The Open Definition

The Open Definition is a document published by Open Knowledge International (OKI) (previously the Open Knowledge Foundation) to define openness in relation to data and content.[1] It specifies what licences for such material may and may not stipulate, in order to be considered open licences.[2] The definition itself was derived from the Open Source Definition for software.[2]

OKI summarise the document as:[1]

Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness).

The latest form of the document, published in November 2015, is version 2.1.[2] The use of language in the document is conformant with RFC 2119.[2]

The document is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,[1] which itself meets the Open Definition.

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The Open content logo


The first draft of the Open Definition, v0.1, was circulated in August 2005,[3] v1.0 was published in July 2006,[3] and v2.0 was published in October 2014.[3]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Open Definition Defining Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Knowledge". Open Knowledge International. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "Open Definition 2.1". Open Knowledge International. Retrieved 22 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "History - Open Definition". Open Knowledge International. Retrieved 22 January 2017.

External links

Big data ethics

Big Data Ethics also known as simply Data Ethics refers to systemising, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct in relation to data, in particular personal data. Since the dawn of the Internet the sheer quantity and quality of data has dramatically increased and is continuing to do so exponentially. Big data describes this large amount of data that is so voluminous and complex that traditional data processing application software is inadequate to deal with them. Recent innovations in medical research and healthcare, such as high-throughput genome sequencing, high-resolution imaging, electronic medical patient records and a plethora of internet-connected health devices have triggered a data deluge that will reach the exabyte range in the near future. Data Ethics is of increasing relevance as the quantity of data increases because of the scale of the impact.

Big data ethics is different from information ethics because the focus of information ethics is more concerned with issues of intellectual property and concerns relating to librarians, archivists, and information professionals, while big data ethics is more concerned with collectors and disseminators of structured or unstructured data such as data brokers, governments, and large corporations.

Creative Commons license

A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted "work". A CC license is used when an author wants to give other people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that he or she (that author) has created. CC provides an author flexibility (for example, he or she might choose to allow only non-commercial uses of a given work) and protects the people who use or redistribute an author's work from concerns of copyright infringement as long as they abide by the conditions that are specified in the license by which the author distributes the work.There are several types of Creative Commons licenses. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 2001. There have also been five versions of the suite of licenses, numbered 1.0 through 4.0. As of December 2018, the 4.0 license suite is the most current.

In October 2014 the Open Knowledge Foundation approved the Creative Commons CC BY, CC BY-SA and CC0 licenses as conformant with the "Open Definition" for content and data.

Definition of Free Cultural Works

The Definition of Free Cultural Works is a definition of free content from 2006. The project evaluates and recommends compatible free content licenses.

Fareed Armaly

Fareed Armaly (born 1957 in Iowa) is an Arab American artist, curator, author and editor who lives and works in the United States and Berlin, Europe. Starting in the late 1980s, his work introduced a focus on the open definition of contemporary artistic practice as the medium itself, well-suited towards rendering a contemporary syntax from issues pertaining to a politics of culture, identity and representation.

His initial wider recognition came in relation to 'Kontext Kunst'|| a term coined by a 1993 seminal group exhibition/publication. Armaly’s work is unique in confounding genre, his focus on artistic practice is methodologically expansive, including a range of interdisciplinary-based exhibitions, collaborative projects as well the longer-term roles and positions within the art institutional framework.

Free-culture movement

The free-culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify the creative works of others in the form of free content or open content without compensation to, or the consent of, the work's original creators, by using the Internet and other forms of media.

The movement objects to what they consider over-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture."Creative Commons is an organization started by Lawrence Lessig which provides licenses that permit sharing and remixing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various Creative Commons-licensed works.

The free-culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is aligned with the free and open-source-software movement.

Today, the term stands for many other movements, including open access (OA), the remix culture, the hacker culture, the access to knowledge movement, the Open Source Learning, the copyleft movement and the public domain movement.

