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Slovak Republic

Study About Open Source Software (SK0076)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Slovak Republic National Action Plan 2017-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2017

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Deputy Prime Minister for investment and Informatization, in cooperation with the ministers, the head of the Government Office, chair of the Public Procurement Office and the Plenipotentiary of the Government for the Development of Civil Society

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Slovakia Design Report 2017–2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment No. 19: In cooperation with experts, carry out a study that will document the possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of using open source software and other licensing models in the state administration.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

THEME - Open source software  
Comm 16, 17, 18, 19

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan[Note : The Office of the Plenipotentiary, “Open Government Partnership National Action Plan of the Slovak Republic 2017 – 2019”, http://bit.ly/2QYIlHV]:

Commitment 16: “Enable the disclosure of source code and development using open methods for newly developed plug-ins and extensions of web browsers and client applications.”

Commitment 17: “Document the use of selected open source components in custom-made information systems, analyze the possibility of publishing parts of the code and documentation under an open license and publish selected parts of the code.”

Commitment 18: “Publish at the Open Data Portal the list of used open source software stating the purpose of each type of software, license type, as well as software for which a government body has a license for its use, distribution and publishing”

Commitment 19: “In cooperation with experts, carry out a study that will document the possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of using open source software and other licensing models in the state administration.”

Start Date: Not specified            

End Date: 31 December 2017 and ongoing    

 

Context and Objectives

According to Slovensko.digital, the state spends yearly app. 500 million euro on IT services[Note : Slovensko.digital, “Tlačová správa: Rašiho úrad neplní vlastné sľuby. Neprajú si to dodávatelia štátnych systémov” (Press release: Raši’s office does not fulfil its promises because suppliers of state IT systems do not wish so), http://bit.ly/2TDFAOx (in Slovak)  ]. Given the ongoing criticism of e-government projects[Note : The Office of the President of the Slovak Republic, “Kiska: Minuli sme 900 miliónov a občania sú stále poštármi” (We have spent 900 millions and citizens are still postmen), https://bit.ly/2akD4tu (speech at the ITAPA 2015 conference in Slovak); Ján Hargaš, “Niečo špeciálne na záver“ (Something special at the end), http://bit.ly/2AjRwMt (closing speech at the ITAPA 2018 conference in Slovak). ], mostly for lack of transparency and competitiveness in the procurement processes, the commitments signaling that the government will explore more its opportunities to use open source software (OSS) is positive. Slovensko.digital has continuously emphasized that IT bids should be divided into smaller parts to avoid vendor-lock-in (a situation when a customer, e.g. a state agency, cannot easily transition to a competition)[Note : Slovensko.digital, “Tlačová správa: Slovensko.Digital bude nákupy štátnych IT systémov hodnotiť trinástimi kritériami.” (Slovakia.Digital will evaluate the purchases of state IT systems with thirteen criteria), http://bit.ly/2QpcDal (in Slovak).   ]. It also promoted the use of OSS, as some of these problems could be mitigated by using it instead of proprietary or ‘closed source’ software. In particular, OSS could bring more transparency and lower implementation and running costs. An investigative journalist interviewed for this report who writes about overpriced IT projects[Note : Martin Turček, “Ľudia blízki Kažimírovi zarobili milióny. Na zákazke od jeho ministerstva” (People close to Kažimír earned millions on the order from his ministry), Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2rGwK5A (in Slovak);  Martin Turček, “Štát plánuje dať ďalšie 4 milióny eur na projekt, ktorý takmer nikto nevyužíva” (State plans to inject further four millions to the project that almost nobody uses). Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2QBiutI (in Slovak); Martin Turček, “Kaliňákova skartovačka: zničili doklady z 277 obstarávaní” (Kaliňák’s shredder: they destroyed documents from 277 public procurement orders), Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2A0T4eZ (in Slovak); Martin Turček, “Úrady preverujú utajené miliónové zmluvy. Daniari podpísali ďalšie” (Agencies examine secret million contracts. Financial Administration signed others), Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2QBKm14 (in Slovak); Martin Turček, “Počiatkovi vypadol zo skrine kostlivec. Predražené zmluvy za milión eur” (Počiatek has a skeleton in the closet – overpriced contracts for a million euro), Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2GkXiDK (in Slovak); Martin Turček, “Prokuratúra preverí predražené IT zákazky za Počiatka” (The prosecutor’s office will investigate overpriced IT tenders approved by Počiatek), Aktuality.sk, http://bit.ly/2Giu2gX (in Slovak)] is convinced that OSS could eliminate the extent of overpriced contracts in the IT sector as it will not allow the agencies to sign an exclusive license, and maintenance and support agreements with suppliers[Note : Interview with Martin Turček (Aktuality.sk), 15 October 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.   ].

