Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Euroalert participates in PSI Meeting 2010 with the European open data community

As those of you who follow our Twitter channel already know, and as we announced on this blog a while ago, on June 9th we participated in the PSI Meeting 2010. We were gently invited by the organizers, the Aporta project and ePSIPlatform of the European Commission. It was a very interesting event in which we could increase our knowledge and share our experience with reuse of public sector information.

The day was mostly a discussion meeting on PSI reuse from their different perspectives: on its future, its challenges and changes that society and governments should take for their proper development. Our director, Jose Luis Marín, participated as a speaker at the second of the four round tables, sharing Euroalert's experience together with other companies that have also managed to create business models by adding value to data released by the public sector.

We also took this opportunity to announce the launch of our project showmethetenders.net where we collect the successes and failures of Euroalert in several European Union countries while trying to unlock public data on EU tenders. As you know, we are making a considerable effort, to which we invite you to join us, to try to collect this information, primarily available in Official Journals and procurement platforms in reusable formats. By the moment, we have had considerable successes in countries like Ireland and Belgium, where we have had the responsiveness of those responsible: we really appreciate their support and commitment to the community for the reuse of public sector information.

But we have also had very much-talked-about failures like the one that Chris Taggart has nicely described, due to the situation that occurs in the UK about the outsourcing of the management of public data. In these cases, the release of data which are public but managed by private companies with their own economic interests gets complicated, and only strong political support can provide a solution to this issue.

We've also included some very shocking cases as the Spanish Government Procurement Platform or the European Commission itself through the EuropeAid Cooperation Office, which has denied the release of the datasets contracts for development aid!!! Their reasons for this refusal, furthermore, are not strong at all, and of course especially in the latter case it is not consistent at all that the European Commission itself does not bet on leading by being an example in the implementation of the Directive. Especially considering that it is not feasible for small businesses or start-ups to embark on legal proceedings to try to defend a more open position and in line with the Directive, which it seems that can only be obtained when there is a political commitment.

Over 19 addresses of relevant experts coming from public governments (including the European Commission) and platforms, companies that reuse information and trade associations representing their interests and civil society organizations, the main issues, perspectives and initiatives in the world of Open Data were reaped.

First names of the world of open data, such as Javier Hernández Ros, Head of Unit of Access to Information of the European Commission, Chris Taggart, a member of the working group of the Open Knowledge Foundation dedicated to the opening of public sector information in the United Kingdom, Alberto Ortiz de Zárate, director of the service of Citizen's Attention of the Basque Government, from Open Data Euskadi, or Daniel Dietrich, president of the German nonprofit organization Open Data Network, participated in the four round tables.

Thanks to all who attended, those who see the event by the streaming, those who interacted and followed through Twitter contributions... Thank you once again because we can demonstrate that by sharing information and knowledge we all get further.

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