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This section is dedicated to the question: what is common to openness in these various domains, and what is different?

The technical aspects of openness are documented in our wiki section on Open Standards.


  1. Introduction to Openness
  2. Dorothea Salo's Guide to the Different Flavors of Openness, a consise guide to the precise meaning of: Open Source ; Open Standards ; Open Access ; Open Educational Resources ; Open Research Data ; Open Government Data ; Open Notebook Science. [1]
  3. Transparency and Accessibility as aspects of Openness
  4. What is Openness?: inquiry by the Open ICT for Development project
  5. Luis Villa: Evaluating open definitions. Villa stresses 3 essential conditions, the latter rarely attained until now: data access, source access, hardware access.
  6. Henri Bergius stresses conditions in addition to using open licences, i.e. Requirements for Open Projects
  7. Distinguishing Open Access from Open Process

Characteristics of Openness

The following key article, Fifty Shades of Open, lists the following:

  • Open means rights
  • Open means access
  • Open means use
  • Open means transparent
  • Open means participatory
  • Open means enabling openness
  • Open means philosophically aligned with open principles

Read more at:

  • Fifty shades of open. by Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek. First Monday, Volume 21, Number 5 - 2 May 2016



Tables from the "Openness as a Social Praxis" article

Other Overview Graphics

See also

  1. Graphic overview of the spread of openness and open standards
  2. The meme-ing of open, by Seb Paquet, at (compares open systems, society, space and source)

Specialized forms of openness


"While “open” normally has connotations of public goods, the idea of “open”-ness has been used for decades as a competitive strategy by firms in the computers and communications industries. Phrases like “open standard,” “open source” and more recently “open innovation” have been used to refer to these strategies.What do they have in common? Which ones really are “open”? What does “open” mean, anyway? Here I contrast firm strategies for these three types of “open”-ness in the context of their respective business models."

Culture, Education and Knowledge


  1. Free Culture in Relation to Software Freedom: Mike Linksvayer contrasts open software and open culture.
  2. The Mellon Seminar in Digital Humanities at UCLA has issued A Digital Humanities Manifesto which beautifully expresses the idea of openness in education.
  3. Openness in Open Educational Resources: Report
  4. The Open Movement and Libraries: course with reading list
  5. Amazing stories of openness in education: cases, testimonials


  1. Transparency and Accessibility as aspects of Openness
  2. Five Principles of Openness and Transparency in Politics
  3. From Open Space to Open Politics. From Jai Sen's article: On Open Space: Explorations Towards a Vocabulary of a More Open Politics. Jai Sen. Antipode. Volume 42, Issue 4, pages 994–1018, September 2010 [5]

Science & Technology

  1. What is Openness in Open Source Software Development?
  2. John Wilbanks insists that: Open Science differs from Open Source Software!!
  3. Reproducible Science Needs Open Source Software: Editorial from Nature magazine, By Kyle Niemeyer

Related Initiatives

  1. Map of Openness
  2. Open Everything - Canada [6]: "One of big Everything goals is to map what people are doing with 'open' around the world."
  3. Our pages on Open Standards and Open Design Communities, with our Open Hardware "Product Hacking directory".

Open Definitions

1. Dimensions of Openness

The authors of the Open Collaboration Encyclopedia created a simple rating system composed of four dimensions each on a scale of four. Check it out here on page xiii:

  • openness vs. closed
  • non-hierarchical vs. hierarchical
  • emergent vs. planned
  • owned vs. non-owned.


Mark Surman discusses openness here at and has added a chart at

  1. The Open Standards Definition. By Bruce Perens.
  2. Open Standards Requirement for Software
  3. Open Definition
  4. The Open Software Service Definition, i.e. The Free/Open Service Definition (v1.0)
  5. Open Source Media Definition
  6. Open Source Definition

3. See also the following article:

  • Fifty shades of open. by Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek. First Monday, Volume 21, Number 5 - 2 May 2016


Free Definitions

  1. Debian's Free Software Guidelines
  2. Declaration on Libre Knowledge
  3. Definition of Free Cultural Works
  4. Franklin Street Statement on Freedom and Network Services, which concerns Network Service Licenses
  5. Free Content Definition
  6. Open O-Meter for Open Source Hardware: defines 8 characteristics

Short Citations

The digital is the realm of the open: open source, open resources, open doors. Anything that attempts to close this space should be recognized for what it is: the enemy.

