UCD Library - Department of Public Expenditure and Reform


UCD Library - Department of Public Expenditure and Reform
 UCD Library
Leabharlann UCD
University College Dublin,
An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath,
Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Belfield, Baile Átha Cliath 4, Eire
T +353 1 716 7694
[email protected]
F +353 1 716 7667
Comment from University College Dublin Library on “Open Data Licences” (Government Reform Unit, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, February 2015) About UCD Library
UCD Library provides library and information services to the University College Dublin community ranging from acquisition of data, information and knowledge resources to provision of data management and data repository services to the UCD community. UCD Library operates the sole certified “Trusted Digital Repository” in the Republic of Ireland, having been awarded the “Data Seal of Approval” in March 2015 (regarding EC-­‐recognised sertifications see: http://www.trusteddigitalrepository.eu/). It is also host to the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA), which provides access to official anonymised microdata and a broad range of social science data deriving from surveys in general. Comment on the Paper
The broad description of government information or “government data” offered by the Open Data Licences paper extends beyond government ministries and agencies to work undertaken elsewhere in the public sector and indeed by data and information arising from government-­‐funded activities in general. By way of example the paper references (§8) “data from publicly funded research projects, and digitised books from libraries,” which are typical of the kinds of information resources that have long been managed within the repositories of research libraries in Ireland, and to which licences have been assigned. This response bears in mind this broad definition, and therefore and the potentially broad impact of forthcoming policies. It draws particular attention to conditions that influence the assignment of licences when data or information are created within the public sector from resources where the interests of third parties must be considered. Questions
1. What licences are public bodies currently using? (e.g. PSI, Open, etc.). Any views on the general applicability of a preferred Open Data licence to PSI? Data and information created and managed within public sector bodies include outputs of research and creative endeavour within the universities, institutes of technology and other higher education bodies; data includes digital cultural heritage resources, commonly created from paper or other analogue artefacts held by these organisations; data also includes statistical, geospatial, quantitative and qualitative data from many different research domains that have been created by public sector bodies and placed in trust with libraries, archives and other such organisations that keep and disseminate data and information as trusted third parties. Libraries and other cultural institutions have adopted policies generally at an institutional level that provide guidance in selection of licences. In the case of digitised cultural heritage resources (books and pamphlets; still or moving images; audio recordings; maps; three-­‐dimensional artefacts; etc.) selection of a licence will be influenced by copyright status; should copyright not apply other Comment from University College Dublin Library on “Open Data Licences” considerations also come into play, such as educational versus commercial use, or as the Open Data Licences identifies, the desire to recover costs of digitisation and to maintain or develop associated technical infrastructures, etc. As a result a broad range of licences are in use across research libraries in Ireland. UCD Library generally applies a Creative Commons Attribution licence with cultural heritage materials, but supports researchers who wish to apply different licensing needs. A core objective of assigning Open Data licences is to encourage secondary use of data created by public sector organisations. Accordingly a mechanism for identifying principles that maximise re-­‐use for the betterment of society must be found that meet two objectives: it is important to balance the interests of rights holders with those of the host organisations that, through investment in staff resources and technical infrastructure, make resources available. 2. CC0 requires waiving of certain rights (including Attribution, although it can be specifically requested, eg, https://open.fda.gov/terms/). Is this acceptable to public bodies? Creative Commons usefully identifies issues to consider with regard to CC0 licences in its “CC0 FAQ” (https://wiki.creativecommons.org/CC0_FAQ). Beyond these particulars discussed there, the government should remain mindful that creativity, research and other activities that make use of public sector information should optimally do so within ethical bounds; in the library and archival domain this would be referred to as “the ethical use of information.” A fundamental ethical principle is attribution and UCD Library, and research libraries generally, encourage adoption of a licencing framework to which attribution is integral. Another principle is identification of provenance—a matter that is related to attribution but which may also relate to the state of the data or information in questions, for example, a version of a particular dataset. Provenance is significant for both understanding the origins of data and evaluating its integrity. A licencing framework that enables and, where desirable, requires citation of provenance information is also desirable. 