The design of OSS is publicly accessible and thus, allows anyone to inspect, modify and improve the software. This public element is the greatest advantage of OSS[Note : Opensource.com, “What is open source?”, https://red.ht/2PHcOJB ] and embodies OGP values. It encourages transparent processes, and collaborative participation and enables public control of the software. One of the interviewees for this report and the author of the analysis on the possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of using OSS in the public administration, argued that governments worldwide have embedded OSS because they want to increase the security of their systems, which is in contrast with the biggest myth about OSS, i.e. it is not secure enough[Note : Interview with Ján Gondoľ (worked for Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic as a consultant on OGP commitments during the action plan implementation), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.    ]. For instance, the UK[Note : Crown Commercial Service, “Collabora deal will provide savings on Open Source office software”, http://bit.ly/2A16O9i; Government Digital Service, “Be open and use open source”, http://bit.ly/2GlcHUF; GDS Technology in Government blog: open source, http://bit.ly/2LmYjd6    ] and the US[Note : The White House – President Barack Obama, The People’s Code, http://bit.ly/2EqFRiG and Code.gov, “Sharing America's Code Unlock the tremendous potential of the Federal Government’s software”, https://code.gov/ ] are one of the frontrunners in using OSS in the government.   

The topic of OSS in Slovakia is not new although it has appeared in OGP action plan for the first time only now. For instance, the Ministry of Finance had published in 2009 the Methodical guidelines for the procurement of software products in public administration[Note : The Ministry of Finance, “Príručka k Metodickému usmerneniu pre obstarávanie

softvérových produktov vo verejnej správe“ (Methodical guidelines for the procurement of software products in public administration), http://bit.ly/2UPNcxS (in Slovak)], mentioning the need to explore the possibility of obtaining OSS. [Note : ibid.  ]. Although the Strategy on the use of software products in public administration was approved by the government in 2009[Note : The Government of the Slovak Republic, “Government resolution no. 523/2009 on the Strategy on the use of software products in public administration” (15 July 2009), http://bit.ly/2ChvsEw (in Slovak).  ], the practice often did not follow recommendations set in the strategy. Therefore, commitments 16 – 18 to document and publish the use of open source components in custom-made public administration information systems are important. They help to trigger the discussion about OSS in public administration, explore who uses it and last but not least to send a signal to IT companies that this will be a trending topic[Note : Interview with Ján Gondoľ (worked for Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic as a consultant on OGP commitments during the action plan implementation), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details.    ]. One interviewee argued that big IT companies – state suppliers – often profit the most from the current status quo with limited use of OSS and exclusive license and maintenance agreements. All interviewed stakeholders agreed that in this situation commitment 16, to disclose source code for newly developed plug-ins and applications, could have a substantial potential impact, nonetheless only for new projects where vendor-lock-in does not already exist.

In order to achieve success, it is important to get buy-in from public servants. Therefore, commitment 19 to analyze pros and cons of using OSS in public administration is useful and could have a potential impact if it provides convincing arguments and reaches a critical audience of public servants who are in a position to decide what software solutions will be chosen.

Next steps

The consultations with experts confirmed that the current commitments on OSS represent an important first step to advance the use of OSS in public administration. Therefore, the IRM researcher recommends taking this topic forward to the next action plan. There have already been some good practice examples of the use of OSS in public administration on which other public agencies can build[Note : The monitoring platform for the use of EU structural funds (ITMS+), https://www.itms2014.sk/we-love-oss (in Slovak).    ]. While there is not much that can be done retroactively in relation to the overpriced proprietary IT projects, as it is unlikely that suppliers will be willing to give up their rights arising from past contracts. Nonetheless, the practice can be changed for future projects. However, that would require a holistic approach across different sectors. It would also require the amendment of laws and regulations governing public procurement. For instance, another OGP area – open education includes a commitment to create a repository for open educational resources. If public agencies had a broader approach, then they would have considered using OSS for the repository. As one interviewee stated, instead they went for proprietary software without exploring possibilities. As a result, it is impossible to assess the ‘value for money’ the public would get from this repository, because “everything is hidden from public sight”. Moreover, he stressed that the ministry will most probably never be able to change the supplier[Note : Interview with Ján Gondoľ (worked for Deputy Prime Minister’s Office for Investments and Informatization of the Slovak Republic as a consultant on OGP commitments during the action plan implementation), 5 November 2018. See Section ‘VI. Methodology and sources for details. ]. OSS commitments, as well as OGP commitments more broadly, should not be implemented isolated.


