The Data Governance Act will come into force: what progress for researchers?

This September, the Data Governance Act, the first component of the European Data Strategy, will come into force. This regulation will require Member States to set up a single point of information to facilitate the re-use of public data in the European area in the interest of businesses and citizens, with a deadline of 2 months to respond to requests.

This first stone of the European edifice aiming to take advantage of digitization by reinforcing confidence in the protection of personal data and various secrets should therefore also promote secure access for research to confidential data held by public sector bodies (public statistics, administrations, government agencies, etc.) within the European Union’s borders.

The single point of information, for which the national statistical institutes (CBS in the Netherlands) or intersectoral directorates (DINUM/Direction interministérielle du numérique in France) are in the process of positioning themselves depending on the country, will be based on competent bodies that meet the necessary requirements and that will be listed in a central register of the Commission.

The Committee on Statistical Confidentiality and the CASD, with its cooperative Confidential Data Access Portal (CDAP) module, are well positioned in this regard with respect to cataloguing, access requests and effective access to confidential administrative data.

Research could also benefit from another component of the DGA that creates the notion of data sharing for altruistic purposes to encourage the sharing of data from other entities, wishing to make available, in the public interest and voluntarily and free of charge, data they generate.

This provision is all the more welcome since the Data Act, another component of the European data strategy, which is in its final stages of discussion, has limited the use of company data by official statistics to exceptional situations.