Study  |  07/17/2023

Improving Transparency and the Right to Open Data

In his current discussion paper, Heiko Richter, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute, examines two goals of the coalition agreement of the German federal government: to further develop the freedom of information laws into a federal transparency law and to introduce a legal entitlement to Open Data.

He asks what exactly these goals mean and to what extent they can be meaningfully combined. Richter goes on to elaborate on specific reform options that would carefully bring about a paradigm shift. Finally, he advocates that the law should grant individual rights to the publication of information and the provision of data, because such rights assume fundamental functions in a free and digital society.

The article begins with an in-depth analysis of existing open data regulations and transparency laws in Germany. The results of the analysis and discussion are then presented in seven theses as practical recommendations for action. In doing so, Richter suggests two possible variants: The enactment of a federal transparency law, referred to as a "small solution," with "open data extension" and corresponding entitlements. In a more comprehensive "big solution", a public interest-related entitlement to Open Data under Section 12a EGovG would be enshrined in law in addition to the small solution.

Heiko Richter
Transparenzgesetz des Bundes und „Rechtsanspruch auf Open Data“ Konzeptionelle Perspektiven jenseits der Neuerfindung des Rades
(Federal Transparency Law and “Right to Open Data”: Conceptual Perspectives Beyond the Reinvention of the Wheel)

Max Planck Institute for Innovation & Competition Discussion Paper No. 22