, and the creation in 2011 of
the Prime Minister’s taskforce Etalab for Open Government Data, France has added to this democratic
imperative a resolute commitment to foster innovation, economic growth and the modernization
of public action.
The President of the Republic naturally supported the G8 Charter for Open Data adopted at the G8
Summit on 17 and 18 June 2013, where leaders called, in their final communiqué, for "open economies,
open societies and open governments".
In accordance with the terms of this charter, the present document reviews the context of the Open
Government Data policy in France, explains the main difficulties and challenges that it is facing at
the moment, and presents the main priorities for further development on which the government
intends to work in the future.
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Action Plan for France
Context of the Open Government
Data policy in France
France has recognized, since the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, that "Society has
the right to require of every public agent an account of its administration".
This expectation of public transparency was a common thread throughout our history. It was
expressed, for instance, with the recognition of a right to access the national archives (1794), the
creation of a major public service for statistical information (INSEE, 1946) or the establishment of a
public service for online access to the law.
Two essential laws laid the foundations of our republican model in the information society in
1978: the right to personal information protection, based on Act no. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on data-
processing, data files and individual liberties; and the right to access government data, stemming from
Act no. 78-753 of 17 July 1978 on the right to access administrative documents. These are defined as
follows: "(…) whatever their date, their place of retention, their form and their media, the documents
produced or received as part of their public-service duties by the State, local governments and other
persons coming under public or private law responsible for such duties. Such documents include
dossiers, records, studies, reports, minutes, statistics, directives, instructions, circulars, notes and
ministerial replies, correspondence, opinions, forecasts and decisions. (…)" (Article 1).
The right to access administrative documents has been recognized as a public freedom by the
Council of State (EC, 29 April 2002, U., no. 228830). In 1997, the Government extended the principle
by deciding to make "essential public data" available online free of charge. In 2003, Directive
2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 17 November 2003 on the reuse of
public sector information, transposed by the order dated 6 June 2005 and the decree dated 30
December 2005, aimed to facilitate the reuse of existing documents held by public-sector
organizations. Decree no. 2011-577 dated 26 May 2011, on the reuse of public information held by
Government and the public sector, established the principle of free and open reuse of public data.
French Open Data policy was enhanced with the creation of taskforce Etalab (data.gouv.fr) by
Prime Ministerial decree of 21 February 2011. Attached to the Secretariat General for the Modernization
of Public Action, under the authority of the Prime Minister, taskforce Etalab is responsible for
coordinating public administrations — and supporting other entities with a public service mission —
in order to release their public data; developing the national Open Data platform data.gouv.fr to that
effect; and encouraging the reuse of public data by government itself as well as the private sector.
On 18 October 2011, the government announced the creation of the Open Licence (“Licence
Ouverte”) for open government data, which aims at enabling free reuse of public data, at no charge and
as broadly as possible. It was designed through an extensive consultation process with all relevant
stakeholders within government and amongst civil society.
On 17 May 2012, the ministers of the new government adopted a Charter of Ethics in which they
committed to promoting the release of open government data and its free reuse.
On 28 February 2013, at the government seminar on digital policy, the government presented its
roadmap for opening and sharing public data (see Appendix 2).
Context of the Open Government Data policy in France
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Action Plan for France
On 17 September 2013, to clarify this policy and widen its understanding by public sector agents, the
Prime Minister also release a circular and a handbook on open government data (see Appendix 3).
Lastly, on 18 June 2013, President François Hollande adopted, along with the Heads of State and
governments of the G8, the G8 Open Data Charter, widely supported by France.
Main elements of context
The specific context of French Open Data policy is summarized below.
Governance and Leadership Structure:
1. Political Leadership: the Prime Minister determines and conducts Open Data policy in France. It
was specifically outlined in the Open Data roadmap dated 28 February 2013, and is regularly
updated during the meetings of the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Modernization of Public
Action (CIMAP) where all ministers with jurisdiction over the modernization of public action regularly
2. Inter-ministerial supervision: taskforce Etalab at the Secretariat General for the Modernization of
Public Action (SGMAP) — placed under the authority of the Prime Minister and available to the
Ministry for the Reform of the State, the Civil Service and Decentralization — is responsible for
coordinating and supporting the release of data by national administrations and agencies, to
encourage the broadest-possible reuse of their public sector information.
3. Network of coordinators and correspondents: An Open Data Steering Committee brings
together the Open Data coordinators who were appointed in each ministerial Secretary General. It
meets regularly to coordinate the action of the departments, and organizes a network of
correspondents within the civil service tasked with identifying and releasing public data.
4. Modernization of public action: the Prime Minister has also requested all ministries to specify
their strategies for opening public data in their "ministerial programs for modernization and
simplification" (PMMS).
5. Assessment, expert-appraisal and advice: the "Guidance Council for public publishing and
administrative information" (COEPIA) provides assessment, expert-appraisal and advice to the Prime
Minister in the fields of public publishing, administrative information and the provision of public data.
It oversees the allocation of resources and the quality of information services provided to users.
Supporting Public Administrations and Agencies:
On 17 September 2013, the Prime Minister issued a circular to Cabinet members stressing the
importance of Open Government Data policy. It requested the wide dissemination to public sector
agents of a handbook of Open Government Data intended to broaden their understanding of this
policy, the challenges they may face and the operational solutions to apply it in their department. This
practical guide aims at providing concrete answers to questions that public agents may currently have
(see Appendix 3).
The ministerial coordinators on the Open Data Steering Committee have also developed a network
of about 250 correspondents within their respective departments and agencies. Based on their
unique domain expertise, these correspondents work in a horizontal and decentralized fashion to
identify the public datasets each or their institutions produce as part of the public service they supply,
and release them as open data.
Context of the Open Government Data policy in France
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Engagement with Stakeholders:
As much as possible, the French government intends to make Open Data a part of its broader effort
to modernize policy-making in consultation with civil society — notably engaging with the following
1. Local authorities: Data.gouv.fr is open to all local authorities that wish to use it to release open data
to the public. Taskforce Etalab also regularly consults with the local authorities that have
spearheaded local open data policies in their constituencies. Etalab is also a founding member of
“Open Data France”, a non-profit established on 9 October 2013 to bring together French local
authorities committed to opening their data.
2. The innovation ecosystem: Taskforce Etalab established the “Dataconnexions” initiative to
encourage data-driven innovation. This series of contests aims at fostering innovation around public
data reuse, by engaging with the key stakeholders of the French innovation ecosystem to help
support the development of data-driven startups and projects.
3. Civil Society: On 14 may 2013, Etalab set up a network of experts, bringing together citizens, civil
society and researchers to help define the future orientations of the French government’s Open Data
4. Research: By supporting the Datalift research project, through its network of experts and through
the open public debate on research data (announced in the government's Open Data Roadmap),
Etalab seeks to encourage the use of public data for research as well as the development of data
As an example of this commitment to openness and inclusiveness, the new Open Data platform
data.gouv.fr that will be launched in December 2013 was designed following an open, collaborative
design consultation. This “co-design” process resulted in more than 60 substantial written
contributions, and civil society organized more than 9 consultation events throughout France.
Datasets released by public administrations, national agencies as well as some local authorities are
made available to the public on the national Open Data platform data.gouv.fr. This platform:
1. Explains the key features of the government’s Open Data policy to public data users;
2. Supplies access to raw data and a useful description of all datasets, in order to make them
understandable and easily re-usable.
3. Provides data in open formats to ensure anyone can access it easily and free of charge.
4. Provides data under an Open Licence so that anyone has the right to reuse it as broadly as is made
possible by law.
5. Seeks to highlight innovative applications of open data.
Context of the Open Government Data policy in France
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International activities:
France — represented in particular by taskforce Etalab — cooperates with its international partners and
multilateral institutions to encourage openness and reuse of data in France, Europe and throughout the
1. European "PSI" Directive: France played an important role in revising the European Directive on
Public Sector Information ("PSI"), particularly through our permanent representation to the European
2. Bilateral discussions with our diplomatic partners: France has encouraged the development of
Open Data policies amongst its international partners, through discussions on best practices and
participation in conferences or technical-assistance taskforces. In particular, it has established a
dialogue with the governments of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
3. Work with the OECD on Open Government: France takes part in the effort to encourage the
development of transparent and open governments amongst the countries of the Deauville
Partnership, in connection with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
4. Discussions with the W3C on meta-data formats: taskforce Etalab has participated in the work
carried out by the W3C aiming to define the open DCAT standard, which seeks to facilitate the
exchange of meta-data between catalogues of open data.
Context of the Open Government Data policy in France
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Challenges to be overcome
Encouraging the publication of comprehensive, high-quality and sustainable data: encouraging
the publication of comprehensive and high-quality data — particularly data with a strong societal
impact or high potential for economic and social innovation — by simplifying the use of data.gouv.fr;
by improving the understanding of Open Data by public agents who release it; and by stressing the
rules for the protection of privacy and the legal and regulatory context of public sector information.
Updating the economic model of public data provision: updating the economic model for the
provision of public data, particularly for high value data produced by large public sector operators;
ensuring the quality of the data being released, and that its production and continuous collection are
sustainable; while fostering open access and free reuse.
Developing a data-driven culture to modernize public action: encouraging the development of
innovative applications of data reuse; making openness a key aspect of the governance of large public
sector information systems; defining the data quality improvement effort expected of the civil service;
and, lastly, developing the application of data sciences by the public sector itself, based on Open Data
as an instrument of the modernization of public action, in order to develop a real culture of
experimentation and data-driven policy-making.
2. Challenges to be overcome
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Action Plan for France
Priorities for further development
This section explains the main priorities for further development of Open Government Data policy
that the government has assigned to itself in order to implement the G8 Open Data Charter.
Commitment 1:
Progress towards publishing data openly
by default
Public declaration of intent
France made an official announcement of its Open Data policy when it was introduced in 2011 (see
Context). Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stated the main principles of France's Open Data policy
on the occasion of the first Inter-ministerial Committee on the Modernization of Public Action (CIMAP)
on 18 December 2012; and on 28 February 2013, at the government seminar on digital policy, the
government presented its roadmap for Open Government Data (see Appendix 2).
High value data
The French government’s Open Data policy supports the release of high value datasets in order to
improve the functioning of our democracies and encourage innovative applications of public
data reuse.
Amongst these, the following core datasets are already available on data.gouv.fr:
1. National statistics (macro-economic database, population census)
2. National maps (selection of IGN maps and databases)
3. Election results
4. National budgets (Finance Acts and associated budgetary appendices).
The government is committed to working with the various departments and agencies that produce
these datasets, and to continuously improve their accessibility, granularity and accuracy.
In order to progress towards publishing open data by default in the various categories recognized
as being of high value to the public by the G8 Charter, the government has adopted the following main
directions for further development:
Category of high-value data Commitment
Worldwide development IATI format publication as announced at the July 2013 meeting
of the Inter-ministerial Committee for International Cooperation
and Development
Environment Open public debate on environmental risks data
3. Priorities for further development
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Action Plan for France
Finance and markets Open public debate on public finance data
Mobility and social protection Open public debate on housing data
Health Open public debate on health data
Science and research Open public debate on higher-education and research data
Transport and infrastructure Open public debate on transportation data
Appendix 1 ("Release of high value datasets") gives additional details on the government’s
commitments to improve access to these and other high value data categories.
