OA to government statistics

Siu-Ming Tam, Informing The Nation – Open Access To Statistical Information In Australia, March 18, 2009.  A presentation at the UNECE Work Session on the Communication and Dissemination of Statistics (Warsaw, May 13-15, 2009).  (Thanks to Anne Fitzgerald.)  Excerpt:

…3. In 2005, the Australian Government released cost recovery guidelines…[requiring] fees and charges set by Government agencies to reflect the costs of producing and providing the products and services….

5. In…June 2005 the [Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)] sought and obtained additional funding from the Australian Government for free access to ABS publications on its website. In December 2005, the Minister made the announcement, in an event to mark the centenary for the establishment of the ABS, that as a centenary tribute to the people of Australia, all ABS statistical output on the web site would be made free of charge.

6. The recent advent of Web 2.0 technologies increases the potential to use, share and ‘mix and match’ ABS data sets to add value to ABS information. ‘Mash ups’ are an excellent example of how the value of a product may be significantly enhanced by including different layers of information with statistical information. To facilitate this, and other innovative uses of ABS data, the ABS needs to have an internationally recognised licensing framework for accessing, using and reusing its statistical information.

7. In December 2008, ABS introduced Creative Commons licensing by adopting the Attribution 2.5 Australia licence for its materials contained in the ABS website.” …

Also see Marc Debusschere, Dissemination Policies in the ESS, from the proceedings of the same conference.  Excerpt:

…27. The results of the survey show that all countries have well-established practices for disseminating statistical data, which for the larger part are disseminated for free; the most common exceptions are tailor-made data sets, microdata and paper publications….

29. …[A] single policy document which coherently spells out dissemination principles is still absent in many countries. Specific dissemination conditions and procedures can, as a rule, be found on an ad hoc basis in many different places, but not bundled together in one place, on the web site or in a document.

30. The overview shows very markedly that policies, some times implicit ones, are quite similar across the [European Statistical system (ESS)]. The summary of current principles and practices of [National Statistical Institutes] could constitute a first outline of a basic ‘Dissemination Policy Charter’ for the European Statistical System:

  • Statistical data and metadata are disseminated free of charge for all users, with few or even no exceptions.
  • All users can obtain custom-made data extractions at no more than production cost or even for free.
  • Use, re-use and redistribution of statistical data and metadata are allowed on two conditions only: respect for the integrity of data and mention of the source.
  • Microdata are available free of charge for all eligible users providing sufficient guarantees, especially on the respect of confidentiality….