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E-Governance Policies for Interoperability and Open Standards

This week's Round Table discussion held under the banner of the OpenForum Academy focussed on the importance of open standards in public sector IT procurement.

Dr Laura DeNardis from Yale Law School presented her as yet unpublished paper on the subject, which served as a starting point for a lively debate among the 40 attendees.

Her paper (see link below) goes beyond the social, economic and innovative impacts ofopen standards in the public sector. It also examined the necessary action needed to deliver interoperability between government agencies and between governments and their citizens.

She explained why it is vital for governments to ensure that their computer systems are interoperable, and for that reason interoperability frameworks are a necessary tool to this end.

The OpenForum Academy's sister organization, the OpenForum Europe is very concerned that Europe's draft interoperability framework falls far short of the requirements laid out in Dr DeNardis' paper. In particular, OFE is concerned that the EIF version 2 has no clear definition of open standards.

In response to questions after her very engaging presentation, Dr DeNardis put it eloquently:  an interoperability framework without a clear definition (of open standards) is not an interoperability framework."

OFE urges the European Commission to heed these words as it finalizes the long-awaited and much anticipated EIF v2.