Generalizing the principle of free-of-charge public
data reuse
To facilitate access to data and its reuse by all, the Prime Minister stressed the principle of free-of-
charge public data reuse at the first meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Modernization
of Public Action on 18 December 2012.
In order to progress towards the broader cost-free reuse of open data, he set up a task force to assess
the existing royalty fees and their economic models. Its conclusions are aimed at encouraging the
reuse of public data while preserving the high-quality and sustainable production of this data (a
summary of this report is available in Appendix 4).
Extending Open Data policy
The government is also studying:
1. Broadening Open Data policy beyond national administration and to all public agencies, to the
holders of public-service concessions, to local authorities and to independent administrative
2. The extension of Open Data policy to industrial and commercial public sector operators, to public
enterprises and to civil society.
Commitment 2:
Build an open platform to encourage
innovation and transparency
Open Data Platform
The French government publishes its open data on the national open-data platform data.gouv.fr.
Launched on 5 December 2011, data.gouv.fr makes available, through an identified access point, open
public data and associated resources (methodological files, etc.) and its description (meta-data) to
facilitate reuse.
18 months after it was opened, data.gouv.fr had received more than one million unique visitors, who
consulted more than 5 million pages and downloaded more than 500,000 files.
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3. Priorities for further development
Co-Design: 2
generation of data.gouv.fr
After two years of work on data.gouv.fr, which saw the emergence and maturity of a French Open Data
community, on 10 April 2012, Etalab began a "Co-Design" operation, a collaborative co-design
process that broadly brought together the open-data ecosystem and the conclusions of which fuelled
the development of a new version of the data.gouv.fr platform. It will be opened to the public by
the end of 2013.
This next generation of the platform is a complete overhaul based on Open Source tools. It will take
into account usage feedback, user suggestions, requirements related to the increase in resources
made available online, the increase in the number of Open Data portals and new audiences interested
by the opening of public data.
Encouraging data reuse for innovation
and transparency
Following the Co-Design process, the next version of the "data.gouv.fr" platform was designed as a
platform open to all contributions and improvements shared by citizens.
This open design will improve the quality of data, encourage its use in the public debate for improving
transparency and promote innovation based on open data.
Commitment 3:
Develop Open Data policy in consultation
with citizens and civil society
Open public debates
To promote the opening of strategic and high-quality data which can be used to create services that
are useful on a daily basis, whether they are desired by citizens because of their democratic or practical
character, or because they meet a legal or regulatory requirement, taskforce Etalab will organize six
open public debates on specific themes to identify and publish new sets of data, covering the
following topics:
Q Health
Q Housing
Q Higher education and research
Q Transport
Q Environmental risks
Q Public expenditure
These debates will lead to a report that will be presented to the relevant ministries and that will make
recommendations on coherent datasets that should be made open and available, specifying the
benefits expected from these new releases. Through consultation mechanisms, these debates will
associate civil society and the various stakeholders to the development of the recommendations.
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3. Priorities for further development
Network of experts
On 14 May 2013, Etalab set up its network of experts to bring together citizens, civil society and
researchers to help define the future orientations of the French government’s Open Data policy.
Comprising of qualified individuals and thought leaders, its purpose is to provide taskforce Etalab
with its feedback and advice on France Open Data and Open Government strategy, specifically
taking into account its knowledge of best practices concerning access to and reuse of data, data
sciences and current trends in technology and computer science.
The network of experts provides feedback on policies and procedures it is presented with by
taskforce Etalab, may issue recommendations on the public data to be opened on data.gouv.fr, and
may also propose measures to accelerate the deployment of Open Data and Open Government in
Commitment 4:
Support open innovation in France
and throughout the world
Catalyze the emergence of an ecosystem
of innovators
Taskforce Etalab will continue to support open data reuse projects by startups, innovative companies,
non-profits and large industrial groups. It will develop the DataConnexions program further in order to
foster and promote the most promising and exemplary cases of data-driven innovation based on Open
Encourage open standards and formats
The government has emphasized its commitment to open formats and will continue the provision of
data that, to the greatest extent possible, can be machine-readable in bulk. It will also progress towards
the automated provision of data through Application Programming Interfaces (API), to encourage
the creation of innovative applications of data reuse by the community of developers and hackers.
To ensure fair access to information and allow access to innovation for all, France is encouraging the
release of data under free and open formats, as well as the development of open applications. Insofar
as possible, the government will favor the development of web and mobile sites in open formats for
its online public services, rather than mobile applications on proprietary platforms.
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3. Priorities for further development
Encourage the opening of data throughout
the world
France reinstates its strong commitment to international and multilateral cooperation around
transparency and open government, through the continuation of its technical-assistance missions that
it has already carried out with its partners, by opening the Dataconnexions competitions to an
international audience and by widely supporting the best practices that it implements domestically, with
the translation and international dissemination of the French government’s “Handbook on Open
Government Data”.
The government believes that international cooperation is particularly important in the field of
transparency, Open Data and Open Government, which it strongly encourages as an avenue towards
a more open and a more transparent world.
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3. Priorities for further development
Release of high value datasets
France is committed to an ambitious Open Data policy. A significant amount of public data has
already been made accessible to all, particularly through the data.gouv.fr platform and the local
platforms of local authorities.
In its roadmap dated 28 February 2013, the French Government expressed the wish to promote the
opening of strategic and high-quality data, whether it is used to create services that are useful on
a day-to-day basis, whether it is desired by citizens due to its democratic or practical character, or
whether its publication meets a legal or regulatory requirement.
The procedures for identifying data to be opened, in connection with the members of the network of
Open Data correspondents within departments and agencies, allow us to move towards a principle
of open data by default.
To put this principle in practice, the government has set itself specific objectives over the next two
years, aimed at releasing high value datasets among essential data categories to improve the
functioning of our democracies and encourage innovation.
Criminality and justice
The government currently makes the list of all criminal activity recorded by the Police and the
Gendarmerie, each month, in each department and in more than a hundred categories of crimes and
offences, available on data.gouv.fr. To improve the precision and granularity of this data, the
Government will begin work to publish, by 2015, more precise data on the location of events
The Ministry of Justice, through the Statistics and Studies Sub-directorate (SDSE) will work to make
aggregate statistical data on convictions assigned to criminal records available in a reusable format
by 2015.
Public data from the cultural sector contributes to educating citizens and children, favoring the spread
of culture and the transmission of knowledge, while renewing the link between citizens and their culture.
The Ministry of Culture and Communication intends to deliver its full support to the Government’s
Open Data policy, and to encourage the further development of the data economy that is arising.
It commits to publishing a strategic roadmap on cultural Open Data which will inform its digital
economy policy, and to open sets of public data from the cultural sector more broadly, following on
the recommendations of its recent "Data Culture" report.
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Action Plan for France
International development
In accordance with the decision of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for International Cooperation and
Development dated 31 July 2013, France will aim to publish its data on development aid in the
format of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), starting as soon as 2014 for priority
partner countries.
The Ministry of National Education and the National Office for Education and Career Information
(ONISEP) will work on the online availability of data on education to provide better information to
parents on available school services, the number of teachers, the number of pupils in establishments
and the localization of educational establishments.
To promote the release of strategic and high-quality data on environmental risks, taskforce Etalab will
organize an open public debate in connection with the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable
Development and Energy, to identify and publish new datasets in this field.
To improve the provision of information to citizens on water quality, the National Agency for Water and
Aquatic Environments (ONEMA) will work on releasing data from the information system used by the
public services covering water and sewerage.
Finance and public contracts
To promote the release of high-quality strategic data on public finances, taskforce Etalab will organize
an open public debate in connection with the financial ministries to identify and publish new sets of
data in this field.
Public contracts (awarded or future):
the Ministry for the Economy and Finance will work to publish, by 2015, all of the data relative to the
assignees of public contracts awarded by the State. It will also undertake to improve the provision
of data on the assignees of other public contracts, particularly those awarded by local authorities.
Local or national budget (planned or implemented):
the Ministry for the Economy and Finance will work to scale, generalize and accelerate the provision
of data on the initial and revised Finance Acts, and on the data contained in the Finance Acts’
"yellow" budgetary appendices.
Details of public expenditure:
The Budget Ministry and the Ministry for the Economy and Finance will work to provide, by 2015,
detailed data on Government expenditure beyond an amount to be determined.
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Mobility, social protection and employment
In accordance with the decision of the Inter-ministerial Committee on the modernization of public
action (CIMAP) dated 18 December 2012, the Ministry of Territorial Equality and Housing will open, with
the support of the SGMAP, a themed public debate on housing data. This debate aims to widely
consult civil society and regional authorities to improve openness and the reuse of public data in the
field of housing.
The Government will work on the provision, by the end of 2015, of public data on rent levels resulting
from the work of the national network of rental observatories to be constituted.
Social Security:
the government will continue the provision of data on social security so as to promote the
assessment of the results and social and economic impact of public policies.
Employment market:
the government will work on still greater improvement of access for all to data on employment and
Earth observation
Meteorological conditions:
The French public weather forecasting service, Météo France, will undertake a study of possible future
changes to its economic model. It will continue its work on easier access to and reuse of historical data,
observations taken from the meteorological network and forecast data from digital models.
Fishing and hunting:
the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy will work to provide detailed data on fish
resources by 2014.
the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry will work to make even more detailed data available on
pesticides and will work to facilitate the use of data from the directory of veterinary surgeons and
approved laboratories.
France also takes part in the “Open Agriculture Data” initiative undertook at the 2012 G8 Summit. This
initiative aims to share pertinent agricultural data (for instance: economic data, genetic resources,
climate, environment, nutrition, plant protection, etc.) of G8 countries and beyond, to improve food
security worldwide, specifically in Africa. France will release data from existing French initiatives in
that field and will take necessary steps to ensure that intellectual property protection, privacy concerns
and stakeholder platforms interoperability issues are taken into account.
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Accountability, transparency and democracy
Election results:
The Ministry of the Interior will continue its policy of providing electoral results in a reusable format, and
will work on publishing the list of persons elected at each election. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
will also provide the results of elections from polling stations located outside France.
the Ministry for the Reform of the State, the Civil Service and Decentralization will work to make data
available on salary scales and pay grades, particularly for senior positions in the national, local or
social civil service.
Front offices and points of contact for administrations / laws and regulations:
The Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (DILA) at the service of the Prime Minister will
continue its effort to open public data contained in databases and information systems, particularly
concerning access to law and legal information.
Government activity:
The Government Information Service (SIG) is studying means of making available the public data
contained in the database of archived sites of previous governments.
In accordance with the decision of the first Inter-ministerial Committee on the modernization of public
action (CIMAP) of 18 December 2012, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will launch an open
public debate on health data. A diverse commission bringing together all relevant stakeholders will
present recommendations to the government on improving the openness and ease of re-use of public
health data. It will be fueled by the conclusions of the review of the governance of health data from Mr
Pierre-Louis Bras, and based on a wide call for contributions from citizens.
The government will also study the provision of data relative to hygiene inspections in catering
Science and research
The Ministry for Higher Education and Research will undertake an open public debate on research
data, with the support of SGMAP. This debate will aim to widely consult civil society and researchers
to improve openness and the reuse of public data in the field of higher education and research, and
to issue recommendations to encourage the development and applications of data sciences in France.
