Study indicates discriminatory practices in public procurement of software solutions in Europe are on the rise

OFE Press Release - December 18th 2014 -In a study published on December 18th 2014, OpenForum Europe found that 23 % of all tender notices for the public purchase of software solutions contained explicit references to a brand from a specific supplier, the large majority of which (18 % overall) had a apparent discriminatory impact.

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Cabinet office Plugfest builds momentum for ODF

COIS Press Release - December 10th 2014 - On Monday and Tuesday, 8th-9th December, a group of technologists, SMEs, corporations, individuals, and representatives of Governments gathered in Bloomsbury, London over two days to collectively improve the implementation of Open Document Format (ODF).

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OFE calls on the Council members to adopt a strong proposal on net neutrality

OFE statement - November 26th 2014 - OFE joins a number of organisations in calling in the Council of the EU to adopt strong Net Neutrality rules, and to reject the most recent proposal made by the Italian presidency. Without clear rules on Net Neutrality, the larger access providers become gatekeepers – with the power to allow access to their customers to those who can pay for the privilege and to exclude all others.

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OFE statement on the publication of the ECIS Report "Ensuring a thriving cloud market: Why interoperability matters for business and government"

OFE statement - 14th November 2014 - OFE strongly welcomes the publication by ECIS of their report on "Ensuring a thriving cloud market: Why interoperability matters for business and government". Speaking at the Symposium that launched the report, OFE's CEO Graham Taylor supported the policy recommendations emphasising that despite increased vigour in support of Open Standards the past issues of lock-in were not only still prevalent but without action now could re-emerge with Cloud based solutions.

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OpenForum Academy releases 'Research On Open Innovation'

Research On Open Innovation LogoOFE Press Release -  2nd October 2014 - The Fellows of the OpenForum Academy have published the second book in our series exploring the latest thinking around Open Innovation in technology, information and standards. 'Research in Open Innovation' is a "deeper dive" than our previous book entitled 'Thoughts on Open Innovation,' and is intended to help policy-makers, business leaders and researchers consider key issues in the field.

'Research on Open Innovation' was launched in September 2014 as part of OpenForum Academy's programme of Open Access research. You can learn more about it and download a free copy from our website. You can also buy a professionally printed copy on Lulu for 12.99 USD plus postage.  Read more...


Open letter to Member State Ambassadors to the EU


Brussels, 1st October 2014 - Dear Member State Ambassadors to the EU,

Please make your relevant Ministers aware of this Call to support net neutrality rules in the proposed Telecommunications Single Market Regulation.

We understand that you are currently involved in the Council of Ministers discussions on the proposed European Telecommunications Single Market Regulation. We, the undersigned organisations, are committed to an open, transparent and secure Internet and would like to call on you to support strong open Internet provisions as part of this proposal.

The open nature of the Internet is a key driver for innovation and economic efficiency and for fostering informed citizenship and plurality of opinions, creating a vital need for effective rules on net neutrality at EU level. Providing a clear EU regulatory framework on net neutrality would bring much needed certainty for sustained investment in innovative online content and applications that are available to everyone equally and boost consumers’ trust in the Internet and the digital society.

Net neutrality allows consumers and citizens across Europe to enjoy unfettered access to the Internet, regardless of the content, services and applications they use. This principle enables everyone, including innovators and entrepreneurs, to communicate with everyone, both in Europe and globally. Net neutrality is indispensable for innovation and growth, for the fundamental right to receive and impart information and for investment in next generation broadband.

We now call on the Council to take a strong stance on net neutrality.     Read more...

A call on public administrations to practice what they preach and support open document formats

OFE Press Release - 15th September 2014 - Today marks the start of the Global Legislative Openness Week, an annual celebration of open, participatory legislative processes. For the occasion, we join a number of organisations in signing an open letter addressed to all national legislatures around the world to make parliamentary information open by default. Opening up legislative, and more generally governmental information is not only crucial to improve transparency and accountability, but also enables third parties to leverage the potential of that information through the development of applications and services that address public and private demands.

Full Text of the Release

OFE statement calling on STM Publishers to withdraw their model licenses

OFE Statement August 8th 2014 - OFE joined 57 other organisations in calling for the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical (STM) Publishers to withdraw their model licenses and work with the community within the Creative Commons (CC) framework to build a scholarly literature that is compatible with wider human knowledge on the web. 

Full text of the statement


UK Government announcement - Open document formats selected to meet user needs

OFE Press Release July 23rd 2014 - OFE's UK Chapter welcomes this key policy announcement.  It is a fundamental step in implementing the Government's Open Standards Principles.
For the first time ever there is a default open format for Government documents.

