The Open Definition

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The Open Definition is a document published by the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) (previously Open Knowledge International) 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.


  • August 2005:[3] Circulation of the first draft of the Open Definition, v0.1.
  • July 2006: publication of v1.0
  • November 2009: publication of v1.1
  • October 2014: publication of v2.0
  • November 2015: publication of v2.1

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "History - Open Definition". Open Knowledge International. Retrieved 22 January 2017.

External links[edit]