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FAQ

General

  • By creating an account you will be able to benefit from the many services the platform has to offer. Among others you will be able to:

    • Become a member of any project or community and follow its progress through notifications on new content published;
    • Promote your project by proposing news articles, case studies, events or by registering a reusable solution;
    • Join discussions and comment on any content of your interest;
    • Stay up to date though the various newsletters of Joinup.
  • Even though there is a clear focus on public administrations within Joinup, the portal is open to everyone. Anyone interested in eGovernment  and interoperability solutions for public administrations is eligible to join the Joinup platform.

  •  Kudos are virtual credits awarded to registered users, each time they contribute content to Joinup. In other words: the higher the total number of Kudos a member has, the more active he/ she is.

     
    How does it work? Each activity a registered user performs on the portal is awarded a credit, a numerical value, which is associated to the member’s profile.
     
    Kudos do not only help to locate highly active members within the community; they also serve to track down users with comments, cases and posts highly rated by their peers. Kudos also affect the order of the People’s list, giving more visibility and recognition to active members.
  • Currently only English can be selected.

  • For the time being, newsletters will be available in English only.

  • Yes. A Joinup profile is by default publicly visible. However, users may customise their settings and select which information is visible to both users and visitors.
    In case this option is enabled, other users may send you e-mails via the “Send a message” feature of the platform.

  • You cannot remove your profile without deleting your account. If you would like to remove your account please login with the account that you want to remove, edit your “My Page”, and click the “Delete Account” button. This is irreversible.

  • In case you are experiencing problems while accessing your Joinup  account, please follow these steps in order to reset your password:

    1. Go to the login page: https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/user/login?destination=homepage;
    2. Click the link ‘Request new password’;
    3. You will receive an e-mail in your inbox;
    4. Follow the instructions of the email to activate your new password before trying to log in.

    Please remember that you can customise your password by editing your page “My Page” which is found in “My Dashboard”.

    If problems persist, please do not hesitate to contact the Joinup Helpdesk 
     

  • When creating a project, a project owner can decide to allow users to anonymously download release files. This option can be altered in the settings of your project while editing it.

    By enabling this option, a user who is not logged in and attempting to download a release file will have to fill in a popup to decide whether he wants to:

    • Provide a short feedback; (the user will be forwarded to the login / registration page. After login, he will be redirected to the release page)
    • Remain anonymous (the download starts immediately).

    To allow anonymous download, go to ‘Communication and Collaboration Tools’ and tick the checkbox “Allow anonymous download” while filling the form to propose your project. When your project is created, you can further edit this setting by editing your project.

  • The Editor's Choice distinguishes good practice cases that are particularly interesting to the community due to the quality and extent of the information provided, the scope of the project, its innovation and relevance for the sector. This label is given by the Joinup Editorial Team.

  • In order to contact directly the administrators of a particular project, navigate to the project’s page once logged in on the website. In the right-hand column click on the name of the person you would like to contact. The contact email address is displayed in the personal data section of the profile.

  • The 'reads' (on some pages this is called 'visits') counts only the hits by authenticated users that are logged in. The actual number of reads/visits lies expectedly higher than depicted.

Open Source Software

  • FLOSS stands for Free/Libre/Open-Source Software. According to GNU.org, free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it means that the program's users have the four essential freedoms:

    1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
    2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
    3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
    4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others. By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • Software which does not provide the user with the above four freedoms is called proprietary software.

  • It is not price which sets FLOSS apart from proprietary software. Some proprietary software is distributed gratis - so-called "freeware" or "shareware" - without giving the four freedoms described above.

    On the other hand, FLOSS is not without costs. The software itself may be available at zero price, but the distributor may charge for various services, such as packaging the software, making it available, providing documentation and maintenance, or adapting it to a client's needs.

  • The GNU General Public License (GPL) is central to the free software universe. It gives users the right to use, modify and redistribute software licensed under it, while only demanding that they again use the GPL to distribute their modified versions. This reciprocal mechanism gave rise to a fast-growing pool of free software.

  • The primary objective in this area is to promote the uptake of Open-Source Software in public administrations:

    • Encouraging Europe's public administrations to consider and assess the most advantageous IT solutions for their particular needs;
    • Reducing the costly replication of public sector software that already exists in similar form elsewhere, lowering the cost of eGovernment solutions and helping spread good practice throughout public administrations;
    • Ensuring that the market for IT solutions remains competitive;
    • Reducing ISA's own costs for application development and maintenance;
    • Helping ensure that Open-Source Software solutions can compete on a level playing field with proprietary solutions.
  • The links below provide a quick overview of some of the more significant websites regarding Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS). This list, however, is by no means complete:

Legal questions

  • F/OSS licences are (too) numerous. Facing this proliferation, the Open-Source Initiative (OSI) is the main organisation maintaining a list of "approved licenses". The European Union Public Licence (EUPL) was created by the European Commission to comply with the European legal context: it is currently the sole licence which has official value in 22 linguistic versions. The EUPL was approved by OSI. The EUPL reduces the impact of license proliferation by providing a compatibility list, which includes the GPL.