Commitments

  1. Open Data Portal

    SK0058, 2017, Open Data

  2. Submit a Draft Law on Data to the Government.

    SK0059, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  3. Public Administration Employee Training

    SK0060, 2017, Capacity Building

  4. Data Publication Standards

    SK0061, 2017, Capacity Building

  5. Update Open Data Portal

    SK0062, 2017, Open Data

  6. Open Data Publication

    SK0063, 2017, Open Data

  7. Open Data Awareness-Raising

    SK0064, 2017, Open Data

  8. Survey About Open Data

    SK0065, 2017, E-Government

  9. Publish Open Data

    SK0066, 2017, Open Data

  10. Analysis of Open Data

    SK0067, 2017, Open Data

  11. Open Data Strategy

    SK0068, 2017, Open Data

  12. Develop Standards for Publicly Available Application Programming Interfaces and Submit Them to the Commission for the Standardization of Information Systems in Public Administration.

    SK0069, 2017, E-Government

  13. Ensure Open Data Publication

    SK0070, 2017, Open Data

  14. Survey of Public Demand for Application Programming Interfaces

    SK0071, 2017, E-Government

  15. Publish Application Programming Interfaces

    SK0072, 2017, Open Data

  16. Enable the Disclosure of Source Code and Development Using Open Methods for Newly Developed Plug-Ins and Extensions of Web Browsers and Client Applications.

    SK0073, 2017, Open Data

  17. Custom-Made Information Systems

    SK0074, 2017, Open Data

  18. Publish Open Source Software Data

    SK0075, 2017, Open Data

  19. Study About Open Source Software

    SK0076, 2017, Open Data

  20. Feasibility Study on NGO Satellite Account

    SK0077, 2017, Civic Space

  21. Define the Minimum Scope and Structure of the Disclosed Data on the Use of European Structural and Investment Funds, the EEA Financial Mechanism, Norwegian Financial Mechanism, the Swiss Financial Mechanism and Subsidy Schemes From the State Budget.

    SK0078, 2017, Aid

  22. Publish Financial Data

    SK0079, 2017, Aid

  23. Propose Changes to Central Register of Contracts Regulation

    SK0080, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  24. Create Space for the Publication of Local Self-Government (Municipality) Contracts in a Single Central Repository.

    SK0081, 2017, Open Contracting and Procurement

  25. Establish and Operate a Repository of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic for Storage, Long-Term Archiving and Access to Educational Resources.

    SK0082, 2017, E-Government

  26. Open Education Resources

    SK0083, 2017, E-Government

  27. Reach Out to Partners Who Have Provided Educational Resources After 2008 to the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic Or to Its Directly Managed OrGanizations, with a Suggestion to Make Educational Resources Available Under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) Public License.

    SK0084, 2017, E-Government

  28. Enforce Public Licensing

    SK0085, 2017, Education

  29. Make Educational Resources Available in Local Langage

    SK0086, 2017, Education

  30. Ensure Availability of University Textbooks

    SK0087, 2017, E-Government

  31. Introduce Specific Rules for Open Publication and the Obligation to Provide Free Access of Selected Publicly Funded Publica-Tions

    SK0088, 2017, E-Government

  32. Analyze the Possibility of Applying Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) Public License As Standard for Selected Works Mandatorily Published in the Central Registry of Theses and Dissertations.

    SK0089, 2017, E-Government

  33. Awareness-Raising About Open Education Resources

    SK0090, 2017, E-Government

  34. Publish the Outcomes of the Approval Process of Educational Resources on the Web-Site of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic.

    SK0091, 2017, E-Government

  35. To Introduce the Basic Principles of Open Access to Scientific Publications Under a Public License Under the Operational Program Research and Innovation.

    SK0092, 2017, E-Government

  36. Ensure the Implementation of Public License Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

    SK0093, 2017, Open Data

  37. Establish Contact Office for Open Access.

    SK0094, 2017, Open Data

  38. Establish Conditions for Passportization of Open Research Data Under a Public License and Monitor Its Implementation in Practice.

