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OFA Fellow Research and Publications

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The First Openforum Academy Conference Proceedings

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. This book features the following chapters by leading thinkers and commentators:

  • Openness and Legitimacy in Standards Development by Andrew Updegrove
Consensus regarding which specifications can rightfully claim to be “open standards” has been notably difficult to achieve in recent times. Usually, the question is academic, but when governments restrict their very substantial purchasing power to the acquisition of products and services implementing only such standards, then the selection of openness criteria can become contentious. In this article, I review traditional SDO and modern consortia norms of openness, as well as the standards related goals, and resulting definitions, of openness to be found in a variety of modern government and treaty formulations.
  • Estimating the Economic Contribution of Open Source Software to the European Economy by Carlo Daffara
There have been several research efforts in the past that tried to assess the real value introduced in the EU economy through the adoption of Open Source Software, with inconclusive results. A different approach based on collated data from several code reuse surveys, coupled with a set of macroeconomic estimates provide an indication of savings for the EU economy of at least 114B€/year, not including second order effects.
  • IT usage in Swedish primary schools: Observations on Innovation and Educational Lock-In by Björn Lundell
We report on initial results from a survey conducted for establishing the state-of-practice with respect to student's IT usage in Swedish primary schools. There are a number of innovative efforts concerning IT usage, but students in many primary schools are also exposed to a number of different lock-in effects, including educational lock-in. Results reveal significant misconceptions concerning Open Source software and also considerable confusion amongst respondents related to the difference between software application and file format. The study characterises problems and provide recommended actions.
  • Unsettling Users: Openness and the Rise of Inverse Infrastructures by Tineke M. Egyedi and Wim Vree
The rise of inverse infrastructures, i.e., user-driven, self-organizing emergent infrastructures, necessitates a paradigm shift in current thinking about infrastructures. For such bottom-up developed infrastructures, open standards – e.g., standardized protocols, components and data in IT - are particularly important. This paper argues that they lower the threshold for inverse community innovation because they make user investments affordable, facilitate interoperability and ease the development of complementarities. Open standards thus catalyze user-driven developments that challenge dominant infrastructure practices and policies.
  • Copyright, Interfaces, and a Possible Atlantic Divide by Simonetta Vezzoso
Recent copyright cases on both sides of the Atlantic focused on important interoperability issues. While the decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union in SAS Institute, Inc v World Programming Ltd assessed data formats under the EU Software Directive, the ruling by the Northern District of California Court in Oracle America, Inc v Google Inc dealt with application programming interfaces. The European decision is rightly celebrated as a further important step in the promotion of interoperability in the EU. This article argues that, despite appreciable signs of convergence across the Atlantic, the assessment of application programming interfaces under EU law could still turn out to be quite different, and arguably much less pro-interoperability, than under US law.
  • Framing the Conundrum of Total Cost of Ownership of Open Source Software by Maha Shaikh and Tony Cornford
This paper reflects the results of phase I of our study on the total cost of ownership (TCO) of open source software adoption. Not only have we found TCO to be an intriguing issue but it is contentious, baffling and each company approaches it in a distinctive manner (and sometimes not at all). In effect it is a conundrum that needs unpacking before it can be explained and understood. Our paper discusses the components of TCO as total cost of ownership and total cost of acquisition (and besides). Using this broad dichotomy and its various components we then analyze our data to make sense of procurement decisions in relation to open source software in the public sector and private companies.
  • Consumer Trust, Education and Empowerment: The Open Story by Altsitsiadis Efthymios
Conventional policy making suggests the need to boost trust within supply and user markets, to educate users to better understand the underlying risks, and finally to empower the users so that their informed decisions help shape a better ICT market that will benefit society. This paper relies on recent scientific evidence and attempts to connect the loosely connected dots above into a slightly less conventional story.
  • The Evolution Of Openness: Collaboration On Shared Platforms by Shane Coughlan
Free Software is an approach to software that emphasises the freedoms provided to end users, with a particular focus on the ability of participants to use, study, share and improve technology. Its popularity has produced a wealth of related terminology and advocates, and this occasionally leads to some degree of confusion or misunderstanding. However, once Free Software is understood as a method of deriving value from knowledge products with an emphasis on collaboration, and as existing in a world where such activities tend to easier, cheaper and more effective than ever before, the reason for both its popularity and growth becomes clear. This paper asserts that Free Software will continue to benefit from and drive increased openness and interoperability in the technology market. Perhaps most interestingly, as the concepts underlying Free Software are applied to other creative works such as text, music or images, mainstream acceptance of this approach to developing and maintaining knowledge products will increase. The governance of such approaches - and therefore their sustainability - will be refined as they scale, and any issues will gradually be worked out due to stakeholder requirements and market dynamics.
  • Open Content Mining by Peter Murray-Rust, Jenny Molloy and Diane Cabell
We present evidence that content-mining of scholarly articles is now technically feasible and highly valuable both. However researchers and information technologist are blocked by legal and contractual barriers from using it and developing the methodologies. We review the problems and propose changes in legal policy which we have already submitted to the UK's Hargreaves report on intellectual property reform. We put forward the fundamental rights of scholars and embed them in a manifesto: "The right to read is the right to mine", "Users and providers should encourage machine processing, and "Facts don't belong to anyone."
  • Complexities in the Relationship among Standarization, Invention and Innovation in Information and Communication Technologies: An introductory perspective by Jochen Friedrich
Standards can play a key role for innovation, both regarding the exploitation of research results and inventions and regarding the promotion of innovation taking place on top the standards, on the level of the implementation. This paper gives an introductory outline on the various complexities around the relation of standardisation and innovation. It proposes a level of differentiation in order to contribute to a structured debate on the topic – taking different perspectives and business cases into account.


You can download the book for free in US Letter or A4 format as a PDF file. You can also buy a professionally printed copy via Lulu for 10 USD plus postage.

The contents of this book are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)


Fellow Research and Publications

Andrew Updegrove 

Björn Lundell

Georg C. F. Greve

Laura DeNardis

Shane Coughlan 

Simon Phipps

Tineke M. Egyedi 

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