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2 minutes to read Posted on Monday December 18, 2017

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Paul Keller

Paul Keller

Policy , Open Future

Have your say: Has the PSI directive helped to make more cultural heritage available for reuse?

In 2013, the European Union amended the Public Sector Information Directive (PSI  Directive) which deals with access to information held by public sector bodies. The amended directive established the principle that all available information produced and collected by public sector institutions must be made available for reuse under open terms and conditions.

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Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki

Opening up cultural data

At the same time, the amendments to the directive also included the publicly funded libraries (including university libraries), museums and archives into the scope of the directive. As a result, publicly funded libraries, archives and museums in the European Union have to make works and information that they have in their collections available for reuse unless these are covered by third-party intellectual property rights. To put it the other way around, they must make available for re-use all works and information that is in the public domain or for which they hold the copyright. The directive leaves it up to cultural heritage institutions if they want to charge for reuse of the materials they provide.

Help measure the PSI directive

The European Commission is now reviewing the impact of the directive. Since the inclusion of cultural heritage institutions in its scope was one of the most substantial changes of the 2013 amendment, the European Commission has hired Deloitte to map impact of the directive on the opening up and reuse of cultural data.

Deloitte has produced a short (15 questions) survey for libraries, archives and museums. We encourage all our data partners to fill in this survey to help the European Commission to better understand the concerns of cultural heritage institutions when it comes to making their collections available for reuse. Given the fairly recent entry into force of the directive, it seems unlikely that many cultural heritage institutions will have extensive experiences with the PSI directive to report. In the light of concerns raised right after the adoption that the PSI directive would not necessarily contribute to wider availability of cultural heritage, it is important to measure its impact so far.

Have your say and fill in the survey until 15 January 2018.