  • No, any licence that is recognized by the OSI (Open Source Initiative), or the FSF ( Free Software Foundation) will be accepted for distributing projects hosted on Joinup. For end-user applications and solutions that should be protected from “appropriation”, the use of the European Union Public Licence is highly recommended as common legal framework across Europe, because it is valid in all official European languages. The EUPL is especially written in consideration of European law and practice.

    Joinup has a “licence wizard” to facilitate licence selection.

     

  •  You should report it to the Joinup legal service, which will investigate and try to solve the issue amicably. If needed, the Joinup administrator will remove / put off line all projects, pages or texts that appear – whether originally or later – to be contrary to the Joinup principles. Other forges (federated forges) web masters will be involved as the case may be. In addition, the European Commission may also use any other legal instrument that could be suitable for enforcing the respect of the applicable copyright law.

  •  No. You are free to make modifications and use them privately, without ever releasing them. This applies to organizations (including public administrations and companies) that can make and use modified version internally without ever releasing it outside.

  • No, everyone has the right to sell copies, or to ask for a contribution. Services (training, implementation, support etc.) are nearly never for free. Some licences (like the EUPL) states that the licence is “royalty free”, meaning that the licensor will not try to manage “permanent royalties” depending on the number of users, of computers, the country where it is distributed etc. However, they are other commercial business models than managing royalties. In addition, according to their relevant open source licences, the software available on Joinup can be used for any purpose, including commercial activities”.

  • You will include the following in the source code and documentation:

    Copyright <date> <YOUR-ORGANISATION>

    Licensed under the EUPL, Version 1.1 or – as soon they will be approved by the European Commission - subsequent versions of the EUPL (the "Licence").

    You may not use this work except in compliance with the Licence.

    You may obtain a copy of the Licence at: https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/software/page/eupl

     

    In addition, you may download a .txt version of the Licence and include it in your package.

  • The EUPL v1.1 refers to “the software”, but may occasionally be used for licensing other copyrighted assets (documentation, specifications, semantic assets). The scope of the planned EUPL v1.2 will be broader, as the Licence now refers to “the Work” in general.

  •  I like most of the EUPL provisions, but I would like to change some points, making my own version. Can I do that?

    The EUPL is copyrighted by the European Community (the European Union after the Lisbon treaty). It cannot be modified. You can use modified EUPL terms in another license provided that you call your license by another name and do not give any impression that your licence is authored by the European Commission or any other institution, without specific authorisation.

     

  • While the licence regulates the use of the distributed covered work (how far can recipients use the source code, copy, modify, distribute the work), a contributor agreement regulates the relationship between a project owner and the various persons or developers who contribute to this project (the project governance and project owner authority, the possible outbound licences, the copyright vested to the various parties).

     

    Joinup publishes the “ISA Contributor Agreement v1.1” that is used for some Joinup hosted projects.

  •  Simply “using” components covered by any GPL version has no impact on licensing your own code. Even when a larger work appears to the end user to be a unique program, its components, when their source code are combined without being modified and merged together, stay licensed under their different primary licences. All copyright attributions must be respected and covering licenses provided. In their purpose to limit software appropriation, free software advocates (FSF in particular) claim for extending GPL coverage in some cases of linking. There is no case law confirming this in Europe (and software licensed under the EUPL is protected against appropriation anyway). Joinup maintains a list of EUPL compatible licences. In case of doubt, please contact the Joinup legal expert that could ask (to the component licensor) a formal FOSS licence exception for distributing under the EUPL.

  •  The use of Joinup is regulated by 10 principles. Principle #2 states that Joinup is reserved for software and projects that are of particular use for public administrations in Europe, and/or produced by the public sector. The reference to public administrations is not exclusive of other usages: for example a Geographical Information System may be considered as “answering to public sector needs” (road making etc.), even if it can also be useful for private purpose (home building, truck or property management etc.). The reference to Europe is not exclusive either: Joinup welcomes projects that are initiated and could be downloaded and used everywhere, provide they may be useful to public administrations in Europe. The project owner can be a public administration, however it can be any other person (individual, association, company) developing software that is of particular use for public administrations.

  • Depending on your specific project, a JOINUP legal expert can provide you with opinions related to open source licensing (which free/open source licence could you use), combining/linking, distribution, procurement, possible exceptions etc. You may get in touch with the expert through the online contact form and selecting the category: 'Questions on legal issues'.