- Digital Humanities Manifesto

Long Citations

Open source is often presented as a methodology, not an ideology – i.e. open source is an approach of collaborative work, shared creation, continual iteration (insert your favorative Torvalds or Raymond quote of bugs, many eyes, cathedrals, bazaars, release early/often, etc.). But openness is not a methodology. Openness is an ideology along the lines of democracy. It is worthy of theoretical discussion. And various modes of implementation should be subject to debate and criticism.

- George Siemens [8]

On the Advantages of Open Platforms

In an article critical of the closure of the Apple iPhone, the following entry summarizes the arguments for open platforms.

"An open platform allows developers to implement functionality the platform provider hasn't gotten around to yet.

An open platform allows developers to reimplement and replace functionality the platform provider has gotten around to, but has failed to do well.

An open platform allows developers to meet needs that scare the platform provider, and allows consumers to have those needs met where otherwise the platform provider would block a capability.

An open platform allows its users to get far more done, and latches them to that platform far more tightly as a result." (

Open platforms have enormous value for society, which can be calculated: Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development

Open Platform Literacy requirements

What we need to know to judge the difference between open and closed (proprietary) platforms.

By Ulises Mejias:

"The ability to articulate the difference between open (FLOSS) and proprietary social media platforms (including how to tell when the former mutates into the latter, and what to do about it).

- The ability to determine when it's appropriate to use open (FLOSS) or proprietary social media platforms to promote social change with maximum effect.

- The ability to understand the social agency of code of a particular technology, i.e., how the program promotes, constricts or redefines social functions through its affordances.

- The ability to identify the benefits of contributing to a social media environment that operates as a gift economy versus a market economy (including the ability to identify social media environments that operate as both simultaneously).

- The ability to articulate in personal terms how networked participation is changing the relationship with one's local environment, and be able to calculate trade offs and assume responsibility for one's choices.

On the historical trend towards inclusivity and openness

Rob Weir, from the Antic Disposition blog:

"It does seem that the general flow of history has been:

1. A move from undocumented or improvised laws to laws that are fixed and publicly documented.

2. A move from laws created by a single entity to laws formed as part of a deliberative, multilateral, consensual process.

3. A move toward increasing inclusivity as to who whose interests are considered.

So we should never stop at a claim of "openness" and say that with the mere application of this label that all diligence has been performed. You need to ask yourself always, whose interests have been taken into account? All? Many? Few? One?

There seems to me to be a natural parallel here with the "open standard" moniker. Is it a single fixed and unitary concept that admits of no degrees? Or is there a wide range of standards which share the concept "open" to one degree or another? How thinly can the concept be diluted? Can it be homeopathically prepared, with one drop enough to inoculate gallons?

I think the key is to move away from the mere consideration of the process of standardization and to also consider the content of the standard. Just as a Constitution that held that women could not vote was far from open, even though it was drafted in an open committee process, a standard that does not facilitate use by competitors is not open, regardless of the process that created led to it. We need to move beyond strictly process-oriented definitions of openness and bring in considerations of content and results. A standard can be per-se non-open if its content violates important principles of openness." (

Joi Ito's Optimism on Open Networks

Joi Ito:

"I am optimistic that open networks will continue to grow and become available to more and more people. I am optimistic that computers will continue to become cheaper and more available. I am optimistic that the hardware and software will become more open, transparent and free. I am optimistic that the ability to for people to create, share and remix their works will provide a voice to the vast majority of people.