    SK0095, 2017, E-Government

  39. Establish and Operate a Repository to Provide Storage, Long-Term Archiving and Ac-Cess to Slovak Scientific and Academic Publications, Research Data and Gray Literature.

    SK0096, 2017, Open Data

  40. Design Systematic Benchmarking Monitoring Mechanisms for the Measurement and Comparison and Propose Further Analyses Related to Acquiring, Processing and Re-Use of Research Data and Open Access Scientific Publications.

    SK0097, 2017, E-Government

  41. Raise Awareness About Open Access in Academic Community

    SK0098, 2017, Education

  42. Participate in International Coordination on Open Education Reforms

    SK0099, 2017, Education

  43. Participatory Public Policy

    SK0100, 2017, E-Government

  44. Citizen-Traingin on Public Policy Making

    SK0101, 2017, Capacity Building

  45. Create Engaging Public Policies

    SK0102, 2017, Capacity Building

  46. Government Employee Peer-Exchange

    SK0103, 2017, Capacity Building

  47. Evaluate Identified Participatory Processes of Creation and Implementation of Pub-Lic Policies and Disseminate Examples of Good Practice Based on This Evaluation.

    SK0104, 2017, Capacity Building

  48. Promote Partnership and Dialogue Between Public Authorities, Citizens and NGOs at National, Regional and Local Level in the Area of Participatory Public Policy-Making.

    SK0105, 2017, Capacity Building

  49. Propose a Recommendation of Internal Guidelines on the Use of Free On-Line Tools in Participatory Creation of Public Policies.

    SK0106, 2017, Capacity Building

  50. Create Learning Tools in the Field of Participation.

    SK0107, 2017, Capacity Building

  51. Use Educational Tools About Participation in Formal Education Using Informal Learn-Ing Methods.

    SK0108, 2017, E-Government

  52. Develop Recommendations for Embedding Participatory Processes Into Organiza-Tional Processes, Internal Guidelines and Other Documents for the Needs of Central Government Bodies.

    SK0109, 2017, Capacity Building

  53. Reassess the Implementation of the Publication of Assessments of Judges in Terms of the Clarity and Making Further Analysis Easier

    SK0110, 2017, E-Government

  54. Specify Which Court Decisions Do Not Need to Be Published.

    SK0111, 2017, E-Government

  55. Standardize Submission Requirements for Slov-Lex Portal

    SK0112, 2017, Capacity Building

  56. Draft Legislation About the Responsibility of Judges

    SK0113, 2017, E-Government

  57. Draft Legislation to Ensure Public Scrutiny of Judges

    SK0114, 2017, Judiciary

  58. Prepare Legislation That Will Ensure the Publication of the Seat of Office of Individual Prosecutors

    SK0115, 2017, E-Government

  59. Create Draft Legislation to Extend the Right to Recommend Candidates for the Post of Attorney-General.

    SK0116, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  60. Participatory Analysis of Prosecutor's Affairs

    SK0117, 2017, E-Government

  61. In a Participatory Manner, Analyze the Selection Procedures

    SK0118, 2017, Justice

  62. Awareness-Raising About Anti-Social Activities

    SK0119, 2017, Legislation & Regulation

  63. Analyze and Evaluate Preliminary Information and Reports on Public Participation in the Process of Drafting and Commenting on Draft Legislation.

    SK0120, 2017, E-Government

  64. Analyze and Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Electronic Collective Petition.

    SK0121, 2017, E-Government

  65. Identify the Person Responsible for Implementing the Tasks of the OGP National Action Plan 2017-2019 in the Organization.

