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..''Exploring the economic aspects of Net Neutrality in Europe Dec 09, 2013

9th December 2013 - Brussels - In September 2013 the European Commission unveiled its proposals for a new Telecoms package, including the draft Regulation coined as Connected Continent. One of its key components is a new set of rules intended to safeguard net neutrality. While such action has been long-awaited by many stakeholders, the current proposal is not without criticism. At a time when business models on the Internet are evolving and many European countries are already taking action to ensure a fair and balanced framework the time is now for the EU to take action.

In line with its mission to spur insight and innovative thinking into the issues which impact the openness of technology, OpenForum Academy together with MEP Marietje Schaake organised a European Parliament Round Table on 13th November 2013. The discussion was dedicated to the economic aspects of net neutrality, and in particular the proposed provisions regarding so-called “specialised services”. How will this impact the different economic actors in the value-chain, and how would such services affect the open, non-discriminatory character of the Internet?

Full text of the Report

...Prospective analysis of net neutrality policy scenarios Nov 13, 2013

OFA in conjunction with Google Policy Fellowship Research - Ana Olmos - 13/11/2013 - In the context of the net neutrality debate, there have been strong claims that there is a need to safeguard the open character of the internet, preserving free,  non-discriminatory user access to the content, applications or services available online. This debate blends with the discussion on open internet and the need to  keep the internet platform open to innovation, as a guarantee for the economic, social and technological development it offers.

Through various discussions, including public consultations on both sides of the Atlantic, some consensus has been reached on certain aspects of the debate: the need to preserve the open character of the internet, the central role of the user, the defence of competition, promotion of investment and innovation, the need for  transparency and the need for “reasonable traffic management” techniques. However, these agreed upon principles leave open many questions (for example, what  is “reasonable traffic management”) and there is strong division concerning the application of policy and regulation.

Full Text of the Research Analysis


...Net Neutrality in the EU - Country Factsheets Sep 05, 2013

Net NeutralityPolicy makers, private companies, civil society and academia have been researching, fact-checking and pondering on the principle of net neutrality and what it means for the market, the users and the competitiveness and growth in Europe. At a time in which the European Commission is trying to address this issue at the EU level, it is interesting to look at the how each Member State has dealt with net neutrality issues.

Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic going through a network should be treated equally, independently of content, application, service, device, source or target. Different players hold different perspectives as to what an impact this has for innovation, for the evolution of the market and for users’ interest. The debate has been very active in some countries and practically non-existent in others.

OpenForum Academy (OFA) has conducted a research to provide some facts as to how the debate has evolved in each Member State and whether or not it has led to any measures at the national level.   Net Neutrality in the EU - Country Factsheets - pdf
.. OpenForum Academy releases 'Thoughts on Open Innovation' Jun 21, 2013

Thoughts on Open InnovationThe Fellows of the OpenForum Academy have published a book containing the latest thinking around Open Innovation in technology, information and standards entitled “Thoughts on Open Innovation.” Contributors include Andy Updegrove, Shane Coughlan, Peter Murray-Rust and his colleagues at the Open Knowledge Foundation, Coleman McCormick, Jochen Friedrich, Karsten Gerloff, Amanda Brock, Simon Phipps and Peter Langley.

The key questions this book aims to answer are: Is openness an end in itself? Does an open approach suit all purposes? And broadest still, how can people collaborate to solve some of the largest problems that we all face? 

This book was launched at the Digital Agenda Summit in Dublin on the 20th June 2013. You can learn more about it and download a free copy from our dedicated page.

.. 'Certification' within Cloud Computing. Hero or Villain? Dec 17, 2012

Cloud Computing has the opportunity to dramatically impact efficiency and use of IT globally, but it also brings with it the potential to re-establish much of the dangers of lock-in prevalent in the past. This Round Table is the third in a series of OFA events where we debate the practical opportunities and challenges in respect of 'openness' within Cloud Computing.

The debate in this session stems from the recent Communication from the European Commission advocating voluntary certification programmes for cloud service providers. Few would doubt the Commission's good intentions and indeed the use of standards to avoid lock-in, but is certification the way to go? Could it perpetuate the lock-in to the closed vendors it is set up to avoid, and will compliance, instead, be a real hindrance to SMEs? Are we talking about a one size fits all approach, or could alternative approaches meet the need?

