File format: Denmark chooses Open Standards

Reading the Standards blog – a blog about standards and their impact on business and society, hosted by a technology law firm based in Boston – I learn about open standards legislative action in Denmark.

John Gøtze, an independent Danish consultant, wrote an interesting post about Denmark’sinitiatives to mandate the use of open standards.

Last Friday Helge Sander, the Danish Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, made a press announcement about his plan for following up on the Parliament Resolution.

Helge Sander was already known for his announce about Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation’s decision to use OpenDocument format by September 1st 2006, later followed by the Ministry of Finance (Danish).
The implementation plan suggests that:

open standards should be implemented gradually by making it mandatory for the public sector to use a number of open standards when this becomes technically feasible.

The report (abstract in English) identifies an initial sets of open standards as candidates, including ODF and OpenXML, for mandatory use from 1 January 2008 if:

[if] an economic impact assessment shows that this will not involve additional costs to the public sector.

The implementation plan’s elements are, as John reported, the following:

  • From 1 January 2008, all new public IT solutions should make use of the mandatory open standards relevant to the IT solution in question unless there are significant reasons for not complying with these standards.
  • If there are significant reasons for not complying with the relevant mandatory open standards, this must be reported on signing the contract, stating the reasons for applying the exceptional provisions.
  • In case of IT solutions where the technical procurement is above the EU tendering limit, the reasons must be reported to the National IT and Telecom Agency for the purpose of publication.
  • All ministers must ensure that mandatory standards are drawn up within their respective areas of responsibility where this is relevant. This must be made in cooperation with local/regional administrations in line with the existing common public projects in the area of digitalization.

Read the full story.