This timely volume reviews key issues and developments in the controversial area of public sector information (PSI). It addresses the fundamental themes, challenges and conflicts surrounding the access to, and use of, PSI in the new digital era. Using detailed empirical analyses and case studies from across Europe and the USA, the authors focus on the crucial policy, economic, legal and social issues. The public sector is the biggest single producer and holder of information including administrative and government documents, regulatory texts, political data and public registers. The authors demonstrate that this huge store of information is a key resource for a broad range of stakeholders such as citizens, civic organisations, private businesses and public sector agencies. They argue that charging the marginal cost of dissemination, a policy favoured in the US, will lead to optimal economic growth in society and will far outweigh the immediate perceived benefits of aggressive cost recovery.
They illustrate how open government information policies create significant economic advantages to society and are beneficial in both the short and long term for the general public, the private sector and for governments themselves. This is one of the first books devoted to addressing the new challenges of access to PSI and the role of public policy. The international contributors, including leading experts from Europe and US, have produced an informative and coherent resource that will be of interest to scholars, students and decision-makers working in the fields of public policy, economics, political science, law and information technology.