Free content

Free content, libre content, or free information, is any kind of functional work, work of art, or other creative content that meets the definition of a free cultural work.

Free license

A free license or open license is a license agreement which contains provisions that allow other individuals to reuse another creator's work, giving them four major freedoms. Without a special license, these uses are normally prohibited by copyright law or commercial license. Most free licenses are worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and perpetual (see copyright durations). Free licenses are often the basis of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding projects.

The invention of the term "free license" and the focus on the rights of users were connected to the sharing traditions of the hacker culture of the 1970s public domain software ecosystem, the social and political free software movement (since 1980) and the open source movement (since the 1990s). These rights were codified by different groups and organizations for different domains in Free Software Definition, Open Source Definition, Debian Free Software Guidelines, Definition of Free Cultural Works and the The Open Definition. These definitions were then transformed into licenses, using the copyright as legal mechanism. Since then, ideas of free/open licenses spread into different spheres of society.

Open source, free culture (unified as free and open-source movement), anticopyright, Wikimedia Foundation projects, public domain advocacy groups and pirate parties are connected with free and open licenses.

Mike Linksvayer

Mike Linksvayer is an intellectual freedom and commons proponent, known as a technology entrepreneur, developer and activist from co-founding Bitzi and leadership of Creative Commons.

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of open access journal publishers globally in all scientific, technical and scholarly disciplines. Along with promoting open access publishers (particularly open access journals), OASPA sets best practices and provides a forum for the exchange of information on and experiences of open access. OASPA brings together the major open access publishers on the one hand and independent—often society-based or university-based—publishers on the other, along with some hybrid open access publishers. While having started out with an exclusive focus on open access journals, it is now expanding its activities to include matters pertaining to open access books too.

Open Data Indices

Open data indices are indicators which assess and evaluates the general openness of an open government data portal. Open data indices not only show how open a data portal is, but also encourage citizens and government officials alike, to participate in their local open data communities, particularly in advocating for local open data and local open data policies.

There are two mainstream methodologies, which are Global Open Data Index and Open Data Barometer. The Global Open Data Index evaluates an open data portal from 11 different aspects based on the Open Definition of open data, while the Open Data Barometer adds two more indices compared to the previous one.

Open Knowledge International

Open Knowledge International (OKI), known as the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) until April 2014 and then Open Knowledge until May 2016, is a global, non-profit network that promotes and shares information at no charge, including both content and data. It was founded by Rufus Pollock on 24 May 2004 in Cambridge, UK.Its slogan is, "Sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata ..."

Open content

Open content is a neologism coined by David Wiley in 1998 which describes a creative work that others can copy or modify freely, without asking for permission. The term evokes the related concept of open-source software. Such content is said to be under an open licence.

Open data

Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open-source data movement are similar to those of other "open(-source)" movements such as open-source software, hardware, open content, open education, open educational resources, open government, open knowledge, open access, open science, and the open web. Paradoxically, the growth of the open data movement is paralleled by a rise in intellectual property rights. The philosophy behind open data has been long established (for example in the Mertonian tradition of science), but the term "open data" itself is recent, gaining popularity with the rise of the Internet and World Wide Web and, especially, with the launch of open-data government initiatives such as, and

Open data, can also be linked data; when it is, it is linked open data. One of the most important forms of open data is open government data (OGD), which is a form of open data created by ruling government institutions. Open government data's importance is borne from it being a part of citizens' everyday lives, down to the most routine/mundane tasks that are seemingly far removed from government.


Openness is an overarching concept or philosophy that is characterized by an emphasis on transparency and free, unrestricted access to knowledge and information, as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision-making rather than a central authority. Openness can be said to be the opposite of secrecy.

Public-domain-equivalent license

Public-domain-equivalent license are licenses that grant public-domain-like rights or/and act as waivers. They are used to make copyrighted works usable by anyone without conditions, while avoiding the complexities of attribution or license compatibility that occur with other licenses.

