No subject

Thu Oct 25 20:26:07 BST 2012

seems to me the agencies who are the loudest in saying they absolutely
need the revenue, are the ones who have the least knowledge of their
operating costs or the cost of data provision. In contrast those that
have done the math in detail conclude free/gratis data provision is
the cheapest way. (Like Norwegian Meteo e.g.)

So yes, let's try and make the text in the ODH clearer. In the sense
that marginal costs may apply, but that other charges are seen as
breaching open data principles. A link to an explanation of what
marginal costs are would then also be useful, making clear 'marginal
costing' is a term that refers to a specific meaning, used in


Interdependent Thoughts
Ton Zijlstra

ton at


On Thu, Mar 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at> wrote:
> On 19 March 2013 07:15, Peter Krantz <peter at> wrote:
>> Hi!
>> In the ODH there are some places where cost of access to data is
>> discussed. From time to time I meet people who are confused regarding
>> the possibility of charging for data.
>> For example this page has ambiguous statements:
>> "Open data is data that can be freely used, reused and redistributed
>> by anyone - subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and
>> sharealike."
>> and in the first bullet point below:
>> "Availability and Access: the data must be available as a whole and at
>> no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading
>> over the internet."
> Good point. The first quote is the summary of the Open Definition and
> the second quote seems a slight misquote of the formal Open Definition
> point 1 which says:
> The work shall be available as a whole and at no more than a
> reasonable reproduction cost, preferably downloading via the Internet
> without charge ...
> Seems like we should correct that second quote.
>> So in the first paragraph it is free but in the bullet point it seems
>> like it is OK to charge for data. The second statement has been used
> Strictly it is *ok* to charge for data. What you must do is make data
> available in bulk at cost of reproduction (which in general will be
> free or nearly free).
>> as an argument by people from a gvmt agency that have a business model
>> where a single row of data about costs 0.6 EUR. (getting the entire
>> database would cost around 400 000 EUR). As "open data" is gaining in
>> popularity they like to be part of that and thus consider the 0.6 EUR
>> a "reasonable reproduction cost".
> But that can't be the cost of reproduction. The cost of reproduction
> is essentially 0 for a single row and even for whole DB bulk access
> for GBs today is cents (so little that it's basically not worth
> charging ...)
>> I think the Open data handbook has to be clarified to reduce
>> ambiguity. Expensive data is not open data and maybe open data
>> definitions need to be at the "end of the scale" stressing that data
>> need to be free to be truly open. Experience from discussions about
>> software patents (RAND terms etc) shows that "Reasonable" can mean
>> very different things to different people.
> I think is pretty clear and we should
> inline that pretty much directly into the handbook.
>> As a second alternative ambiguity can be reduced be providing an
>> example of what "reasonable reproduction costs" can be, maybe by
>> explaining the cost of the medium (e.g. a DVD) and that it only
>> applies to a dataset as a whole.
> Agreed as per above. Delighted if you want to submit a pull request
> :-)
> Rufus
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