Criticism Mounting Before German Data Portal Launch

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In several places the criticism in the run-up to the launch of the German national data portal is mounting. As reported the portal is due to launch soon in beta.

Originally the portal had been named 'OpenGovData Deutschland' but has since been renamed to GovData. Criticasters see this as a sign that the national level initiative is doing away with the crucial aspect of making data truly open for re-use.

This lowering of expectations is being fed by discussions on data licenses during a recent preparatory workshop. There a separate national licensing framework has been put forward, including non-commercial clauses.

See articles 'About the GovData platform' (in German), German government screws up open data (in English), Consistent: no national open data portal (in German), and 'Further unclear issues with the GovData portal' (in German).

Representatives of the German Ministry for the Interior and others respond in the comments of the above cited English language posting asking for patience and to not undermine the work of internal change agents and bridge builders. They rightly point out that in other countries also national licenses have been introduced (UK, France, Italy come to mind) that are compatible with other frameworks such as Creative Commons, as well as point out that not all data in other national portals is already in open formats or with an open license. The blogpostings cited above point to the desirability of generic licensing such as using CC0 (a public domain dedication, used as default e.g. by The Netherlands). BMI representatives point out that having data publicly listed in the first place will increase the likelihood that those datasets will see the attached re-use conditions changed to more openness. This is indeed the case in various other portals around Europe. Recently the Swedish representative in the PSI Group meeting at the European Commission said as much of data sets currently being listed in the beta version of the Swedish data portal: it will be easier to 'shame' dataholders into using open licenses, once material is being published under closed or less open licenses.