June 2, 2020

New project: Towards an Interoperable Public Civic Ecosystem

In our vision for a Shared Digital Europe, which we published in April 2019, public and civic actors have an important role in safeguarding a digital space that is not dominated by market logic and that functions as a commons.

This space has increasingly been taken over by private platforms that dominate the online communication landscape. In order to break their exclusive grip on online communication, we are exploring how to provide means for public institutions, civic initiatives and other non-market actors to insert themselves into the rich communication fabric enabled by digital technology.

Last month Commons Network has received a Grant from the Next Generation Internet Policy Experimentation Fund to do research on how interoperability mechanisms can create a more sustainable online communication landscape. In line with our core principles, we are particularly interested in how interoperability can empower public institutions and other non-profit actors.

In recent interoperability debates, the focus has been on interoperability as means of ensuring competition and weakening monopolies. Our contribution will focus on interoperability as a principle enabling an alternative, decentralised public civic ecosystem, which creates opportunities for new actors to establish their position.

The research will be undertaken by the Shared Digital Europe core team. We will be analysing interoperability proposals and policy models over the summer, and follow up with a policy design workshop that will bring together experts from our network. We will present our research at the NGI Policy Summit 2020 on 28-29 September.

If you are working on topics such as interoperability, the role of public media in the digital ecosystem or the digital public sphere - please get in touch. We are curious to learn about your ideas. Also please write us with any questions or insights, via hello@shared-digital.eu or @shareddigitalEU.

We're also trying something new with this project. "The Interoperability" is a newsletter with work-in-progress notes from our team. First note will go out in several days - sign up below to receive it. We will be sending you updates every fortnight or so.


The Next Generation Internet Policy Experimentation Fund, is part of the NGI Forward project hosted by NESTA and funded by the European Union.