Fact Sheet

Version May 2010

Who’s Who in the PSI Value Chain?
What is this fact sheet about? PSI appears to attract a wide array of parties, especially since in the last two years new groups of re-users have been knocking on the door. However, a closer look reveals that they fit in nicely in the PSI value chain, each having particular but often quite parallel interests. This fact sheet characterizes the most important groups and, where relevant, provides links to representatives. PSI holders PSI is produced under the public task by public sector bodies: the PSI holders. By definition they are part of the public sector and the PSI Directive imposes obligations on them. Quite often they are categorized by PSI type. For example, meteorological information (Met Offices), business information (Chambers of Commerce), geographical information (Cadastres) and policy information (ministries, municipalities). Sometimes, when relying on income from PSI sales, PSI holders may be reluctant to open up their PSI repositories — at least for free. Policy makers Since (the big) PSI holders often have a rather ‘executive nature’ and since PSI re-use (or data policy in general) is increasingly regarded as a ‘horizontal’ policy area, the policy on re-use of the data held by the PSI holders is made by other public sector bodies. Usually this is a national ministry dealing with data policy (the Ministry of Internal Affairs), financial affairs (the Ministry of Finance) or the ministry connected to the main PSI holders (the Ministry dealing with Spatial or Economic Affairs). Obviously, the interests of policymakers and PSI holders do not always or necessarily match. At the EU or international level, the Directorate for Information Society and Media has been the key player since the outset of European policy making on re-use; whereas, at the global level, the OECD (Directorate for Science Technology and Industry) has played a paramount role. PSI re-users Under the PSI Directive, a re-user is anyone availing itself of PSI opened up for re-use by a PSB, irrespective of its motives. Generally speaking there are ‘commercial re-users’, which seek to make a profit using the PSI, and ‘non-commercial re-users’, which are driven by transparency and knowledge needs. Commercial re-users Publishers and weather companies are typical

examples of heavy and traditional PSI re-users, where the PSI is really at the core of their business. Interestingly, sparked by the increasing availability of new platforms like the iPhone, we see a new group of re-users emerging: the Apps builders and exploiters. Of course there are also light (commercial) re-users, such as a lawyer consulting the business registers in the framework of due diligence. Furthermore, PSBs themselves can also be commercial re-users if they exploit their PSI outside their public task on the market. Typically, this group consists of citizens, academicians and journalists in search of PSI, not so much to make profit from it, but simply because they want information and knowledge. In recent years this previously rather anonymous group has obtained a name and face: the open data movement, a very informally organised network of ‘believers’ that consider it a calling to increase transparency and reusability of governmental data. The Open Knowledge Foundation is a fine example hereof. On this wave, a new discipline in journalism is emerging: data journalism, relying on the wide availability and analysis of large quantities (databases) of PSI. Regulators and other watchdogs Finally, there are those that guard the fair and sound applicability of PSI re-use rules. In most Member States this is done by courts and, where it concerns competition related issues, national competition authorities. However, in some countries special regulators have been established, which have been very successful, for instance, the OPSI in the UK and the Information Commissioner in Slovenia.

ePSI Platform Fact Sheets provide short introductions to key concepts and developments, allowing ‘new comers’ to the PSI re-use arena to get up to speed swiftly. Find ePSI Platform Fact Sheets at epsiplatform.eu.

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