No permission or license is required for a work truly in the public domain, such as one with an expired copyright; such a work may be copied at will. Public domain equivalent licenses exist because some legal jurisdictions do not provide for authors to voluntarily place their work in the public domain, but do allow them to grant arbitrarily broad rights in the work to the public.

The licensing process also allows authors, particularly software authors, the opportunity to explicitly deny any implied warranty that might give someone a basis for legal action against them. While there is no universally agreed-upon license, several licenses aim to grant the same rights that would apply to a work in the public domain.

Public copyright license

A public license or public copyright license is a license by which a copyright holder as licensor can grant additional copyright permissions to any and all persons in the general public as licensees.

By applying a public license to a work, provided that the licensees obey the terms and conditions of the license, copyright holders give permission for others to copy or change their work in ways that would otherwise infringe copyright law.

Some public licenses, such as the GNU GPL and the CC BY-SA, are also considered free or open copyright licenses.

However, other public licenses like the CC BY-NC are not open licenses, because they contain restrictions on commercial or other types of use.Public copyright licenses do not limit their licensees. In other words, any person can take advantage of the license. The former Creative Commons (CC) Developing Nations License was not a public copyright license, because it limited licensees to those in developing nations. Current Creative Commons licenses are explicitly identified as public licenses. Any person can apply a CC license to their work, and any person can take advantage of the license to use the licensed work according to the terms and conditions of the relevant license.According to the Open Knowledge Foundation, a public copyright license does not limit licensors either. Under this definition, license contract texts specific to a single licensor (like the UK government’s Open Government License, which would have to be edited to be used by other licensors) are not considered public copyright licenses, although they may qualify as open licenses.

Some organisations approve public copyright licenses that meet certain criteria, in particular being free or open licenses. The Free Software Foundation keeps a list of FSF-approved software licenses and free documentation licenses. The Open Source Initiative keeps a similar list of OSI-approved software licenses. The Open Knowledge Foundation has a list of OKFN-approved licenses for content and data licensing.

Public domain

The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.The works of William Shakespeare and Beethoven, and most early silent films, are in the public domain either by virtue of their having been created before copyright existed, or by their copyright term having expired. Some works are not covered by copyright, and are therefore in the public domain—among them the formulae of Newtonian physics, cooking recipes, and all computer software created prior to 1974. Other works are actively dedicated by their authors to the public domain (see waiver); some examples include reference implementations of cryptographic algorithms, the image-processing software ImageJ, created by the National Institutes of Health, and the CIA's World Factbook. The term public domain is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission".

As rights vary by country and jurisdiction, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another. Some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, and the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, gives rise to public-domain status for a work in that country. The term public domain may also be interchangeably used with other imprecise or undefined terms such as the "public sphere" or "commons", including concepts such as the "commons of the mind", the "intellectual commons", and the "information commons".

Rufus Pollock

Rufus Pollock (born 1980) is an economist and founder of Open Knowledge International. He is a Shuttleworth Foundation alumnus,, an Ashoka Fellow, an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge and President of Open Knowledge International which he founded (as the Open Knowledge Foundation) in 2004 and served as a board director until 2013. He continues to act as Board Secretary. In addition to his academic work, whilst at Open Knowledge International he initiated a wide variety of projects, many of which continue to be active today. For example, in 2005 he created The Open Definition which provided the first formal definition of open content and open data, and which has remained the standard reference definition. In 2005–2006 he created the first version of CKAN, open source software for finding and sharing datasets, especially open datasets. CKAN has continued to evolve and today is the leading open data platform software in the world used by governments including the US and UK to publish millions of public datasets.

The Open Source Definition

The Open Source Definition is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the open-source certification mark.The definition was taken from the exact text of the Debian Free Software Guidelines, written and adapted primarily by Bruce Perens with input from the Debian developers on a private Debian mailing list. The document was created 9 months before the formation of the Open Source Initiative.

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