Recognizing the diverse relationships between research activity and public data (data on research,
data produced by research, data useful to research, research on data sciences), the Ministry will launch
the following two initiatives within this framework:
1. An audit of publicly available information on higher education, specifically on student
graduation rates training course by training course, conducted by a multi-party commission bringing
together all relevant stakeholders in accordance with Articles 6, 16 and 16a of the framework law
for higher education and research.
2. An international scientific conference planned for the beginning of 2014, covering research data
and its accessibility, in connection with the Open Data topic of the European framework program
"Horizon 2020".
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Transport and infrastructure
To allow fair and equal access to mobility for all, the Ministry of the Interior will work on providing data
on the results from driving schools.
In accordance with the decision of the first Inter-ministerial Committee on the modernization of public
action (CIMAP) of 18 December 2012, the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy
will launch an open public debate on transport and mobility data, with the support of the SGMAP.
This debate will aim to widely consult civil society, re-users, professionals in the sector and users of
public-transport systems in order to issue recommendations to the government aiming to improve
openness and re-use of public data related to transport and mobility.
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French Government Roadmap
for Open Government Data
On 28 February 2013, at the government seminar on digital policy, the Prime Minister
Jean-Marc Ayrault announced the French government’s "Roadmap for Open Government Data".
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Action Plan for France
- 19 -
Feuille de route du Gouvernement
French Government Roadmap
for Open Government Data
Opening Government Data: a public freedom and
a lever for innovation
The French government’s Open Data Strategy is based on Act no. 78-753 of 17 July 1978 on Access
to Administrative Documents, defined as follows: “irrespective of their date, place of storage, form or
format, documents drawn up or received, as part of their public service mission, by the State, local and
regional authorities as well as by other persons and bodies entrusted with such a mission. These
documents include files, reports, studies, records, minutes, statistics, orders, instructions, ministerial
circulars, memoranda or replies containing an interpretation of positive law or a description of
administrative procedures, recommendations, forecasts and decisions…” (Article 1).
The right to access administrative documents has been recognized as a public freedom by the Council
of State (EC, 29 April 2002, U., no. 228830). In 1997, the Government extended the principle by
deciding to make "essential public data" available online free of charge. In 2003, Directive 2003/98/EC
of the European Parliament and of the Council dated 17 November 2003 on the reuse of public sector
information, transposed by the order dated 6 June 2005 and the decree dated 30 December 2005,
aimed to facilitate the reuse of existing documents held by public-sector organizations. Decree no.
2011-577 dated 26 May 2011 on the reuse of public information held by Government and the public
sector established the principle of open and free reuse of public data.
On 21 February 2011, decree no. 2011-194 created the Prime Minister’s taskforce Etalab (data.gouv.fr)
for Open Government Data, the mission responsible for creating a single interdepartmental portal for
open government data, and for coordinating, managing and hosting the distribution of this public data.
With the digital revolution – which facilitates the production, distribution and processing of mass data
– sharing and opening public data has become a powerful lever for:
Q increasing citizens' trust via greater transparency of public action (e.g. by putting online information
on public accounts, pollution or recorded offences);
Q allowing new forms of co-production with society and supporting social innovation (such as the
Handimap project which, as a result of data from the cities of Rennes and Montpellier, enabled the
development of an application for people with motor disabilities to plan their itineraries);
Q improving administrative operations (as seen by the heavy use of public data by the public sector
Q improving the effectiveness of public action by developing new organizational methods and new work
processes (such as road accident monitoring by the road safety authorities enabling improved road
Q supporting economic vitality by creating new resources for innovation and growth (as seen by the new,
innovative companies which received the DataConnexions awards);
Q contributing to France’s international influence and outreach (Open Government Partnership (OGP),
International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)).
- 20 -
The Government’s commitment to transparency
and open government data
As of the first Council of Ministers of this mandate, on 17 May 2012, the President of the French
Republic asked all members of the Government to sign a code of ethics, in particular recalling their
"duty of transparency", their "strict observance of the provisions guaranteeing citizens' access to
administrative documents” and their commitment to "work with determination for the free and easy
online access to a large amount of public data".
As he launched the Government’s Strategy for the Modernization of Public Action on 31 October 2012,
the Prime Minister reiterated the principles of the open government data policy set out by the Prime
Minister's circular of 26 May 2011, in particular each citizen's right to free and open access to public
data, or the strict supervision of charges for reusing public data.
By integrating task force Etalab into the General Secretariat for the Modernization of Public Action
(SGMAP), the Prime Minister built a global innovation force, bringing together design and overhaul of
government IT systems, open government data policy, evaluation of public policies and public policy
Since the first ministerial committee for the modernization of public action (CIMAP) on 18 December
2012, the Government has taken three major decisions shaping its Open Data policy:
Q “Reiterate the principle of free and open access to the re-use of public data, and extend it to local
governments, public service contractors, social security administrations and independent
administrative authorities";
Q “Launch, as of 2013, work on the transparency of public action and institutions, in particular by
opening up the debate on making data available in the areas of education, environmental risks,
transparency in the health system, transport availability, housing, the clarity of social security benefits
and public expenditure.”;
Q “Entrust to the SGMAP, in coordination with the Budget Ministry, the mission of assessing the
economic models of existing data provision charging scheme, in particular by auditing the associated
costs and income. The SGMAP must submit its proposals to the Prime Minister in spring 2013.”
Open government data is now well underway in France. In addition to the information shared (but not
always reusable) by the public service as regards access to law (Légifrance), the land register or
Géoportail (web mapping service), free access has been granted to numerous databases by the
administrations, public establishments and local authorities.
The Etalab mission developed a national platform for hosting and sharing open, free and reusable
public data (data.gouv.fr). It coordinates a network of open data users and data suppliers enabling
over 350,000 datasets to be published. Taskforce Etalab also worked on structuring the ecosystem of
data re-users (start-ups, associations, etc.), in particular by organizing the ‘DataConnexions’
competition, which allowed it to reward 12 particularly promising projects over two events.
- 21 -
The Government’s ambition for open government
The Government wants to get the most out of this policy and make it a lever for modernizing public
action and supporting economic vitality.
1. Opening strategic public datasets
The government wants to encourage the release of high-quality strategic datasets, and wants them to
enable the creation of useful everyday services (such as for transport, environment, health, energy
consumption, tourism, etc.), to be in demand from citizens due to their democratic or practical nature
(budgets and expenditure set out by the administration) or that they meet a legal or regulatory demand
(publication of procurement assignees in line with Article 138 of the Public Procurement Code).
To do this, as of 2013 the SGMAP’s Etalab mission will organize six thematic and open public debates
in order to identify and publish new datasets. These debates will be entrusted to a committee
comprising the SGMAP and the relevant ministry, with a rapporteur or secretariat provided by Etalab;
a report will be drawn up, submitted to the Prime Minister and the relevant minister, who will make
recommendations as regards the coherent release of data and will set out the benefits that can be
In this framework, the Government will examine the possibilities:
Q of expanding the strategy to open up public data to all public administrative establishments, to public
service contractors, to local and regional authorities and independent administrative authorities;
Q of extending the policy to open up public data to industrial and commercial public service missions,
public companies and associations.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister has asked all ministers to set out their strategy for opening up public
data in ministerial modernization and simplification programs, to be sent by mid-March.
2. Facilitate and improve the process of opening up public data in ministerial
departments, public sector bodies and local government
In 2013, Etalab will open a new version of the data.gouv.fr platform. While maintaining its task of widely
distributing raw data, it will eventually become a public showcase for opening up and sharing public
data. In particular, it will offer useful technical tools for taking ownership of said data (data visualization
tools, statistical processing, etc.).
Special attention must be paid to data indexation, its semantic treatment and links between this data.
Etalab, in collaboration with local and regional authorities and other public data producers, will work
on listing and presenting all freely-accessible and reusable public data, regardless of its source.
Similarly, Etalab will continue discussions with data suppliers on the importance of open formats and
the potential for technical convergence, and will set out to bring about greater interoperability between
the data.gouv.fr platform and the information systems of state, local and regional authorities and
European institutions.
Furthermore, as of 2013 Etalab will also launch on a roadmap for the distribution of public data via
application programming interfaces (APIs).
- 22 -
3. Support innovative uses of data and an ecosystem of developers
The State promotes the maximum re-use of public data so that this policy of opening up supports a
strategy of innovation, including social innovation, and economic growth.
Government is the main user of high-quality public data
Public data is produced as part of a public service mission and the public service is often the first
beneficiary of their opening up. The production, collection and publication of data by the administration
must meet the needs of a high-quality public service. Etalab must therefore be available to
administrations to allow them to take these opportunities. In particular, it will organize training sessions,
could arrange ad-hoc workshops to analyze the potential of certain applications in the opening up of
public data (e.g. fight against unemployment) and will publish analysis notes of successful cases.
Government promotes the reuse of public data by companies to create innovative services
Etalab will continue to support innovative companies, the social and cooperative economy as well as
the major industrial groups in their public data re-use projects. In 2013, it will organize three
DataConnexions competitions, which will help identify and make known exemplary re-uses and will
support the organization of the French national open data conference, in collaboration with the Ministry
for Industrial Renewal, the Ministry for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the Ministry for the
Social and Cooperative Economy.
Government supports the commitment of citizens and associations to public data innovation
for the greater good and improved public services
Supporting the commitment of citizens and civic entrepreneurs to co-produce certain information, to
design new services or to help public actors to meet certain challenges is an integral part of Etalab’s
missions. In particular, it will organize competitions mobilizing citizens around data and objectives
shared by the State.
Support and promote data science research
‘Big Data’, the transformation of value chains, strategies and organizations based on the "data culture"
characterize the current forms of the digital revolution. To monitor this rapid revolution, Etalab, using
the same resources, will increase its cooperation with the sphere of higher learning and research and
by the end of 2013 will establish a panel of experts, bringing together technological experts, data
science specialists, jurists, economists and re-users (entrepreneurs or association leaders).
4. Transparency and a culture of data for the modernization of public action
The opening of public data is a major tool for the transformation of public services, in order to improve
its quality and enable it to be assessed by all users. Whenever relevant, the SGMAP will make sure to
build quantitative benchmarks, if possible in real time, to evaluate public policies, so that they can
create useful tools for driving these public policies. As set out by the CIMAP on 18 December 2012,
the SGMAP will work on designing innovations in the public services, using public data.
5. Exhaustive evaluation of existing data charging schemes
At the CIMAP on 18 December 2012, the Prime Minister, in collaboration with the Budget Ministry,
gave the SGMAP the task of assessing the economic models of existing charging schemes for data
provision, notably by auditing the associated costs and income. These recommendations will be
submitted in the first half of 2013.
Etalab and the SGMAP will help administrations which market public information support the
development of their economic models. Observance of the principle of citizens’ free and open access
to reusable public data should not preclude developing monetization strategies for high value-added
services or creating platforms.
- 23 -
6. The evolving legal and administrative framework of open government data
A vade mecum recalling the legal framework for making public data available will be sent to the
Ministries to facilitate their commitment to opening up their data.
In particular, on the occasion of the revision of Directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and
the Council of 17 November 2003 on the re-use of public sector information, the Government will hold
consultations aimed at updating, where necessary, the legal definitions governing the right to access
and re-use public data.