Patent non-aggression pacts : a way forward for technological innovation ? Feb 06, 2014

OpenForum Academy (OFA) would like to invite you to a Round Table discussion on patent nonaggression pacts, which will be held on February 19th from 17:00 to 19:00 at the Silken
Berlaymont (Boulevard Charlemagne 11, 1000 Brussels). Be sure to register early as seats are

Full detail of the Round Table

The First Openforum Academy Conference Proceedings Oct 31, 2012

OFA held its first conference for the think-tank Fellows in late September 2012. This event marked the first time that a broad range of thinkers in Open Innovation met to consider their field in the context of economics, society and global affairs, and was accompanied by the launch of the first book of collected essays from the participants.

You can read a full summary of the conference by downloading our summary presentation in PDF format.

You can learn more about the book of collected essays by visiting its dedicated page.

This conference provided the foundation for the discussions held subsequently at the Openforum Europe Summit 2012. Interested parties can freely view the OFE Summit presentations and videos and review the summit conclusions on the OFE website.

Who do you Trust with your Data in the Cloud? Jul 01, 2012

The OpenForum Academy organized two Breakfast Round Tables on “Putting the 'Open' into Open Innovation” for Cloud computing on the 15th and 23rd of May.

The debates come as the European Commission is putting the final touches to its long-awaited cloud computing strategy for Europe. The EU recognises that it needs to become not only cloud-friendly, but cloud-active, if it is to take full advantage of the benefits cloud computing offers. This is especially true for Europe's public sector. We believe this is the right moment to debate the merits of a pro-competitive cloud computing environment that is both global and open.

This report summarizes the discussion that took place during the second round table, titled ‘Who do you Trust with your Data in the Cloud?’. The speakers looked at some of the main threats to an open, global cloud and highlighted the risks arising from assumptions and misconceptions about government access to data, protective regulation and interoperability issues. In the discussion that followed the right mix of intervention was assessed, along with recommendations on the way forward for Europe and the role that the European Commission could play.

Cloud Computing is global; protectionist interventions, creation of obstacles at national/regional level, or local solutions (e.g. the European Cloud) will undermine the potential benefits for Europe. Less is more when it comes to intervention and a one-size-fits-all policy is not likely to be effective. Europe should refrain from protecting European vendors through public procurement and it should promote dynamic competition. The EC should let the market play and apply a light-touch approach to its regulation when needed.

There is significant confusion and it is evident that more clarification and harmonization of the legal framework is necessary. Nevertheless, Europe should compete on its merits and not on misconceptions, such as the beliefs around government access to data in the US and the EU.

How Secure is the Cloud? Jul 01, 2012

The OpenForum Academy organized two Breakfast Round Tables on “Putting the 'Open' into Open Innovation” for Cloud computing on the 15th and 23rd of May.

The debates come as the European Commission is putting the final touches to its long-awaited cloud computing strategy for Europe. The EU recognises that it needs to become not only cloud-friendly, but cloud-active, if it is to take full advantage of the benefits cloud computing offers. This is especially true for Europe's public sector. We believe this is the right moment to debate the merits of a pro-competitive cloud computing environment that is both global and open.

This report summarizes the discussion that took place during the first round table, titled ‘How Secure is the cloud?’. Our three invited speakers discussed the main security issues and challenges with respect to Cloud Computing. The speakers elaborated on the evolution of the security issues, the underlying trends that are now surfacing and how to approach cyber-security. In the discussion that followed, a number of topics were touched, from the new era of Bring-your-own-device and the resulting challenges, to cost-effective assurance and the way to promote it, to the EU perspective and the need for industry collaboration.

The cloud is an economic opportunity but in order to be able to exploit it, Europe should take a light touch approach, avoid “local emphasis”, help bring more transparency and harmonize its legislation to facilitate cloud uptake.

