Open Standards

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Presented in London, 2011-06-30, at http://www.opentothepublic.org.uk

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Open Standards

  1. 1. Open Data Standards for Education and Training Simon Grant JISC CETIS “ Open to the Public”: BCS OSSG Meeting London, 2011-06-30
  2. 2. Open standards... <ul><li>JISC Business Case discusses ... </li><ul><li>adopted and maintained by a not-for-profit organisation
  3. 3. development through open decision-making procedure available to all
  4. 4. free access, use, copy and distribution
  5. 5. IP irrevocably available on a royalty-free basis </li></ul><li>Refers to European Interoperability Framework for pan-European eGovernment services ( 2004 ref )
  6. 6. But not really black-and-white </li></ul>
  7. 7. Examples of (fairly) open standards <ul><li>Dublin Core </li><ul><li>DCMI Metadata Terms
  8. 8. &quot;Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License&quot;
  9. 9. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ </li></ul><li>IETF RFCs </li><ul><li>including Atom (see later)
  10. 10. many communication and security protocols etc
  11. 11. freely available
  12. 12. neutral licence but prefers royalty-free
  13. 13. can create derivative works </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Examples of (fairly) open standards (continued) <ul><li>W3C </li><ul><li>HTML , CSS , XML , RDF
  15. 15. HTML5 , RDFa ,
  16. 16. Widgets http://www.w3.org/2008/webapps/wiki/WidgetSpecs
  17. 17. freely available
  18. 18. royalty-free license policy
  19. 19. but no derivative works </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Examples of not quite so open standards <ul><li>anything from ISO, CEN or national standards bodies </li><ul><li>you have to buy a copy; may lead to reduced adoption and delay on implementation, whatever the licence conditions </li></ul><li>e.g. IMS Global Learning Consortium is a &quot;membership organization that has its primary responsibility to its members. The most important goal of IMS GLC work is to enable an environment of interoperability based on the investment made by the IMS GLC members.&quot; ( use ref ) </li><ul><li>IMS License to use requires deposit of contact details, warranted as correct
  21. 21. IMS keeps full rights to allow or disallow derivative specifications </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Potential problems <ul><li>The situation with many other specifications is unclear
  23. 23. Possibilities may exist for &quot; patent ambush &quot; (see Wikipedia)
  24. 24. You have to be careful and check </li><ul><li>otherwise you could be caught out later with a royalties demand </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. The current controversy <ul><li>Mark Ballard in Computer Weekly, 2011-05-13 </li><ul><li>“ International alarm rings over UK ICT policy”
  26. 26. Government policy for mandating open standards
  27. 27. But e.g. CEN standards are mandatory </li></ul><li>Can we work towards an open standards outcome?
  28. 28. “ Yes we can!” (to quote Bob the Builder)
  29. 29. How? </li></ul>
  30. 30. Leap2A as a case study <ul><li>IMS LIP (2001) and ePortfolio (2005) </li><ul><li>2006 CETIS community wanted to move on
  31. 31. 2008 some initial progress on cross-mapping and common specification </li></ul><li>2009 first full version
  32. 32. 2010 slight revision tidying up loose ends
  33. 33. 2011 starting to bring it into the European arena towards standardisation
  34. 34. The rest through recommendations (see below...)
  35. 35. Similar earlier experiences and challenges with XCRI , another community-driven project </li></ul>
  36. 36. Suggestions or recommendations for how to work towards effective open standards including references to experiences with Leap2A
  37. 37. 1: CLA & Licensing <ul><li>Use CLA (contributor licence agreement) from the start (default recommendation: Open Web Foundation )
  38. 38. Have a licence that allows derivative works, as with OWFa 1.0
  39. 39. Leap2A is using OWF, which has facilitated: </li><ul><li>Leap2A providing foundation for MedBiquitous Educational Trajectory specification work
  40. 40. Leap2A being used by Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (UK) portfolio interoperability project </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. 2: Developer involvement is essential <ul><li>Adoption is everything </li><ul><li>it is developers who adopt (unless there are enforceable laws) </li></ul><li>Ensure that vendors and developers drive process </li><ul><li>Leap2A extensively used within PebblePad and Mahara </li></ul><li>Don't develop within currently constrained standards bodies </li><ul><li>but explore ways for BSI/CEN/ISO to rubber stamp it
  42. 42. without requiring ongoing revenue, hence freely available
  43. 43. consider e.g. Publicly Available Specification </li></ul></ul>
  44. 44. 3: Reuse of existing work, where truly applicable <ul><li>Leap2A partners decided to base the spec on Atom </li><ul><li>e-portfolios have a fair amount in common with blogs
  45. 45. Atom structure is very general purpose and adaptable </li></ul><li>Reuse lowers the barrier </li><ul><li>to understanding: just one conceptual step forwards
  46. 46. to adoption: start by modifying existing libraries </li></ul><li>But beware the danger of building on inadequate foundations </li></ul>
  47. 47. 4: Good governance <ul><li>Essential to prevent dominance of monopolistic or cartel interests
  48. 48. Who is going to decide when to offer the spec to an official standards body?
  49. 49. Those who adopt deserve some control over the future, e.g. revisions
  50. 50. But how exactly to do it, in a self-sustaining manner? </li></ul>
  51. 51. 5: Effective publicity <ul><li>Leap2A is actively looking for more adopters </li><ul><li>among e-portfolio tool developers
  52. 52. among other &quot;learner-ownable information&quot; system developers </li></ul><li>Also needs examples of real benefits to draw in more
  53. 53. Needs ongoing effort = money from somewhere </li></ul>
  54. 54. 6: Modest support, but … <ul><li>If you give people too much money, they are liable to forget their own longer-term interests in favour of short-term gain
  55. 55. Modest JISC funding has worked well for projects involving UK HE
  56. 56. This kind of funding could equally be from </li><ul><li>BIS, DfE, Cabinet Office
  57. 57. European Commission </li></ul><li>Is it realistic for commercial funding without major risk? </li><ul><li>good question that needs investigation, but possibly not … </li></ul></ul>
  58. 58. … reliable support needed <ul><li>To maintain good governance
  59. 59. For ongoing publicity
  60. 60. Perhaps to fund BSI's modest involvement in CEN to: </li><ul><li>look after UK interests
  61. 61. ensure UK open standards are not struck down by ENs
  62. 62. contribute UK view to European process and try to get it incorporated
  63. 63. work in conjunction with existing partners in the Workshop on Learning Technologies ( CEN page )
  64. 64. as with BSI, to explore routes to free availability </li></ul><li>Could be very cost-effective </li></ul>
  65. 65. Thanks for your attention! <ul><li>Find me at </li><ul><li>JISC CETIS http://jisc.cetis.ac.uk/
  66. 66. my JISC CETIS blog
  67. 67. Gmail, Twitter, Skype, etc.: asimong
  68. 68. my home page </li></ul></ul>

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