7. France’s international action
Finally, the Government places particular importance on France's influence in the world on the topics
of transparency, Open Data and Open Government. Task force Etalab will help support European Union
open data platform projects (in particular the site launched in early 2013 by the European Commission
Furthermore, France is considering the opportunity of joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP)
to enter into successful cooperation with other governments working in that area. It will come in closer
contact with the Partnership in order to examine the terms of membership. Furthermore, France intends
to make a significant commitment to multilateral cooperation based around an approach of
transparency and Open Government.
Handbook on Open Government Data
On 13 September 2013, the Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault sent members of the government a
circular announcing the publication of a "Handbook on Open Government Data".
This guide to France's policy on opening public data aims to facilitate the commitment of ministries
to this process, stressing the issues involved in sharing public data. It supplies a guide to its
implementation, providing practical questions and answers related to Open Data.
The distribution of this handbook to all ministries and all regional authorities will allow all agents
concerned to become involved in an ambitious policy of opening public data at the service of
modernizing public actions, democracy and economic dynamism.
- 24 -
Action Plan for France
- 25 -
on Open Government Data
September 2013
Am l o ptoJocet of ´pobllc Joto´? uo l bove oo obllqotloo to
eosote tbot my Joto ote occesslble to oll? uo l bove oo
obllqotloo to eosote tbot my Joto coo be teoseJ? coo l sell
my Joto? uo my Joto pot tbe tlqbt to ptlvocy ot tlsk? wbot
ote tbe beoeflts of sbotloq tbe pobllc Joto l ptoJoce? now
coo l sbote my Joto? wblcb Joto sboolJ l beqlo wltb?
These are just some of the questions every civil servant responsible for
the delivery of a public service should now ask himself or herself. This
handbook sets out to provide clear, concise answers.
1. Why open and share public data ?
A priority for government action
The Government attaches great importance to ensuring open access and reuse of public data
(“Open Data”). This policy is essential to the construction of a more open, more effective
government. It is a major dimension in the life of our democracy and the modernisation of
government. It is also an important tool for the stimulation of economic dynamism and innovation.
On 17 May 2012 this priority was part of the Code of Ethics signed by all members of the
government at the very first meeting of the Council of Ministers of its term in office. It is reflected in
eleven decisions taken at the first three meetings of the Interministerial Committee on government
modernisation (Comité interministériel pour la modernisation de l’action publique – CIMAP),
chaired by the Prime Minister on 18 December 2012, 2 April and 17 July 2013. An ambitious
strategic roadmap was adopted at the government seminar on the digital economy on 28
February 2013
. It is also a declared commitment to which France has subscribed with the
adoption of the G8 Open Data Charter on 18 June 2013 by the Heads of State and Government
of the G8



- 26 -
A programme for more open, more exemplary and more effective government
(“Open Government”)
Ensuring that information is openly available and can be shared is the way in which a modern
State can stay accountable to the people, open up dialogue with civil society and place its trust
in the collective intelligence of its citizens.
It is also – in many cases – a way of simplifying the internal operations of the State: government
departments are the primary beneficiaries of open access to the data they have created for the
requirements of public service. Open data are often better data, since data sharing between
departments makes it possible to build more comprehensive systems and public officials gain from
the ability to base their work on data produced by other officials for public service tasks similar to
their own.
It is also a tool for the construction of working relationships with actors with a passionate interest in
the public good who will be enabled to extend government action by designing new services that
will be useful to the public at large. A number of examples of open public data show the extent to
which this policy can be a foundation for a new relationship between the State and its citizens:
encouraging straightforward consultation of information and thus responding to questions raised
by users of public services, permitting the formation of viewpoints other than those of the State,
enriching local democratic debate, fostering the development of public services for the disabled,
facilitating the introduction of new services that make access to public services easier, the
creation of interactive maps, and so on.
And lastly, it is a tool for building trust through open, transparent policy-making both at national
level and in international relations.

A strategy for innovation and stimulation of the economy
Since the digital revolution, data has also taken on central importance in the economy. Open,
shared public data will enable access to essential information that will deepen the analysis of
many decision-makers, save time and money, and, in many sectors, allow for better informed
decisions to be reached by all actors, as well as encourage the development of many high value-
added services, e.g. in tourism, transport, health and control of energy consumption.
It is therefore both a strategy for sovereignty and in many cases a major tool for economic
Which data are covered by the open data policy?
All the data produced or held by government and covered by the open data policy (see the
definition below) must be shared, free of charge, and must be freely reusable.
First and foremost, it is important to provide open and shared data in areas likely to be important
for democracy or to present benefits for those reusing the data. This means that complete data
series, data suitable for building reference information, frequently updated data, geo-localized
data and data relating to the transparency of official actions are particularly relevant.
Annex 2 lists some examples of data that are frequently reused.
- 27 -
2. The legal framework for open public data
What exactly are “public data”?
In ordinary parlance the expression “public data” is sometimes conflated with “all data accessible
on line”. This is not the meaning of “public data” in the context of Open Government Data policy,
which is based on the legislation about access to official documents and the European directive
on the reuse of public sector information. The open data policy covers information and data
produced or received by official bodies in connection with their delivery of public services,
published by official bodies, or available for communication to any person requesting it. The
information concerned must be presented in a format suitable for automatic processing and
French law 78-753 of 17 July 1978 on the right of access to official documents defines the latter as
follows in its first article: “[...] irrespective of their date, location, form or medium, documents
produced or received in the course of execution of their public service tasks by central
government, local and regional authorities and generally any public or private sector entities or
individuals charged with such tasks. Such documents notably include dossiers, reports, studies,
minutes, affidavits, statistics, directives, instructions, circulars, ministerial notes and replies,
correspondence, opinions, forecasts and decisions. [...]”.
The right of access to and reuse of public data therefore cover texts, memoranda, documents,
tables and statistics produced by government departments in connection with the delivery of
public services. They do not cover preparatory, un-finalized documents produced by official
bodies for internal consideration.
Information relating to named individuals, personal information and information protected by
confidentiality as provided in law (relating to national defence for example) are excluded from
the scope of data that can be made public, unless otherwise determined by law or regulation.
Statistical information must be published in compliance with the law of 1951, as well as Article 285
of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, which defines statistical confidentiality.
What does the open public data policy involve?
Opening and sharing public information aims at making available to the general public, by
default and on the Internet, all raw public data destined to be made freely accessible and
reusable free of charge. The right of access to such data must be respected by central
government, local and regional authorities and generally all persons and entities in the public or
private sector charged with public service tasks.
The right of access to official documents has been acknowledged to constitute a “public
freedom” by the French Council of State (CE, 29 April 2002, X., no. 228830). The Declaration of the
Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 already stipulates in Article 15 that “Society has the right
to require of every public agent an account of its administration”.
In 1997, the Government broadened this principle by deciding that “essential public data” should
be placed on line for access free of charge.
In 2003, directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003
on the reuse of public sector information, incorporated in French law by the ordinance of 6 June
2005 and the official decree of 30 December 2005, enabled the reuse of the public documents
and information held by public sector organisations. The Prime Minister’s circular and the official
decree of 26 May 2011 laid down a principle whereby such reuse should be free of constraints,
straightforward and free of charge for all members of the public.
- 28 -
And finally, the decree of 21 February 2011 created the Prime Minister’s taskforce Etalab
(data.gouv.fr) for Open Government Data, attached to the Secretariat General for the
Modernization of Public Action (SGMAP) on 30 October 2012. Etalab is tasked with assisting public
departments in providing open access to their public data, managing the national Open Data
platform data.gouv.fr and encouraging the community of data reusers.
The Government reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of free and open reuse of public data
at the meeting of the Interministerial Committee on government modernisation (CIMAP) on 18
December 2012 and in the Government’s “Roadmap for Open Government Data” published on
28 February 2013.
The data made available on the data.gouv.fr web platform are all published under the terms of
an “Open Licence” to guarantee the widest possible freedom of reuse while at the same time
providing the greatest possible legal certainty to producers and reusers of public data:
by promoting the widest possible reuse and authorizing the reproduction, redistribution,
adaptation and commercial use of such data;
by placing the policy in an international framework compatible with the standards created
by the Open Data licences developed abroad, notably the UK government (Open
Government Licence) and other international standards (ODC-BY, CC-BY 2.0).
Why should data be published in raw format and what are the various formats on
The goal of the open public data policy is to encourage and facilitate the reuse and
reinterpretation of data in the most automated and standardised fashion possible. Raw data sets –
as produced or used by official organisations for public service purposes – are extremely
advantageous in this context. It is preferable to disseminate such data in structured formats
without using presentational devices (e.g. colour, merged cells, files with multiple tabs) or functions
(e.g. macro-commands, dynamic cross-correlation tables, and so on).
In order to allow the data to be reused simply and by as many reusers as possible, it is
recommended that the data be presented in open formats (e.g. CSV, JSON, XML, RDF) since
these allow reuse without restricting access or implementation, unlike closed or proprietary
formats. The Prime Minister’s circular of 19 September 2012 on the use of open source software in
official departments encourages the use of such reusable and open formats.
As far as possible, open access to public data requires raw data to be distributed in standardised
formats that allow simplified reuse in software applications. Data can also be streamed via
programming interfaces (API).
It is also recommended that the data distributed should be as exhaustive and as accurate as
possible, provided in a fine-grained form within the limits set by statistical confidentiality and based
on common reference criteria and defined, published nomenclatures.
Where such open formats do not exist, it is nevertheless recommended that the data should be
shared in the original format rather than simply abandoning distribution. Etalab recommends that
as far as possible the actual original format should be sought rather than, for example, PDF, which
has been developed for ease of reading and is in common circulation.
Should data be indexed before distribution?
Metadata qualification and indexing are essential to ease of reuse. Information is very difficult to
locate if it is not indexed and difficult to reuse if not precisely described.
Such additional information describing data is termed “metadata”. Etalab thus proposes
standardised descriptive fields for all public producers of data to enable them to specify data
- 29 -
context and content. Most notably, they are asked to characterise their data (title, description,
keywords, etc.) by answering the following questions:
Who produced the data?
When were the data produced?
What time period is covered?
What geographical areas are covered?
What subjects are covered?
Additionally, in order to facilitate the widest possible reuse of public data, Etalab recommends
that all data sets should be accompanied by a description of their content. This additional
document can prove to be of great importance for reusers.
How can we ensure the quality of the data placed on line?
Public data are produced or collected in connection with the delivery of public services. Their
quality is therefore generally set at a level suited to the day-to-day work of the official body
concerned and, depending on their initial purpose, for relevant statistical processing. The
additional document describing a data set may if necessary specify the methods used to
produce the information and the intrinsic limitations of the data proposed.
Nevertheless, the large information systems used by central government and local and regional
authorities, just as those used by the private sector, can be subject to error. The existence of such
errors should not hold back progress towards opening data by default. Openness and dialogue
with data reusers will encourage the detection of any such issues.
For this reason it is recommended that the expectation of open access to the data and the need
to qualify data sets should be made an integral part of information system design and evolutions.
Can public data be sold?
The legal and regulatory framework recalled by the Prime Minister at the CIMAP meeting of 18
December 2012 and subsequently at the Government Seminar on the digital economy of 28
February 2013 lays down the principle that access free of charge to public data is the default
In the case of certain types of data covered by the obligation of public accountability, such
freedom from monetary charge is a precondition. In other cases, experience has shown that
making such data available free of charge fosters the creation of services that add economic or
social value, and thereby the emergence of new services for the public and extra revenue for the
However, the law does not systematically rule out the billing of costs incurred in making public
data available: indeed, it authorizes the billing of such costs and those arising from value-added
services. This authorization is often important for operators whose task is to produce information
and for whom a balanced budget may depend on this extra source of revenue.
