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Make a PSI request for re-use in Denmark

Our investigation to figure out how to make PSI requests this time focuses on Denmark. 
This country can be considered as an early adopter of the open data philosophy. Nonetheless, making an access or re-use request does not seem a common practice.

Legal framework

Denmark has a long tradition in terms of access to public sector information. Already in 1866 the country provided a limited right of access to information for parties involved in administrative cases. However, there is no trace of the right of information in the Danish constitution, thus it is regulated by statutory law and by the European Convention of Human Rights. Since the beginning instead there was a clear separation between the re-use framework and the access framework.

As for the access framework, since 1970 the country has a Public Record Act which provided everyone with access to governmental information. The Public Records Act was then improved with Act no. 572 of 19 December 1985.

We have to wait until 2013 to see a new Freedom of Information Act. Act no. 606 of 12 June 2013 was preceded by a long debate, most of the protests regarded the limitation of public access to internal documents regarding political decisions and issues.

As regards the re-use of information framework, Directive 2003/98 on the re-use of PSI was partially implemented by Act on the re-use of public sector information no. 596 of 24 June 2005. The Law was amended by Act no. 551 of 17 June 2008 and the amendment widened the law and included Parliamentary and Court.

The Law currently in force is the Act amending the Act on the re-use of public sector information of 2 June 2014 implementing parts of Directive 2013/37/EU.

Apart from the legal landscape, some initiatives deserve a mention. The first one is the Basic Data Program. Basic Data are a resource that has been produced and gathered throughout the years by the Danish public bodies. They are divided into five categories: Geographic data, Address data, Real Property data, Business Data and Personal Data (CPR).  Basic Data are free to use, for everyone – private companies, public institutions and citizens and easily available via the shared distribution platform, the Data Distributor (https://datafordeler.dk), from where it can safely and easily be used – with respect for personal and sensitive information.

The opendata.dk portal is a collaboration between five municipalities in Denmark (Aarhus, Copenhagen, Vejle, Odense and Central Region Denmark) that was established in 2014. The project aims to function as a national platform for Open Data as well as encourage other municipalities to start working and publishing data on the portal.

The Danish National Archives stores and collects original documents of historical value and makes them available to the public. It is interesting to note that in this case access to data is regulated by the Archives Act.

The Library Open Access Repository (LOAR) is an open data repository established in 2016 as a service for storing and providing access to Danish research data.

In practice

Surprisingly it is very hard to find references on how to address a re-use or access request to a Danish public sector body; neither specific email addresses or forms to fill on their websites.  Also existing Open Data platforms like opendata.dk do not offer support in this regard.

That means one of two things: either all data regarding public sector information are almost freely accessible or making re-use or access requests is not a common practice in Denmark.

The second option seems more likely considering that the legislation does not describe how a request should be formulated, i.e. what information should it contain.  The only recommendation addressed to the re-user is that

Article 4 of Act on the re-use of public sector information no. 596 of 24 June 2005.:
" Requests for re-use shall be submitted to the public sector body that holds the document or data collection or to the bodies which under other legislation administer data collection. “

Ultimately, if you want to obtain data not yet released by a Danish Public Sector, make a request using our PSI Monitor!


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