The many meanings of Open: Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards

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Anne Hale Miglarese wrote this explanation of various ‘open’ terms. Open data, open source, and open standards are not synonymous and should not be conflated.

The confusion poses a challenge for many organizations, in particular, those which lack technological expertise but nevertheless work on global issues that seek out “open” digital solutions. In this article, we define the parameters of open data, open source, and open standards, and identify the key differences between them.

The article describes in some detail what is:

  • Open Data
  • Open Source
  • Open Standards

The Open Knowledge Foundation defines open data as “data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose.” In these instances, data are shared with an open license, such as the public copyright Creative Commons license. Nice one!

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