“In this world there is no such thing 100% security, the best we can do is try to be close to 100%”

OFA Report: The Cloud Computing Workshop Apr 06, 2012

The workshop brought together high-level experts to discuss three broad aspects of cloud computing; the economic impact, the legal aspects and the way to move forward. The economic opportunity is irrefutable - If you live in a multi-device world, you simply need the cloud. The cloud will have a significant impact on our entire economy; from the micro level and the numerous benefits it brings to supply and demand alike, to the positive macro-effects in new job creation and GDP contribution. There are serious obstacles though in claiming these benefits, from practical operational limitations to misconceptions, distrust and a legal framework that is largely fragmented and complicated. The speakers broadened our understanding of these weak points, downplaying some issues that are overly considered important, while pointing out others that are crucial, yet evade our attention. The workshop illustrated that there are a lot of misconceptions but also a lot of common ground and it is becoming apparent that the way forward passes through better communication and collaboration, whether at the level of EU-US governments, Industry-Policymakers or Providers-Users.

“The cloud will happen; the question is whether it will happen to us, with us, or by us“   Read more: [PDF]

To Select or Not? - Dealing with Competing Standards in Public IT Procurement Jan 03, 2012

This report addresses the problem how governments should deal with competing standards, that is, functionally equivalent standards, in the context of public IT-procurement. The focus is committee standards. The research questions are

  • In the context of public IT procurement, should governments choose between standards that have the same functionality?
  • If so, what factors should be taken into consideration?

The study has been funded with research grants from the Dutch Standardisation Forum, a forum involved in drawing up lists of selected ICT-standards for government organisations, and the Open Forum Academy, a platform for stimulating research and discussion on open standards and interoperability. This report aims to contribute towards discussion about competing standards and help those concerned with public IT procurement and procurement policy account for their decision(s). To this end it synthesizes scientific literature from different disciplines, in particular, economic, innovation and technology management studies. It interrelates the partly disparate themes of market impact of standards, standards wars, standards dynamics and converter solutions. 

Learn more >

e-Governance in public sector ICT procurement: what is shaping practice in Sweden? Apr 15, 2011

ePractice - Is it reasonable to require any person or organisation to purchase specific software in order to be able to communicate with a governmental organisation? This question is at the heart of an ongoing debate in many countries within the EU,because of its implications for accessibility, transparency,
democracy, and fairness in procurement and markets.

In this paper we consider the inability of many Swedish governmental organisations to communicate in open formats, and report on an investigation into policy formulation which has led to this situation in one sector – local government.



OFA and UK Government appoint LSE to undertake research into use of Open Source. Feb 14, 2011

The Cabinet Office and London School of Economics (LSE) have published research into the Total Cost of Ownership of Open Source Software. The report has been jointly financed by the Cabinet Office and OpenForum Academy, together with some of its supporters, including Alfresco, Deloitte, IBM and Red Hat. 

This independent report has been prepared by Maha Shaikh, Assistant Professor, Warwick University Business School and Tony Cornfold. Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, London School of Economics and Political Science.

It is intended to provide a mature and balanced assessment of the potential for open source software within the public sector based on evidence collected during a 2 year study from those who have taken this path and from members of the community of firms offering support services to such public bodies.

The audience addressed includes politicians and senior decision makers across central and local government, senior IT managers and the supplier communities. 

Call for papers : Open standards and public procurement Nov 18, 2010

 **** NOW CLOSED ****

The OpenForum Academy (OFA) is pleased to launch a first research stream which will focus on Open Standards in government ICT procurement. Procurement is where policy is put into practice and more rigorous analysis is needed to understand the challenges and opportunities involved.

OFA Fellows and associated academics are invited to submit proposals for research papers in one of two main areas:

  • The impact of Open standards in public procurement on the market

  • The barriers to implementation of an Open standards procurement policy and ways to overcome them

    The deadline for submitting an abstract, which should contain a research question (max 500 words) and notes on methodology, has been extended to end January 2011. The and the final paper is expected to be delivered by end June 2011.

    In addition to a €10 000 grant towards the research project selected to deliver the paper, OFA commits to a number of supporting external communications activities. At an early stage of the research, OFA will organise a roundtable event in Brussels, inviting experts to discuss the proposed research. The results of this roundtable should inform and be referenced in the final paper. Another public event will be scheduled to present the final paper, and will be followed by activities to disseminate the research results further.

     **** NOW CLOSED ****

    Please direct any questions and abstract submissions to:
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