In any case, it is important that fees possibly charged for data should not create de facto
monopolies or barriers to entry likely hold innovation back – especially innovation by start-ups.
The official decree of 26 May 2011 stipulates that from 1 July 2011, information and categories of
information whose reuse may be made subject to payment of a fee must be included in a list laid
down by decree, and therefore following an express decision by the Prime Minister.
In the case of fees established prior to the entry into force of the above decree, government
departments and public establishments with official remits had until 1 July 2012 to enter the
- 30 -
relevant information and categories of information on a second list. Both lists are published on the
data.gouv.fr website.
This procedure applies only to public information subject to a fee for reuse as defined in Chapter II,
Title 1 of law 78-753 of 17 July 1978.
At the CIMAP meeting of 18 December 2012, the Prime Minister resolved to set up a taskforce to
assess the economic models for such fees. This taskforce reported its conclusions to the Prime
Minister in the summer of 2013, notably providing a “cost-benefit balance sheet” and summarising
“factors justifying the relevance” of fees of this kind and the conditions on which they may be
maintained. In the autumn of 2013 the Government will announce its decisions on access free of
charge to new data sets and possible changes to the business models of certain operators.
Are there risks for the protection of individual privacy?
In practice, the government’s open data policy simply does not include personal data.
There are however cases in which public information of personal character can be published by
government on the basis of an express provision (e.g. lists of pupils who have passed the high
school examination, the baccalauréat). In such cases, the law of 17 July 1978 provides as follows:
“Public information containing personal data may be reused if the interested parties consent
thereto, if the authority holding the information is able to ensure anonymity or, if anonymity cannot
be guaranteed, where legislative or regulatory provisions allow such publication.
“The reuse of public information containing personal data is made conditional on adherence to
the provisions of law 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data Processing, Data Files and Individual
It should also be recalled that the law of 7 June 1951 defines statistical confidentiality, which
private individuals to guarantee due confidentiality for their personal and family lives
private companies to protect commercial secrets.
3. How is an Open Data initiative best undertaken?
What channels can be used to distribute public data?
The Open Data platform data.gouv.fr can host all public data, including data produced by
central government departments, public agencies and local authorities.
Additionally, some official departments, local authorities and operators have developed web
portals allowing open access to and the sharing of specific categories of public information
meeting the particular constraints of their own information systems and the expectations of the
community of stakeholders reusing their data.
In such cases, there is no need to duplicate the data on data.gouv.fr but it is essential that the
platform should hold a descriptive summary of the data containing the relevant metadata in
order to facilitate research by visitors to the website. This use of a national platform improves the
referencing and visibility of data publishers and helps strengthen the dialogue with their
stakeholder community.

cOíllA (Consell o'orlenLaLlon oe l'eolLlon publlque eL oe l'lnformaLlon aomlnlsLraLlve / cooocll fot pollcy qolJooce oo pobllc Jocomeots
ooJ offlclol lofotmotloo) , o speclollst otqoolsotloo, wlll sbottly be lssoloq o oote oo tbe ptotectloo of petsoool Joto lo tbe cootext of tbe
opeo pobllc Joto pollcy.
- 31 -
Who should be contacted in order to launch an open public data programme?
Taskforce Etalab is responsible for the creation and development of the open data platform
data.gouv.fr. The task force drives a network of 12 ministerial “Open Data” coordinators answering
directly to the general secretaries of their ministries. This network of coordinators meets every
month in the Open Data steering committee led by Etalab. They are reliant on correspondents in
directorates, offices and sections of their own government departments. There is therefore an
Open Data coordinator assigned to the general secretary of each ministry.
The Government’s roadmap on the open public data programme requires Etalab to seek to
ensure a constant easing of the technical conditions governing the transfer of data to the
data.gouv.fr platform. The relevant procedures will for this reason evolve rapidly in the direction of
greater simplicity. In any event, if your public service organisation chooses to go down the open
data road, Etalab is responsible for assisting you and facilitating the implementation of your
In practice, how are data published on data.gouv.fr?
Two methods can be used to publish public data on data.gouv.fr:
Manual upload: the producer logs into the administration area of data.gouv.fr, describes
the data by entering the “metadata” associated with the relevant data set and sends or
references the data file to be placed on line. A data set can be uploaded in a few minutes
to the site’s administration area and the procedure can be carried out by a single person.
Organisations wishing to do so may delegate the validation and/or publication of the data
to a third party other than the producer.
Automatic upload: this approach is appropriate for official departments with large volumes
of data generated by information systems or data subject to frequent updating. Etalab can
provide free of charge a standardised and documented interface for automated data
transfer, and if requested can liaise with the producer’s technical teams to support
implementation of the interface.
What is the spin-off from an open public data programme?
Opening up public data for free access is not only a way of complying with the democratic
principles of transparency and public explanation of official decisions. It is a policy that can also
prove highly useful:
by simplifying internal processes within government departments themselves (notably by
encouraging the circulation of knowledge between different sections and making the day-
to-day work of public officials easier);
by simplifying official procedures for users and building a relationship of trust with the public;
by extending and amplifying the work done by government departments by means of
additional services developed by external innovators;
by attracting innovative cultures from a wide range of backgrounds.
SGMAP is entirely at the disposal of departments wishing to work on these objectives in the context
of an open public data project.
4. How will the data be reused?
What does the reuse of public data involve?
The reuse of public data can lead to the development of new services such as mobile
applications, websites, or visual representations of data by the press (“data visualisations”), among
- 32 -
other applications. Such reuse must be authorized without any restriction other than those for
which provision is made in the law on CADA (Commission d’accès aux documents administratifs /
Commission on Access to Official Documents)(this requires that the information not be degraded,
that its meaning should not be denatured and that details should be provided of sources and the
latest updating).
Public data can also be reused by researchers, teachers, the managers of non-profit associations
and the general public, to define novel viewpoints on society and public policy.
How will data placed on line be reused?
The objective of an Open Data policy is to foster creativity, stimulate innovation and encourage
the widest possible reuse of public data, trusting in the collective intelligence and the desire of the
public to create new and innovative services of relevance to all.
The “Open Licence” under which the data are published on data.gouv.fr also recalls one simple
rule: reuse is the responsibility of the reuser. Illegal uses are no less illegal because they are based
on public data.
How can the various types of data reuse be monitored?
In order to encourage the reuse of public data, whether those data come from central
government, local and regional authorities or other public service bodies, in 2012 and 2013 Etalab
organized a series of four competitions for the creation of innovative projects and services under
the general title “Dataconnexions”. The various producers of public data are closely associated
with the winning projects. By helping drive the Open Data community, Etalab is also helping to
highlight the best ways in which data can be reused, notably by promoting them to government.
Furthermore, the developments to come in the data.gouv.fr web portal will allocate increasing
importance to the ownership by the public at large of the shared data, to data enrichment by
users – especially members of the general public – and to highlighting the value of the ways in
which data are reused.
5. To find out more
About Etalab: www.data.gouv.fr.
On government modernisation: www.modernisation.gouv.fr.
- 33 -
Annexe 1
Document references

Articles 14 and 15 of the Declaration
of the Rights of Man and of the
Citizen, 1789
Directive 2003/98/EC of the European
Parliament and of the Council of 17
November 2003 on the reuse of public
sector information
Law 78-753 of 17 July 1978 on a range
of measures to improve relations
between the official departments
and the general public and sundry
administrative, social and fiscal
Law 51-711 of 7 June 1951 on
obligations, coordination and
confidentiality with regard to statistics
Law 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on Data
Processing, Data Files and Individual
Ordinance 2005-650 of 6 June 2005 on
freedom of access to official
documents and the reuse of public
Official decree 2005-1755 of 30
December 2005 on freedom of
access to official documents and the
reuse of public information,
implementing Law 78-753 of 17 July
- 34 -
Official decree 2011-577 of 26 May
2011 on the reuse of public
information held by government and
official public establishments
The circular of 26 May 2011
concerning the creation by the
‘Etalab’ task force of a single web
portal ‘data.gouv.fr’ for public
information held by the government
and application of the provisions
governing the right of reuse of public
CE, 29 April 2002, X., no. 228830
Government roadmap on open and
shared public data, 28 February 2013
G8 Open Data Charter, 18 June 2013
- 35 -
Annexe 2
Examples of files frequently downloaded from data.gouv.fr
General statistics
National census, 2008
Foreign trade statistics by region and département
Geographical information
IGN topographic bases for France and the Regions
Station/line connections on the RATP Paris area rail network
Annual traffic arriving via RATP stations
Geographical directory of municipalities in Metropolitan France
Contact details for diplomatic representations
Lists of passenger stations on the national rail network, with contact
Government transparency
Initial finance bill – general budget
Finance bill, ministry by ministry
Social security funding and expenditure
Lists of subsidies granted by government to non-profit associations
Lists of public procurement contracts signed in 2011
State financial aid to SMEs
Information on safety and law & order
Information on the locations of road traffic accidents involving injury
Statistics on criminal offences by département 1996-2011
Product recall notices, 2011
List of the 150 most frequent offences resulting in criminal convictions
Health and food and environmental safety
Health expenditure reimbursed by national health insurance, region by
region (GP healthcare, public/private healthcare facilities, medico-social
CIQUAL table for the nutritional content of foodstuffs
Efficiency and accessibility of public services
Successful Schooling Networks (Réseaux de Réussite Scolaire - RRS)
Non-profit associations declared to be in the public interest
Statistics on competitiveness clusters
Results indicators for general and technical high schools
National survey of sports facilities
Quarterly detention centre population statistics
Culture and heritage information
- 36 -
Comprehensive data on the holdings of the French national library
List of the year’s cultural events
Numbers of visitors to museums and exhibitions, yearly figures 1973-2008
Lists of museums in France
Economic and corporate resources
Terrestrial digital television frequency plan
Fruit and vegetable prices, by market and by product
Democracy in practice
2012 Presidential Election – results
2008 Municipal Elections – results
2009 European Elections – results
a t a d e v i s n e h e r p m o C
u t l u c s ’ r a e y e h t f o t s i L
o t s r o t i s i v f o s r e b m u N
e r F e h t f o s g n i d l o h e h t n o
s t n e v e l a r
, s n o i t i b i h x e d n a s m u e s u m
y r a r b i l l a n o i t a n h c n e
f y l r a e y 3 7 9 1 s e r u g i -2008 o t s r o t i s i v f o s r e b m u N
a r F n i s m u e s u m f o s t s i L
Economic and corporate resources
v e l e t l a t i g i d l a i r t s e r r e T
p e l b a t e g e v d n a t i u r F
Democracy in practice
t c e l E l a i t n e d i s e r P 2 1 0 2
i t c e l E l a p i c i n u M 8 0 0 2 o
, s n o i t i b i h x e d n a s m u e s u m
e c n a
orate resources
n a l p y c n e u q e r f n o i s i
p y b d n a t e k r a m y b , s e c i r p
n o i t – s t l u s e r
s n o s t l u s e r
f y l r a e y 3 7 9 1 s e r u g i 2008
t c u d o r p
i t c e l E l a p i c i n u M 8 0 0 2 o
o i t c e l E n a e p o r u E 9 0 0 2
s n o – s t l u s e r
s n o – s t l u s e r
Report on the economic models
of Open Government Data
- 37 -
Action Plan for France
To facilitate access to data and its reuse by all, the Prime Minister stressed the principle of free-of-
charge public data reuse at the first meeting of the Inter-ministerial Committee on the Modernization
of Public Action on 18 December 2012.
