‘Openness’ including open standards and open source software is increasingly prevalent, but presents a number of challenges requiring effective policy and strategic initiatives. The European Commission (EC, 2013a, 2013b) and countries, such as the Netherlands (NOC, 2007), Portugal (Ballard, 2012), and the U.K. (UK, 2012a, 2015), have acknowledged the importance of open standards and have implemented initiatives accordingly.
Open standards have been discussed by researchers (e.g. Bird, 1998) and policy makers in the EU and different member countries (EU, 2004; SOU, 2009) for a long time. Some member countries mandate use of open standards, based on definitions which require that standards are provided on royalty-free conditions, as part of national policy (e.g. NOC, 2007; UK, 2012a). Such policies aim to promote use of standards which have certain open properties and can thereby be used as a basis for implementation in software under different (proprietary and open source) software licenses. For example, the U.K. Government has a national policy which promotes and mandates use of specific open standards (UK, 2012a, 2012b, 2014, 2015). In Sweden, the minister responsible for municipalities has expressed support for the definition of ‘open standard’ set out in the European Interoperability Framework version 1.0 (Odell, 2009) and national framework agreements for public sector procurement of software in Sweden refer to open standards (EU, 2004; SOU, 2009; Kammarkollegiet, 2013, 2014a, 2014b) in relation to the standards which can be referenced in procurement.