    SK0122, 2017, E-Government

  66. Coordinate the Working Group on the Implementation of the OGP National Action Plan 2017-2019.

    SK0123, 2017, OGP

  67. Develop the Final Evaluation of the OGP National Action Plan 2017-2019.

    SK0124, 2017, E-Government

  68. Prepare and Submit for the Government of the Slovak Republic the OGP National Action Plan for the Following Period.

    SK0125, 2017, E-Government

  69. List of Open Data Datasets

    SK0023, 2015, E-Government

  70. Publish Open Data

    SK0024, 2015, E-Government

  71. Survey of Open Data

    SK0025, 2015, Open Data

  72. Publish Relevant Open Datasets

    SK0026, 2015, E-Government

  73. Starred commitment Open Data Publication Strategy

    SK0027, 2015, Open Data

  74. Grant Scheme Open Data Portal

    SK0028, 2015, E-Government

  75. Web Portal Promotion Campaign

    SK0029, 2015, E-Government

  76. Evaluate Grant Funding Open Data Application

    SK0030, 2015, E-Government

  77. Digital Education Resources

    SK0031, 2015, Education

  78. Map Existing Repositories

    SK0032, 2015, Education

  79. Analyze Procurement Process for Education Resources

    SK0033, 2015, E-Government

  80. Textbook Procurement Process

    SK0034, 2015, E-Government

  81. Pilot Procurement Process

    SK0035, 2015, E-Government

  82. Raise Awareness of Education Resources

    SK0036, 2015, Education

  83. Join Multilateral Activities in Europe and Beyond That Support the Creation, Improvement, Sharing and Re-Use of Open Educational Resources.

    SK0037, 2015, Education

  84. Map Existing Scientific Repositories

    SK0038, 2015, Open Data

  85. Identify Barriers to Open Data Access

    SK0039, 2015, Open Data

  86. Submit Analysis of Open Data Publication

    SK0040, 2015, Open Data

  87. Data Publication Mechanism

    SK0041, 2015, E-Government

  88. Raise Awareness About Open Access in Academic Community

    SK0042, 2015, Capacity Building

  89. Assist Other Countries with Open Access Strategy

    SK0043, 2015, E-Government

  90. Participatory Policy-Making

    SK0044, 2015, Public Participation

  91. Workshops on Public Involvement in Policymaking

    SK0045, 2015, Capacity Building

  92. Starred commitment Develop Public Policy with Civil Society

    SK0047, 2015, Civic Space

  93. Starred commitment Develop Criteria for Evaluating Participation in Policymaking

    SK0048, 2015, Public Participation

  94. Evaluate Policy Creation

    SK0049, 2015, Public Participation

  95. Map Legislative Environments

    SK0050, 2015, Legislature

  96. Carry Out a Public Campaign to Promote the Collective Electronic Petitions.

    SK0051, 2015, Capacity Building

  97. Publish Evaluation of Justices

    SK0052, 2015, Judiciary

  98. Analyze Publication of Judicial Decisions

    SK0053, 2015, Judiciary

  99. Uniform Reporting of Judicial Decisions

    SK0054, 2015, Judiciary

  100. Publish List of Names of Prosecutors

    SK0055, 2015, Judiciary

  101. Final Evaluation of OGP Action Plan

    SK0056, 2015, OGP

  102. Develop Next Action Plan

    SK0057, 2015, OGP

  103. Starred commitment Open Data Portal Launch

    SK0001, 2012, Open Data

  104. Publishing Datasets

    SK0002, 2012, Open Data

  105. Datasets Mapping

    SK0003, 2012, Open Data

  106. Data Standards

    SK0004, 2012, Open Data

  107. Improved Register of Contracts

    SK0005, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  108. Starred commitment Continuous Dataset Publising

    SK0006, 2012, Open Data

  109. Starred commitment ITMS Dataset

    SK0007, 2012, Open Data

  110. EU Funds and Subsidies Monitoring

    SK0008, 2012, Fiscal Transparency

  111. EU Funds and Subsidies Monitoring – Prepare Tender for Web Application

    SK0009, 2012, Open Contracting and Procurement

  112. EU Funds and Subsidies Monitoring – Portal Launch

    SK0010, 2012, E-Government

  113. Participatory Policy Making

    SK0011, 2012, Capacity Building

  114. Starred commitment Apply Participatory Policy Making

    SK0012, 2012, Public Participation

  115. Lawmaking Public Participation Rules

    SK0013, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  116. Participatory Policy Making

    SK0014, 2012, Public Participation

  117. Collective e-Petitions

    SK0015, 2012,

  118. Collective e-Petitions – Draft Amendment

    SK0016, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  119. OGP Steering Committee

    SK0017, 2012, OGP

  120. Transparency Council and Openess Barometer

    SK0018, 2012, Capacity Building

  121. Develop Criteria for Transparency Council and Openess Barometer

    SK0019, 2012, Capacity Building

  122. Conduct First Evaluation Using Openess Barometer

    SK0020, 2012, Capacity Building

  123. Whistleblowers Protection Act

    SK0021, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  124. 2014-2015 Action Plan Development

    SK0022, 2012, OGP