Royalty Free Open Standards – a report

An OSC paper explaining why royalty free open standards are essential for reducing public sector ICT expenditure and illustrating the vital role that public sector ICT could play as a source of innovation and growth in the economy.

Growth, innovation and creation have come about largely through the ability to interact easily with minimal transaction costs, delivered by using royalty free open standards.

This is not the case with online public services. If these services ever were avoidable, now they are being promoted or imposed upon the user. Unlike the Internet or the web, online public services constrain the user regarding their choice of software through the use of proprietary software standards.

When the public sector does not adopt royalty free open standards for software:

  • the public sector is less able to reduce its dependence on a small group of suppliers (an “oligopoly” with all the attendant risks)
  • users of online public services are constrained in their choice of software
  • users of online public services become locked in to a small group of suppliers
  • online services constrain innovation and growth in the knowledge economy

We have published a report on the wider importance of royalty free open standards and you can download it here (65 pages, pdf, approx 1.8MByte).