3. If public bodies need to retain copyright of datasets, can this be done through the CC-­‐BY licence? The CC-­‐BY licence is described by Creative Commons as “the most accommodating of licenses offered.” It provides consumers an irrevocable licence to re-­‐use, transform, and re-­‐distribute data as long as its source is attributed. Its terms specifically indicate that one “… may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits,” which would convey to users of the data that any unspecified copyright restrictions would not apply. 4. Can CC0 be used for all the metadata published on data.gov.ie, with a different licence being used, if necessary, for the actual dataset on the public body’s website? There is precedent among the Irish research universities for differentiation, in licencing terms, of descriptive metadata that identifies a digital entity and describes its attributes and the data (or “content”) itself. This is the case with data disseminated by the UCD Digital Library. Descriptive metadata itself may convey the terms and conditions of use, and licence terms, for the data object that it describes, so such declarations must be clear with regard to the entities to which they refer. 5. What arrangements should be made in respect of data that a public body sells as a means of self-­‐
funding (OSi, CRO, PRA)? The case of Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) may be representative. OSi maintain cartographic and geospatial data reflecting both the historical geography of Ireland and its political subdivisions as well as contemporary data that documents current state of Irish geography and the built environment. The data it manages is proprietary. In some cases these data have been created solely with the support of OSi resources; in some cases, data has been captured from cartographic and other resources held by third parties, and in some cases geospatial attributes have been captured by other third parties and Comment from University College Dublin Library on “Open Data Licences” 2 assigned to these resources to add value. OSi’s data resources can, therefore, represent the interests of multiple contributing stakeholders. UCD Library, among other information services within the public and private sectors, facilitates the needs of its clients for access to geospatial information through licensing of selected resources from the OSi, particularly through its MapGenie product. However much of the research activity that libraries support require short-­‐ or long-­‐term access to geospatial datasets to facilitate research activities. Such activities can be historical, as in the case of archaeology, where the historical geopolitical land subdivisions of Ireland provide a base point of reference for research activity and scholarly interpretation of human activity on the island. Use of such historical data—which would also include boundaries of baronies, civil parishes, and Poor Law Unions—is primarily for research purposes, whether in a scholarly or popular context (e.g., genealogy). A strong argument exists for making such data available on Open Licences to stimulate activity that enhances knowledge of Irish history and stimulate other economic activity. Research activities can also relate to diverse aspects of planning. For example, documentation of land development over broad periods of time, whether from historical cartographic resources or contemporary remote sensing data, is critical for understanding the long-­‐term impact of human impact on the natural environment, and for creating knowledge that informs planning for future use of land assets. The social benefits of research are substantial, but the current proprietary status of pertinent geospatial data, the schedules of fees relating to their use, and restrictions on the long-­‐term use of proprietary datasets represent real barriers to research activity in institutions, organisations and state bodies undertaking research and development. UCD Library leadership feel that a fundamental question for government with regard to public bodies that manage data pertinent to matters that have impact upon planning and research is how to balance public interest and the public benefits of re-­‐use of data with the desirability of requiring public bodies to be self-­‐sustaining through entrepreneurial activities. Licencing must allow for differentiation of activities that comprise research whose outcomes have clear and substantial benefits to the people of Ireland and which may generate economically beneficial activities in the private sector, and other activities that are commercial in nature. There is a substantial international literature that relates to the public benefits of government data of the kinds that is currently managed by Irish public bodies for income purposes; there are also similar issues of public policy and licencing of these kinds of data that have been approached in other jurisdictions. UCD Library recommends strongly that historical data in particular should be licenced as Open Data and that other data, appropriately anonymised, should be made available without restriction for publicly sponsored education and research purposes, particularly in support of second-­‐, third-­‐ and fourth-­‐level study. Comment from University College Dublin Library on “Open Data Licences” 3