In order to progress towards the broader cost-free reuse of open data, he set up a task force to assess
the existing royalty fees for data reuse and their economic models, assigned to Mr Mohammed
Adnène Trojette, magistrate at the French Court of Auditors, assisted by Mr Rémy Lombard.
The conclusions of this report on the desirable changes to the economic models for the provision of
public data should encourage the reuse of data while preserving the quality and sustainability
of its production.
- 38 -
Cpen Government Data
Are all excepLlons Lo Lhe prlnclple of cosL-free access and reuse leglLlmaLe?

jíkcíkl15 - loll tepott lo lteocb ovolloble bete.
Mr Mohammed Adnene 18C!L11L
MaglsLraLe aL Lhe lrench CourL of AudlLors
WlLh Lhe conLrlbuLlon of Mr 8emy LCM8A8u

- 39 -
Executive summary

1. lor over lllLeen years, CovernmenL has been aware ol Lhe lmporLance ol Lhe oaLa
proouceo ano collecLeo by lLs oeparLmenLs ano agencles ano Lhe neeo Lo make such lnlormaLlon
avallable lree ol charge lor users ano reusers, ln oroer Lo sLrengLhen oemocracy ano oevelop Lhe
economy, as well as Lo mooernlse Lhe operaLlon ol governmenL. A shllL ln oplnlon has leo Lhe
auLhorlLles Lo oecloe Lo lay oown a prlnclple whereby publlc lnlormaLlon shoulo be maoe avallable
lor reuse lree ol charge
. 1hls pollcy oeclslon ls rellecLeo ln Lhe seLLlng up ol Lhe web porLal
oaLa.gouv.lr unoer Lhe managemenL ol Lasklorce LLalab.
Powever, lor varlous reasons - buogeL requlremenLs, monopollsLlc slLuaLlons, a vlew ol lnlormaLlon
as an asseL lrom whlch resources can be oerlveo or Lhe oeslre Lo llmlL oemano or proLecL an exlsLlng
ecosysLem - LwenLy or so olllclal publlc servlces have lmplemenLeo or malnLalneo a lee reglme. 1hls
sLems ln some cases lrom a genulne worry on Lhe parL ol a oeparLmenL LhaL lL mlghL be unable Lo
saLlsly reusers ln Lerms ol quallLy ol oaLa ano servlce, as well as a lear LhaL Lhe lnlormaLlon Lhus
provloeo coulo be useo Lo crlLlclse publlc servlce oellvery.
AlLhough several CovernmenL oeparLmenLs oescrlbe Lhe lees Lhey charge as an obsLacle Lo Lhe
capLure ol value by large corporaLe groups maklng use ol Lax opLlmlsaLlon schemes, Lhe
ellecLlveness ol such an approach can be seen Lo be lllusory when Lhe amounL chargeo ls compareo
wlLh Lhe resources avallable Lo such companles.
2. uesplLe a survey conoucLeo ln 2012, knowleoge ol such lees has been paLchy, leaolng
Lo esLlmaLes varylng by a lacLor ol up Lo Lhree oepenolng on Lhe source consulLeo. ln reallLy, Lhe
revenue generaLeo sLooo aL a LoLal ol t33m ln 2012. MosL ol Lhls LoLal ls spreao over a very small
number ol operaLors ano mlnlsLrles: Lhe naLlonal lnsLlLuLe lor SLaLlsLlcs ano Lconomlc SLuoles
(lnSLL) ano Lhe naLlonal lnsLlLuLe ol Ceographlc ano loresLry lnlormaLlon (lCn) each recelve nearly
t10m ano Lhe MlnlsLry ol Lhe lnLerlor almosL t4m. Cl a LoLal ol 27 lee reglmes Lhe 14 smallesL brlng
ln, Laklng Lhem all LogeLher, less Lhan 37 ol Lhe LoLal (less Lhan t1.73m). AlmosL 137 ol Lhe LoLal
amounL recelveo comes lrom publlc-secLor organlsaLlons - l.e. oLher CovernmenL oeparLmenLs,
local ano reglonal auLhorlLles, SLaLe-owneo enLerprlses, ano so on.
1he proceeos lrom such charges, whlch have oecllneo sharply slnce 2010 (by 337 ln Lhe space ol
Lwo years), are ln mosL cases generaLeo by wholesale or reLall sales ol oaLa, ano more rarely ln
reLurn lor Lhe oellvery ol cusLomlseo servlces. AlLhough, lL may be aooeo, Lhe enLlLles concerneo
conLrlbuLe ln some cases Lo Lhe open oaLa pollcy, Lhe buslness mooels unoerlylng Lhese charges
have Lhe ellecL ol llmlLlng oaLa reuse. lnoeeo, Lhe lees chargeo, whlch olLen reouce wlLh volume,
Leno Lo llmlL access Lo esLabllsheo acLors or acLors wlLh oellnlLe loeas on how Lhe oaLa wlll be useo.
1he upshoL ol Lhls ls LhaL Lhose wlLh more llmlLeo resources (Lhe general publlc, sLuoenLs,
researchers ano sLarL-ups, lor example) are kepL ouL by such barrlers Lo enLry.
1hls ls an unoeslrable slLuaLlon glven Lhe expecLeo galns lrom a pollcy ol openness on publlc
lnlormaLlon, Lhe very purpose ol whlch ls Lo provloe a publlc gooo as a vecLor lor poslLlve
exLernallLles. lL ls all Lhe more unwelcome lor Lhe lacL LhaL ln many cases Lhe oaLa seLs lnvolveo are

1he expresslons ºpubllc oaLa", ºpubllc lnlormaLlon" ano ºpubllc secLor lnlormaLlon" all reler Lo Lhe same concepL: oaLa proouceo or
collecLeo by olllclal oeparLmenLs ano esLabllshmenLs olsclosure ol whlch can be requesLeo unoer Lhe ºCAuA" law (CAuA = commlssloo
J´occès oox Jocomeots oJmlolsttotlfs / Commlsslon on Access Lo Clllclal uocumenLs) ol 1978, whlch lncorporaLes ln lrench law Lhe
Luropean ºÞSl" olrecLlve ol 2003. Þersonal oaLa oo noL consLlLuLe publlc oaLa oLher Lhan ln excepLlonal clrcumsLances ano sub[ecL Lo
cerLaln conolLlons (see below).
- 40 -
relevanL Lo Lhe exerclse ol oemocracy or have ma[or soclo-economlc poLenLlal, such as geographlcal,
meLeorologlcal or healLh oaLa lor example.
3. 1he absence ol hlsLorlcal perspecLlve means LhaL Lhere ls llLLle sclenLlllc research Lo
enable preclse quanLlllcaLlon ol LhaL poLenLlal. neverLheless, experlmenLs conoucLeo abroao aL
naLlonal or secLorlal level suggesL LhaL an lnlLlal phase ol lnvesLmenL ln open publlc oaLa ls lolloweo
by a phase ln whlch Lhe soclal ano economlc benellLs lar ouLwelgh Lhe cosL lor Lhe naLlonal
ln Lhe area ol geographlcal oaLa lor example a llnnlsh sLuoy lnolcaLes LhaL Lhere ls more
oevelopmenL ol companles reuslng oaLa ln counLrles where publlc lnlormaLlon ls openly avallable.
1hls ouLcome ls corroboraLeo by sLuoles conoucLeo by Lhe lrench naLlonal lnsLlLuLe ol Ceographlc
ano loresLry lnlormaLlon (lCn): Lhe move Lo provlslon lree ol charge ol Lhls publlc esLabllshmenL's
large scale relerence map lor organlsaLlons responslble lor oellvery ol olllclal publlc servlces leo Lo a
LwenLylolo lncrease ln Lhe quanLlLles ol oaLa oownloaoeo, generaLlng esLlmaLeo exLra soclal revenue
ol t114m compareo wlLh losL earnlngs ol arouno t6m lrom charges. Slmllarly, an open oaLa pollcy
on geographlcal ano meLeorologlcal lnlormaLlon ln Lhe unlLeo SLaLes has leo Lo Lhe creaLlon ol
mulLlnaLlonal groups valueo aL several bllllon euros (e.g. ¹be weotbet cboooel ano Cotmlo).
1he unlLeo klngoom, a counLry seen, llke Lhe unlLeo SLaLes, as a ploneer ln open publlc oaLa, has
esLlmaLeo aL £6.8bn (t7.9bn) Lhe revenue ln 2010 ano 2011 generaLeo lor 8rlLlsh socleLy by open
publlc oaLa, ol whlch £3bn (t3.8bn) ls prollL. As an example, a sLarL-up has hlghllghLeo Lhe exlsLence
ol areas ln whlch masslve savlngs can be maoe by analyslng prescrlpLlons ol paLenLeo orugs ano Lhe
corresponolng generlcs.
Such posslblllLles are noL beyono reach lor lrance, whlch ls noL only oeemeo Lo be among Lhe
ploneers buL also one ol Lhe counLrles maklng Lhe mosL raplo progress ln Lhls oomaln. 1hls lacL,
enoorseo by a number ol observers, ls Lrue wlLh regaro Lo Lhe C8, Lhe Luropean unlon ano a group
ol 23 counLrles wlLh hlghly olverse prollles.
4. ln oroer Lo reallse Lhls poLenLlal, CovernmenL can comblne large volumes ol hlgh-
quallLy open publlc oaLa wlLh a large ano olverse populaLlon ol reusers - Lhe general publlc,
researchers, solLware oeveloper communlLles ano prlvaLe companles. ll such a comblnaLlon ls Lo be
laclllLaLeo ano encourageo, lL ls essenLlal LhaL CovernmenL aoopL a sLraLegy baseo on an ellecLlve
web plaLlorm Lhrough whlch open oaLa can be maoe avallable ln lormaLs sulLable lor auLomaLeo
processlng. Such plaLlorms are parL ano parcel ol Lhe creaLlon ol Lhe lnlormaLlon lnlrasLrucLure
essenLlal Lo boLh oemocracy ano economlc oevelopmenL.
A plaLlorm-baseo sLraLegy has a number ol aovanLages. ln aoolLlon Lo enabllng publlc oeparLmenLs
Lo keep conLrol ol olllclal oaLa, lL also glves Lhem a unlque opporLunlLy Lo observe ano Lo
unoersLano how Lhelr lnlormaLlon ls useo ano reuseo, wlLh a vlew Lo loenLllylng promlslng
lnnovaLlons ano oerlvlng prooucLlvlLy galns, baseo on volunLary conLrlbuLlons lrom Lhe ecosysLem
Lhus creaLeo. AoolLlonally, lL provloes a lramework lor Lhe auLomaLeo exchange ol oaLa beLween
CovernmenL oeparLmenLs.
