Data Governance Act and Open Data Directive: comparison and role in the EU data ecosystem

Siyanna Lilova

CEO of CuratedAI


October 23, 2023

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4 mins

The European Union has been taking significant strides towards establishing a robust data governance framework, embracing the digital age with a series of legislative initiatives. The Data Governance Act (DGA) and the Open Data Directive are two important pieces of this puzzle. The DGA focuses on data sharing across various sectors, fostering innovation, job creation, and data security. The Open Data Directive aims to promote the reuse of public-sector information and research data.  In this article, we will compare and draw analogies between these two legal instruments to provide insights into how they impact the EU's data ecosystem and set the stage for the next step in the EU's data strategy: the upcoming Data Act.

1. Objectives

1.1 Open Data Directive - The Open Data Directive, formally known as Directive (EU) 2019/1024, focuses on the reusability of public-sector information and publicly funded research data. Its primary goal is to unlock the socioeconomic potential of public data by making it readily available for various purposes, promoting competition, and enhancing transparency in the information market. It encourages the use of open data formats and strives to create an open and accessible environment for data.

1.2 Data Governance Act - The DGA, outlined in Regulation (EU) 2022/868, aims to facilitate data sharing across various sectors, such as health, environment, energy, agriculture, and more. It endeavors to make more data accessible for reuse, which benefits EU citizens and businesses, stimulates innovation, and creates job opportunities. The DGA addresses the management of data, the regulation of data intermediaries, and the concept of data altruism, promoting responsible and secure data sharing.

2. Reusability of Data

2.1 Open Data Directive - The Open Data Directive promotes the reuse of public-sector information, requiring public bodies to make their documents available in open formats that are machine-readable, accessible, and complete with metadata. It emphasizes the principles of openness and accessibility while ensuring that dynamic and real-time data is immediately available for reuse.

2.2 Data Governance Act - The DGA also encourages the reuse of data, but its focus is broader, encompassing data from various sectors, including personal and non-personal data. It sets conditions for reusing data protected by third-party rights and regulates data intermediation services, ensuring that data sharing is conducted transparently, neutrally, and with minimal conflicts of interest.

3. Intellectual Property and Privacy

3.1 Open Data Directive - The Open Data Directive addresses concerns related to intellectual property rights, personal data protection, and confidentiality. It emphasizes the principle of being "as open as possible, as closed as necessary." It allows for the reuse of publicly funded research data when they are already made available through repositories.

3.2 Data Governance Act - The DGA places a strong emphasis on the protection of personal data, ensuring that data transfer to non-EU countries complies with specific rules outlined in the regulation. It also introduces mechanisms to ensure data intermediation services operate with neutrality and transparency, protecting both data holders and data users.

4. Charges and Fees

4.1 Open Data Directive - The Open Data Directive generally advocates for the free reuse of documents. However, it permits the recovery of marginal costs incurred in reproducing and disseminating documents, anonymizing personal data, and protecting commercially confidential information.

4.2 Data Governance Act - The DGA also encourages transparency in fees but allows for reduced or zero fees for specific categories of data users, such as small and medium-sized enterprises, start-ups, and civil society organizations. The regulation promotes affordability while ensuring data holders can recover justifiable costs.

5. Implementation and Applicability

5.1 Open Data Directive - The Open Data Directive had to be transposed into national law by July 17, 2021. It was designed to enhance the EU's data economy and foster innovation and competitiveness.

5.2 Data Governance Act - The DGA came into effect on September 24, 2023. It reflects the EU's commitment to promoting data sharing, innovation, and job creation while ensuring data security and privacy.

Both the Open Data Directive and the Data Governance Act play crucial roles in shaping the EU's data governance framework. While the Open Data Directive primarily focuses on making public-sector information more accessible, the Data Governance Act takes a broader approach, addressing data sharing across multiple sectors and promoting data altruism. The principles of transparency, neutrality, and data protection are central to both, but they differ in their scope and objectives. The Data Act, as the next logical step proposed by the European Commission, aims to reinforce these principles by granting individuals and businesses more control over their data, enabling easier data transfer, and fostering greater participation in the data economy.

Do you want more clarification on EU data governance legislation: start chatting with EU laws, preparatory documents and cases with CuratedAI.