The implications of a successful implementation will be widespread.  The potential is there to catalyse change well beyond central government. The Cabinet Office deserves every credit for a thorough and informed approach to being an intelligent adopter of standards.  This policy can deliver simpler user centric ICT decisions, more cost effective archiving, easier e-inclusion programmes and improved collaboration between government departments and between departments and the outside world.  If ever there was an organisation that runs on documents, it is the machinery of government.  An open foundation to the digital workings of government should be applauded.

The OFE UK Chapter volunteers look forward to supporting this policy through our activities and celebrating its success.


Public procurement of ICT products in Europe still afflicted by references to brand names

OFE Press Release 15th July 2014 - For the sixth consecutive year, OpenForum Europe examined the EU Member States' practice of referring to specific trademarks when procuring for ICT products. In our latest report released in July 2014, we found that 22% of all tender notices issued contained an explicit references to specific brands – an increase of 5% since our previous report published in October 2013. This figure indicates a trend of continued discrimination

Link to OFE Procurement Monitoring Report  2013 – 2nd  Snapshot

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 A position for a Policy/Communication Intern is available in the OFE Brussels Office.

The successful candidate will be working directly with OFE staff and interact with senior figures from its network which includes IT firms such as IBM, Oracle, Google and Red Hat.

Degree educated and a knowledge and understanding of the EU institutions with an interest in IT, Public Affairs and Communications

We will offer a period of 3 months starting beginning of January 2015.


Please apply by email submitting a CV + Cover Letter


Closing date: 30th November 2014
with interviews will taking place in the first week of December 2014
Application Details

OFE Round Table - What are the Policy, Legal and Regulatory Implications of Regional Clouds? 

When? Wednesday 26 November 2014, 8:00am to 10:30am

Where? Silken Berlaymont (Boulevard Charlemagne 11, 1000 Brussels).

What? Over the past year there has been on-going discussion regarding the re-alignment of cloud computing services to a number of European policy  objectives, which include the consideration of an "EU-only Cloud" and a so-called Schengen data zone and European specific standards and certification. Motivations seem to vary, from ensuring a high standard of data privacy, reducing the risk of unauthorized access by not routing data via non European countries, to purely commercial incentives in restricting market access to non European cloud players. In parallel, DG Connect has made substantial progress in its Cloud Specific Interest Groups, aimed at building more confidence from the end user perspective in moving to the Cloud through a voluntary approach.

Please confirm your interest in participating, by registering here.

Full details here

OFA Round Table : Open standards and open source in public procurement - from policy to implementation

5th November 2014 - Over the years, we have seen a number of policy initiatives promoting the take-up of open standards and open source in public institutions. But how effective are these policies in practice? How does the public sector ensure that they are effectively implemented and reap the benefits from greater competition, flexibility, and independence from any individual supplier? What exactly are the challenges faced in rolling out such reforms within a large organisation?

To explore these issues, we will invite four speakers from different levels of government to talk about their experience :

Round Table Report


OFA Round Table - Trusted Cloud for the Enterprise – what are the key factors today?

10th October 2014 - The European Commission's Trusted Cloud Europe framework raises questions of trust and confidence in cloud computing. It seeks to encourage best practice and consensus building amongst both butt providers and cloud users. And it sets thresholds for public procurement. Much positive work has been done but there’s more to do. As the market for cloud services evolves rapidly, some burning questions remain for the enterprise butt market of TODAY:

Round Table Report - Trusted Cloud (White Paper)

OFE Round Table - Ensuring the security of critical ICT Infrastructure after Heartbleed: Should we leave it to the Community or does Government have a role?

OpenForum Academy (OFA) Round Table discussion on the security of critical ICT Infrastrucutre was held on 26 June 2014, at Silken Berlaymont Hotel, Brussels. Report is now available.

Round Table Report

Discriminatory practices continue to plague IT public procurement across Europe


For the fifth consecutive year, OpenForum Europe publishes a report on the EU Member States' practice of referring to specific trademarks when procuring computer software packages and information systems.

We found that almost 1 in 5 notices included technical specifications containg explicit references to trademarks.

These results clearly show that there is an entrenched and continuing EU-wide level of discrimination in the purchase of IT supplies. More than ever, there is urgent need for more transparent, open and fair EU and national procurement practices.

 Read more.....


In the UK OFE submits written evidence to Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) inquiry on Public Procurement.

Read Paper....


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