3. Where lL can be seen Lo be necessary Lo luno parL ol Lhe cosL lncurreo ln seLLlng up a
plaLlorm ol Lhls klno, CovernmenL musL be ln a poslLlon Lo oeLermlne exacLly whlch acLors shoulo
bear Lhe llnanclal buroen, along wlLh Lhe mosL sulLable lunolng meLhoos. 1he llnanclng ol Lhe ma[or
olglLal plaLlorms provloes an example ol Lhls: Lhese are usually lunoeo by a lracLlonal levy on Lhe
value ol Lhe lnnovaLlon ecosysLem Lhey are able Lo aLLracL, leeo wlLh oaLa ano sLlmulaLe, raLher Lhan
by Lrylng Lo oevelop Lhelr own appllcaLlons or preolcL Lhe ways ln whlch Lhelr lnlormaLlon wlll be
- 41 -
1he cosL ol proouclng ano collecLlng publlc lnlormaLlon shoulo, sLrlcLly speaklng, be borne
excluslvely by Lhe naLlonal buogeL glven LhaL Lhls ls ongolng operaLlonal expenolLure lor publlc
servlce oellvery. ÞaymenL ol parL ol LhaL cosL by reusers leaos Lo a ma[or rlsk lor Lhe survlval ol Lhe
publlc servlce. 1hls ls so because Lhe SLaLe monopoly on Lhe prooucLlon ol publlc relerence
lnlormaLlon ls belng erooeo aL an ever-lncreaslng raLe. uay by oay, publlc oaLa seLs are belng
lncreaslngly replaceo by Lhose collecLeo ano proouceo by ma[or corporaLe groups ano by
collaboraLlve pro[ecLs orlven by large numbers ol unpalo conLrlbuLors.
lL ls posslble Lo recover Lhe marglnal cosLs lnLrlnslc Lo Lhe olsLrlbuLlon ol lnlormaLlon vla web
plaLlorms by charglng a lee, sub[ecL Lo Lhe requlremenL LhaL any such charge musL noL acL as a brake
on oaLa reuse or as a barrler Lo enLry lor aoolLlonal reusers. Þrelerence shoulo be glven Lo mooels
LhaL comblne lree provlslon ano a graouaLeo lee scale baseo on Lhe caLegory ol reuser ano on
crlLerla correcLly oellneo Lo maLch Lhe value-aooeo generaLeo by Lhe plaLlorm.
LxperlmenLaLlon wlLh oLher ways ol recoverlng marglnal cosLs baseo on volunLary conLrlbuLlons or
cooperaLlve lunolng woulo be uselul.
6. Whlle lL ls unoenlable LhaL a number ol publlc servlces are oepenoenL on charges, Lhe
LranslLlon Lo new buslness mooels ls urgenLly neeoeo ll Lhe quallLy ol publlc lnlormaLlon ls Lo be
malnLalneo or lmproveo, or lnoeeo ll Lhe survlval ol Lhe publlc servlce lLsell ls Lo be guaranLeeo. ln
oroer Lo ensure LhaL LhaL LranslLlon ooes noL cause excesslve oesLablllsaLlon ln Lhe enLlLles lnvolveo,
lL ls recommenoeo LhaL Lhey be supporLeo by Lhe relevanL lnLermlnlsLerlal booles, ano noLably by
Lhe general secreLarlaL lor governmenL mooernlsaLlon (SCMAÞ).
Such a LranslLlon ls noL only lmperaLlve - lL ls also lnherenL ln publlc servlce leglslaLlon by vlrLue ol
Lhe lunoamenLal prlnclple whereby any publlc servlce may evolve ln llne wlLh Lhe publlc lnLeresL (Lhe
´ptloclpe Je motoblllté´), whlch musL leao Lo a requlremenL lor Lechnologlcal lnnovaLlon ano
aoapLaLlon ol Lhe buslness mooels ano ways ln whlch publlc oaLa are proouceo ano olssemlnaLeo.

- 42 -
A llLLle over lllLeen years ago now, Lhe Lhen Þrlme MlnlsLer Llonel !ospln oeclareo LhaL
"henceforth, essentio/ pub/ic doto most be ovoi/ob/e free of chorqe to o// on the lnternet." 1wo
years laLer, a worklng group chalreo by Mr. Manoelkern preolcLeo LhaL ºlotetoctlvlty wlll teoJ to
expooJ tbe Jefloltloo of 'essenLlal oaLa'. ¹bls ls so becoose os tbey move ftom Joto tepoest to Joto
tepoest osets ote eocootoqeJ to seek locteosloqly JetolleJ lofotmotloo. 1here is o risk thot the
boundory for unpoid provision wi// become increosinq/y difficu/t to drow".
lnoeeo, as Lhe mlsslon sLaLemenL l recelveo on 23 March lasL (see annex) lnolcaLes: "the
reuse of pub/ic informotion is qoverned by o princip/e of provision free of chorqe in our /eqis/otion,
but this does o//ow for exceptions to the qenero/ ru/e." Cn a number ol occaslons, aL recenL
lnLermlnlsLerlal meeLlngs on governmenL mooernlsaLlon (ClMAÞ) or aL Lhe lotot eo 5eloe olglLal
lesLlval, Lhe Þrlme MlnlsLer has realllrmeo Lhe lree provlslon prlnclple. 1he MlnlsLer ol
AomlnlsLraLlve 8elorm, uecenLrallzaLlon ano Lhe Clvll Servlce, welcomlng Lhe commlLmenL glven aL
Lhe C8 summlL on 18 !une by Lhe ÞresloenL ol Lhe 8epubllc Lo open publlc oaLa as Lhe oelaulL opLlon,
recenLly recalleo LhaL lL ls Lhe ´ptofoooJ coovlctloo´ ol Lhe CovernmenL LhaL ´oo opeo pobllc Joto
pollcy ls o levet fot tbe moJetolsotloo of tbe opetotloo of qovetomeot.´
1he Þrlme MlnlsLer has askeo Lhe general secreLarlaL lor governmenL mooernlsaLlon
(5ectétotlot Céoétol poot lo MoJetolsotloo Je l´Actloo lobllpoe - SCMAÞ), ln con[uncLlon wlLh Lhe
MlnlsLer wlLh responslblllLy lor Lhe buogeL, Lo "ossess the business mode/s for o// existinq fee
reqimes opp/ied to the use of pub/ic doto, ootobly by ooJltloq tbe televoot costs ooJ teveooe´ ano
has enLrusLeo Lo me Lhe Lask ol provlolng lnpuL lor LhaL assessmenL.
ln oroer Lo aooress Lhls lssue, Lhe commlsslon
has enoeavoureo Lo base lLs consloeraLlons
- Lhe work done on a regu|ar bas|s over Lhe lasL LwenLy or so years by CovernmenL on lssues
relaLlng Lo Lhe olssemlnaLlon ol publlc oaLa
- lnLenslve olscusslon wlLh producers of pub||c |nformat|on, Lhe vlews ol all ol whom have been
hearo ano who have responoeo Lo a LargeLeo quesLlonnalre,
- |nternat|ona| compar|sons carrleo ouL exLremely compeLenLly ln recoro Llme by lrance's
economlc unlLs ln 36 counLrles,
- hear|ngs of ev|dence from competent off|c|a| author|t|es, comprlslng olllclal booles ln lrance, aL
or local level, abroao or ln Lhe Luropean unlon,
- hear|ngs of ev|dence from the genera| pub||c, Members of Þar||ament, representat|ves of non-

8elerreo Lo as Lhe ´fee commlssloo´ lor convenlence ln Lhe presenL reporL.
As long ago as 1992 Þrol. Þhlllppe CauoralL provloeo a summary, ln a reporL on Lhe commerclallsaLlon ol publlc oaLa, ol
Lhe consloeraLlon ol Lhe lssues conoucLeo aL Lhe requesL ol Lhe general secreLarlaL ol Lhe governmenL by C!1l
(Obsetvotolte jotlJlpoe Jes tecbooloqles Je l´lofotmotloo / !uolclal monlLorlng booy on lnlormaLlon Lechnology).
MosL noLably: CAuA (commlssloo J´occès oox Jocomeots oJmlolsttotlfs / Commlsslon on Access Lo Clllclal uocumenLs),
CCLÞlA (coosell J´otleototloo Je l´éJltloo pobllpoe et Je l´lofotmotloo oJmlolsttotlve / Councll lor pollcy guloance on
publlc oocumenLs ano olllclal lnlormaLlon), CnlL (commlssloo ootlooole poot l´lofotmotlpoe et les llbettés / naLlonal
commlsslon lor lnlormaLlon Lechnology ano clvll llberLles) ano Cnnum (coosell ootloool Jo oométlpoe / naLlonal councll
on olglLal Lechnology).
- 43 -
prof|t assoc|at|ons, company managers ano profess|ona| assoc|at|ons
, expert commlLLees ano
qua||f|ed pub||c f|gures, all wlLh an lnLeresL ano lnvolvemenL ln Lhe oebaLe surrounolng Lhe
Lransparency, openness ano sharlng ol publlc oaLa.
1he work ol Lhe commlsslon was greaLly aloeo by support from SGMAÞ - and espec|a||y
taskforce Lta|ab - the budget d|rectorate and AÞIL (Aqeoce Jo pottlmoloe lmmotétlel Je l´ítot /
Agency lor SLaLe lnLanglble asseLs)
. We meL on a very regular basls wlLh Lhelr managers, Leams ano
resource persons, supplemenLlng such meeLlngs wlLh numerous conLacLs vla elecLronlc channels. 1he
work ol Lhe commlsslon was also laclllLaLeo by remarkable cooperaLlon lrom oaLa-proouclng
oeparLmenLs charglng lees lor oaLa reuse.
AL a Llme ol budget constra|nts, Lhe oebaLe as Lo wheLher publlc oaLa shoulo be avallable lor
reuse lree ol charge or ln reLurn lor paymenL has resulLeo ln a crysta|||sat|on of pos|t|ons lnsloe
CovernmenL. Þrooucers ol oaLa are LempLeo Lo proLecL Lhelr revenue source as a oelenslve bulwark
ln aovance ol negoLlaLlons Lo lncrease Lhelr buogeL allocaLlons, whlch Lhey sense are ooomeo Lo lall.
When lL was seL up, AÞlL olLen supporLeo Lhem ln applylng lee reglmes, glven lLs parLlcular
responslblllLy lor asslsLlng mlnlsLrles ln oellnlng ano lmplemenLlng Lhelr managemenL sLraLegy lor
lnLanglble asseLs. AL Lhe same Llme, Lhls conlllcLeo wlLh Lhe creaLlon ol Lasklorce LLalab, LargeLlng as
lL ooes Lhe provlslon lree ol charge ol raw oaLa ano unconsLralneo reuse.
ln Lhe lnLeresLs ol a more |eve|-headed debate, substant|ve |nput for cons|derat|on of the
|ssues by Government ano |nformed off|c|a| dec|s|on-mak|ng on Lhls Loplc, Lhe presenL reporL seLs
- Lo recall Lhe ma|n changes |n Government pos|t|ons |n the past wlLh respecL Lo Lhe cholce
beLween access ano reuse wlLh ano wlLhouL paymenL,
- Lo provloe e|ements - factua|, ob[ect|ve and consensua| - for the character|sat|on ol Lhe lee
reglmes governlng reuse ol publlc lnlormaLlon
- Lo suggesL an ana|ys|s of the re|evance of the bus|ness mode|s chosen by oeparLmenLs LhaL oo
charge lor oaLa reuse,
- Lo lormulaLe poss|b|||t|es of future changes ln such mooels ln oroer Lo guarantee adherence to
the free prov|s|on pr|nc|p|e whlle aL Lhe same Llme permlLLlng a reasonable reLurn Lo be
obLalneo on Lhe lnvesLmenL alreaoy maoe or Lo be maoe ln Lhe luLure by governmenL lor Lhe
LranslLlon Lo an aomlnlsLraLlon "as a p|atform" sLraLegy
1he submlsslon ol Lhe reporL ln !uly 2013 lolloweo a presenLaLlon ol Lhe commlsslon's
concluslons Lo Lhe Þrlme MlnlsLer's olllce on 17 !une 2013 ano Lhe communlcaLlon ol Lhe summarles
lormlng Lhe secono volume.