    Disclaimer: This is a free of charge JOINUP service, delivered 'as is' based on the received information. The opinions are not an official position of the European Commission. Opinions should not be assimilated to a formal legal consultation from a private lawyer to his client.

  • Joinup publishes the guidelines « Standard Sharing and Re-using clauses for contracts » which public administrations could use when procuring services. Clauses are depending on specific cases:

    • development of new IT tools that may be re-used and/or shared later,
    • re-use of already available IT tools, possibly through customization.
  • The recommended process is as follow:

    • Find the relevant licence and check if it is open source (or proprietary)
    • Evaluate maturity (providers’ team, developers’ community, available support, software maturity)
    • Evaluate the security of downloading (obtaining software from the original, trusted provider)
    • Define a test bed according to the needs / expected functionalities
    • Test functionalities and evaluate the total cost of implementation, change management, training maintenance

Interoperability solutions

  • Interoperability solutions on Joinup reference to policy, software, service, specification or standard and guideline or template building blocks.

    Joinup only accepts solutions that are relevant and reusable for public administrations. This includes basic and shared service building blocks that can be used by Public Administrations to develop European public services.

  • By setting the eligibility criteria for Joinup's interoperability solutions we aim to ensure that we list only relevant and reusable solutions in the Catalogue. In addition to the eligibility criteria, you will also find some guidelines to help you describe the solutions in a way which maximises their potential of re-use.

  • The interoperability solutions provided on Joinup are contributions from people who work directly or indirectly for EU, national, regional or local public administrations in the area of electronic information exchange between other public administrations, businesses and citizens which takes place in a cross-border and/or cross-sector setting.

    Therefore we do not develop the solutions ourselves, but we encourage existing interoperability projects to make their results available for reuse by other projects and users through our platform.

  • As the owner of your solution you can request for its deletion at any time. The Joinup moderator will assess the impact on the content related to your solution and will communicate the result to you.

Cases

  • Joinup cases are written summaries of real-life eGovernment, eHealth and eInclusion projects or interoperability solutions developed by public administrations, entrepreneurs and corporations. Case studies included in our portal are based on actual experiences, and reading them provides a picture of the challenges and dilemmas faced by the professionals working in the new eGovernment domains.

  • The cases on the portal are the basis for case learning whereby one may examine the experience from as many analytic viewpoints as possible and draw conclusions that are useful to practitioners.

  • Your case must be submitted in English so that all community members can enjoy reading your cases. You can, however, attach documentation in its original language.

  • We are very interested in learning about a case from all different viewpoints. If you believe the current submission needs to be revised you may contact us and propose the changes.

    If you believe it would be interesting to follow up with a separate entryyou may share this by proposing the case.

    Please note that the Joinup moderators retain may revise and shorten your summary and main learning points for quick access. Please make sure that the information you provide on your case reflects the most relevant current status.

  • In order to better facilitate access to your case, our editors might add the corresponding tags to your case if they feel it will improve its visibility on the Internet.

  • Cases already published on other websites are welcome. You must, however, be the case author, or make the content your own. If you are a service provider discussing a public sector project, we will ask you for contact details and will check whether your client is aware of your activities and is comfortable with your entry. We may end up making a case entry whereby both of you are given the opportunity to present and/or comment separately.

     

  • There are no limitations; we actually welcome your contributions. The more relevant cases presented the more visitors and practitioners can learn from your best practices.

  • We aim to make case registration a straightforward and fast process. Hence, in order to submit a case to Joinup you just have to log-in with your username and complete a template with some mandatory fields.

    We strongly recommend authors to keep updating the cases on a regular basis with new relevant data or findings.

  • All cases submitted are first moderated. Joinup publishes, in good faith, all cases correctly submitted, although in some circumstances the moderator and/or Joinup editors reserve the right to question suitability and remove a contribution. In these occasions, Joinup may contact in the author and work with him/her to clarify the situation. Cases are occasionally withdrawn at the request of the author or an institution.

    • The abstract or summary should identify the major problems/key issues of the project and summarize the findings and recommendations of the author. The abstract has to motivate the reader to continue reading the main body of the article.
    • The abstract is just one paragraph. It has no line breaks, dashes or links. It should not be longer than 10 lines.
    • The Target Group is also described in one paragraph, with no line breaks between sentences.
    • Throughout the text the author may use dashes (-), but no bullets or any other sign.
    • Leave a blank space after each paragraph.
    • Try to limit the number of hyperlinks and statistics included throughout the body of the case. This type of information should be provided using the References, Related Cases or Additional Documents sections included in the template (right hand navigation menu).
    • In order to be able to publish the case, all mandatory fields must be completed with accurate data.