. "15. Summary of the First Breakout Session." The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks: Toward a Better Understanding of Different Access and Reuse Policies: Workshop Summary. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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The Socioeconomic Effects of Public Sector Information on Digital Networks: Toward a Better Understanding of Different Access and Reuse Policies - Workshop Summary
countries. After a few years of studying this heterogeneous way of approaching these problems, we may be able to understand more about such fundamental questions.
The third question concerned the identification of practical actions that could be taken. The overview presentation that started the breakout session made three specific suggestions: an OECD public sector information manual, an online repository of assessment methods, and the identification of some areas of further academic research.
The idea for an OECD PSI manual was inspired by a 1999 OECD publication, The Environmental Goods & Services Industry—Manual for Data Collection andAnalysis. Such a manual could be used to assess the implementation of the upcoming OECD PSI principles. One question that was raised in the discussion concerned the audience for this manual: Who is it for? There are the practitioners, of course, the experts such as those at this workshop, and even if only the practitioners were interested in the manual, the effort of creating it would probably be worthwhile nonetheless. Fortunately, the audience will probably be larger than that. The PSI producer and reuser community also could be interested, and the "accountants"—meaning whoever in the public sector will have to try to quantify the impact of PSI reuse—would be part of the audience as well.
Another question was: What should be the functions of a manual like that? There are at least three main functions. First, there should be an effort to clarify the extent and kinds of public sector information that are available. Of course, some of this information is already available in reports and research papers. Nevertheless, a shared, consensus taxonomy of public sector information would be worthwhile content to include in a manual like this. Second, it would be useful to have a collection of compatible assessment practices. The assessment practices in use today across Europe are widely different, and a manual like this could offer guidelines for performing certain evaluation processes in a more homogeneous way. The third function of a manual of this sort would be to involve more bodies than is the case today, including national or supranational statistical bodies.
Another point that participants in this breakout session discussed was: Who are the stakeholders for a manual like this, and how could the OECD involve them? During the course of the discussion a very preliminary list of potential stakeholders was compiled. These included not only the PSI holders and those organizations at the center of the discussion in this workshop but also non-governmental organizations or associations that need public sector information for their activities. Another group would be libraries interested in public sector information along with scientific, technical, and medical publishers. Other sectors and communities, such as the health, meteorological, and geographical information sectors, are important for at least two reasons. First, they already have considerable experience in evaluation methods, and, second, in some cases there is no unified approach to PSI, so focusing on the sectoral bodies is the only way to address such relevant communities.
The second main point of discussion on the third question concerned a possible PSI repository. “Repository” is now a fashionable concept because of the open-access movement and the development of many open institutional repositories. But why a repository? Exactly what kind of repository? That was the starting point for the