1he commlsslon was lnvlLeo Lo aLLeno Lhe lorum helo aL Lhe eno ol May by Lhe Clll (Ctoopemeot ltooçols Je l´loJosttle
Je l´lofotmotloo / lrench lnlormaLlon lnousLry assoclaLlon) ano was klnoly granLeo access Lo Lhe assoclaLlon's soclal
neLwork, whlch ls normally resLrlcLeo Lo members.
AÞlL ls an agency wlLh a naLlonwloe remlL answerlng Lo Lhe 1reasury ano Þubllc llnance general olrecLoraLes (unoer Lhe
olllclal oroer ol 23 Aprll 2007 creaLlng a oeparLmenL wlLh a naLlonal remlL Lo be known as Lhe ´Aqeoce Jo lottlmoloe
lmmotétlel Je l´ítot´).
See Lhe summarles appenoeo Lo Lhls reporL.
1o use Lhe expresslon employeo by Lhe experL commlsslon on Lax ano olglLal Lechnology (!anuary 2013).
- 44 -

1he work oone by Lhe commlsslon has leo Lo a number ol observat|ons of facts:
- Io||ow|ng some doctr|na| |ndec|s|on, lrance seems Lo have llnally opLeo lor the pr|nc|p|e of free-
of-charge prov|s|on ol lLs publlc lnlormaLlon.
- noLwlLhsLanolng Lhls, governmenL has puL or ls keeplng ln place charges lor oaLa reuse on
var|ous grounds, wlLh very ||m|ted |eg|t|macy |n some cases.
- CurrenLly, some LwenLy olllclal oeparLmenLs are auLhorlzeo Lo apply or Lo malnLaln charges lor
Lhe reuse ol publlc lnlormaLlon, however, a much sma||er number ol Lhese account for most of
the revenue generaLeo.
- 1haL revenue, a not |ns|gn|f|cant port|on of wh|ch comes from pub||c-sector purchasers, ls
constant|y be|ng eroded.
- 1he aoopLeo buslness mooels, whlch usually lnvolve the sa|e of data on a volume basls (´by tbe
kllo(byte)´) have theoret|ca| and pract|ca| ||m|tat|ons pre[ud|c|a| Lo Lhe reuse ol publlc oaLa, ano
lnoeeo are posslbly problemaLlc unoer compeLlLlon rules.
- Lxper|ence abroad very olLen leaos Lo expecLaLlons ol ma[or benef|ts lrom openlng up publlc
oaLa Lo the genera| pub||c, off|c|a| bod|es and pr|vate enterpr|se. ln lrance, Lhe pollcy aoopLeo
by Lhe naLlonal lnsLlLuLe ol Ceographlc ano loresLry lnlormaLlon (lCn) ln lavour ol provlslon lree
ol charge lor booles responslble lor Lhe oellvery ol publlc servlces are ln accoro wlLh such
1he above observaLlons make lL posslble Lo oellne a number ol ways forward for the
ongo|ng deve|opment ol sysLems lor Lhe olssemlnaLlon ol publlc lnlormaLlon.
I|rst|y, lees lor oaLa reuse shoulo noL acL as a barrler Lo reuse. noL only are such barrlers
lncompaLlble wlLh Lhe pollcy lalo oown by CovernmenL buL Lhey also run Lhe rlsk ol llmlLlng ellorLs Lo
losLer LransparenL, mooernlseo CovernmenL ano compromlslng economlc oevelopmenL.
1hls observaLlon ls noL new. Accorolng Lo ÞACSl (ltoqtomme J'Actloo Coovetoemeotol poot
lo 5oclété Je l'lofotmotloo / CovernmenL acLlon programme lor Lhe lnlormaLlon socleLy), ´lookloq
beyooJ esseotlol pobllc Joto, wbose ftee Jlsttlbotloo ls eoobleJ by tbe lotetoet, tbete ls o wlJe tooqe
of Joto occess to wblcb coostltotes ooe of tbe fooJomeotol cooJltloos fot tbe Jevelopmeot of
loJostty ooJ tbe lofotmotloo motket lo ltooce
. ´Ao loJepeoJeot pobllc flqote [shoulo have been, aL
Lhe Llme ol wrlLlng] oppoloteJ to ptopose to offlclol Jepottmeots tbe bosls fot o cleot Jocttloe oo tbe
scope ooJ cooJltloos fot tbe cbotqloq of fees fot tbe ose of pobllc Joto.´
Second|y, Lhe mooernlsaLlon, power ano ouLreach ol publlc servlces, oynamlc reuse ol
publlc lnlormaLlon ano Lhe soclal ano economlc benellLs LhaL can be expecLeo Lo be generaLeo
Lhereby oepeno on Lhe ablllLy ol CovernmenL Lo aoopL open plaLlorm ano lnnovaLlon sLraLegles.
1ooay, Lhe |nformat|on |nfrastructure lor Lhe communlcaLlon ol publlc lnlormaLlon consLlLuLes a
publlc gooo as lmporLanL as physlcal lnlrasLrucLure ano lL can be expecLeo Lo generaLe equally
poslLlve exLernallLles.
ÞACSl, 1998, p. 23.
- 45 -
1h|rd|y, where lL can be seen Lo be necessary Lo luno lrom speclllc revenue parL ol Lhe cosLs
lncurreo by CovernmenL, CovernmenL shoulo loenLlly those who must bear those costs. lor
example, ongolng operaLlng expenses shoulo be covereo lrom Lhe naLlonal buogeL. Marglnal cosLs
may, buL noL necessarlly - Lhls ls a pollcy oeclslon, as Lhe Councll ol SLaLe recalleo ln 2002 - be
recovereo lrom cerLaln reusers ol oaLa on Lhe basls ol dynam|c bus|ness mode|s a||gned w|th the
va|ue-added generated by the p|atform. 1rlals shoulo be conoucLeo ol a|ternat|ve - noLably
cooperat|ve - fund|ng methods.
Whlle lL ls unoenlable LhaL a number ol publlc servlces are oepenoenL on charges, Lhe
trans|t|on Lo new buslness mooels |s urgent|y needed |f the qua||ty of pub||c |nformat|on |s to be
ma|nta|ned or |mproved, or lnoeeo |f the surv|va| of the pub||c serv|ce |tse|f |s to be guaranteed. ln
oroer Lo ensure LhaL Lhe LranslLlon ooes noL cause excesslve oesLablllsaLlon ln Lhe enLlLles lnvolveo, lL
ls recommenoeo LhaL Lhey be supported by the re|evant |nterm|n|ster|a| bod|es, and notab|y by the
genera| secretar|at for government modern|sat|on (SGMAÞ).
Such a LranslLlon ls noL only posslble buL lL ls above all boLh necessary ano lnLrlnslc Lo Lhe
luncLlons ol publlc servlce. lnoeeo, Lhe Manoelkern reporL
sLresseo as long ago as 1999 LhaL
Moore's law ano lLs corollarles lmpose upon ºptoJocets oo ob/iqotion to ensure techno/oqico/
evo/ution lf tbey wlsb to molotolo tbelt poollty of setvlce ooJ, by tbe some tokeo, tbelt ooJleoce. ¹bls
leoJs to tbe cooclosloo tbot tbe productive function itse/f must evo/ve constont/y. ulqltol
Jlsttlbotloo coo lo oJJltloo qeoetote costs Joe to tbe sttoctotloq of tbe lofotmotloo. Nevettbeless,
troditiono/ pub/ic service theory demonds such odoptotion by virtue of the fundomento/ princip/e
whereby ony pub/ic service moy evo/ve in /ine with the pub/ic interest {the "pr|nc|pe de
mutab|||té"). ¹bls tepoltes pobllc setvlces to ose tbe lotest ovolloble metboJs to cotty oot tbelt
osslqoeJ tosks ooJ provide the benefits of techno/oqico/ proqress to their users." 1ooay, LhaL
requlremenL lor Lechnologlcal lnnovaLlon goes hano ln hano wlLh a requ|rement for |nnovat|on |n
bus|ness mode|s and |n the methods emp|oyed to produce and d|str|bute pub||c data.
LasLly, ano Lhls ls anoLher area ln whlch work ls neeoeo, Lhe quesLlon wlll probably
evenLually arlse as Lo wheLher |t m|ght be appropr|ate to |nst|tute a genera| prov|s|on on the
d|str|but|on ol publlc oaLa. Such a provlslon (´opeo by Jefoolt, testtlctloos to be jostlfleJ´), whlch
exlsLs ln Lhe consLlLuLlons ol a number ol counLrles, ll lLs consequences lor Lhe operaLlon ol publlc
servlces have been correcLly preolcLeo, woulo greaLly slmpllly Lhe lssue ol how Lo luno Lhe
olsLrlbuLlon ol publlc lnlormaLlon.
Þubllc lnlormaLlon has someLlmes been compareo Lo a naLural resource walLlng Lo be
explolLeo. 1he "go|d m|ne" metaphor
does have ||m|tat|ons however. 1hls ls so because publlc
oaLa are non-rlval lnLanglble gooos. 1hey are noL exhausLeo by belng useo. use may even lncrease
Lhelr value. 1hey woulo be exhausLeo only ll publlc booles ceaseo Lo proouce Lhem. 1he "seed corn"
metaphor, oesplLe Lhe lacL LhaL lL relaLes Lo a rlval-use maLerlal gooo ano agaln leaves asloe Lhe
neLworklng ellecLs arlslng lrom reuse ol publlc lnlormaLlon
, seems more appropr|ate: lL rellecLs
Lhe cho|ce to be made between |mmed|ate monet|sat|on and |nvestment that may eventua||y bear
fru|t. 1he seeo may glve rlse lmmeolaLely Lo a lew green shooLs, lL may be processeo lnLo llour but |t
can a|so, |f |t |s sown, rea||se |ts potent|a| and mu|t|p|y.
'ulffosloo Jes Joooées pobllpoes et tévolotloo oométlpoe´ (ulsLrlbuLlon ol publlc oaLa ano Lhe olglLal revoluLlon), reporL
lrom Lhe workshop chalreo by u. Manoelkern, november 1999 (p. 29).
´les Joooées pobllpoes, Jes mloes J'ot ò exploltet´ (publlc oaLa, golo mlnes lor explolLaLlon)
'commeot exploltet lo mloe J´ot Jes Joooées pobllpoes?´ (Pow shoulo Lhe publlc oaLa golo mlne be explolLeo?),
018uSlnLSS, 18 March 2012
1he canole meLaphor suggesLeo by 1homas !ellerson lllusLraLes Lhe neLwork ellecLs ol non-rlval lnLanglble gooos: ºPe
who recelves an loea lrom me, recelves lnsLrucLlon hlmsell wlLhouL lessenlng mlne, as he who llghLs hls Laper (canole) aL
mlne, recelves llghL wlLhouL oarkenlng me" (1813).