I believe that the Internet, open source and a global culture of discourse and sharing will become the pillar of democracy for the 21st Century. Whereas those in power as well as terrorists who are not have used broadcast technology and the mass media of the 20th century against the free world, I am optimistic that Internet will enable the collective voice of the people and that voice will be a voice of reason and good will." (

Open Documentation



  • Fifty Shades of Open. by Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek. First Monday, Volume 21, Number 5 - 2 May 2016


See also:

  1. Richard Straub: Is the World Open? [11]
  2. Interesting historical approach to the emergence of openness as a value: Open Works, Open Cultures, and Open Learning Systems. Michael A. Peters. Chapter 4 of Putting Knowledge to Work and Letting Information Play: The Center for Digital Discourse and Culture. Edited by Timothy W. Luke and Jeremy Hunsinger. Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, December 2009. [12] (pp. 76+)
  3. How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun. Biella Coleman and Mako Hil


  1. FSCONS,
  2. Free Knowledge, Free Technology ,
  3. Open Mind, (Finland)
  4. Go Open, (Norway)
  5. Open tech, (UK)


Interviews in print or transcripts:

  1. Harold Varmus on Open Access and the Public Library of Science ; Vitek Tracz on Open Access and BioMed Central
  2. Peter Suber on the Open Access Movement ; Stevan Harnad on Open Access
  3. Jay Rosen on Open Source Journalism
  4. Linus Torvalds on Open Peer to Peer Design
  5. Peter Murray-Rust on Open Data in Science 2.0
  6. Richard Poynder on Open and Free Developments

Open Source:

  1. Eric Raymond on Open Source
  2. Karim Lakhani on Open Source Science ; Rufus Pollock on the Use of Open Source Principles for Open Science
  3. Mitchell Baker on the Origins of Mozilla's Open Source Strategy
  4. Pete Ashdown on Open Source Politics
  5. Richard Jefferson on Biological Open Source


Openness 2.0 = a five part ongoing series by First Monday.

And also:

  1. Alan Rosenblith on Open Money Protocols and Agreements; Open Money Blogtalk Radio ; Open Money as a Commons
  2. Anne Margulies on Open Courseware ; Steve Carson on MIT OpenCourseware
  3. Barbara Aronson on Open Access to Biomedical Research in Developing Countries ; David Lipman on Open Science and Biology
  4. Conversation on Open Access Publishing
  5. Ben Haggarty on Open Source Storytelling
  6. Bill Allison and Greg Elin on Open Government Initiatives ; Greg Elin on Open Data from the US Government
  7. Bill Witherspoon on Open Book Management
  8. Bob Sutor on Open Source and Open Standards at IBM ; Bob Sutor on Open Standards vs Open Source
  9. Brenda Dayne on Knitting as an Open Craft
  10. Business Interests in Open Content
  11. David Glazer on OpenSocial
  12. David Orban and Roberto Ostinelli on Open Spime
  13. David Wiley on Learning Objects, Openness and Localization ; David Wiley on the Open Education Movement
  14. Economics of Open Archives
  15. Evan Prodromou on Open Microblogging
  16. Greg Whisenant on Open Crime Data
  17. Marc Canter on Open Standards and Structured Blogging
  18. Melissa Hagemann on the Open Access Movement; John Willinsky on Open Access to Academic Literature and Open Education
  19. Open API and the Commons ; Web 2.0 and Open APIs
  20. Open Business Models ; Social Commerce and Open Business Models
  21. Open Congress Downloads ; Open Congress on Creativity and the Public Domain
  22. Open Curatorial Practices
  23. Open Identity and Identity Brokers ; OpenID Podcast
  24. Open Media Directory
  25. Open Spectrum Panel ; Spectrum Policy, Open Networks, and a Free Society
  26. Richard Baraniuk on Open Textbooks and Open Educational Resources
  27. Richard Poynder on Open and Free Developments
  28. Ronaldo Lemos on Open Culture in Brazil
  29. Simon Phipps on Open Formats
  30. Taking Action on Free Culture and Open Access on University Campuses
  31. Economics of Open Content Symposium ; Economics of Open Text
  32. Tim Hubbard on Open Access to Medicines
  33. Wendy Seltzer on Open Law

On Open Source:

  1. Chris DiBona on the Economics of Open Source at Google
  2. Clayton Christensen on Open Source and Innovation in Business ; Larry Augustin on the Business of Open Source
  3. Dan and David on the Open Source Business conference ; Dirk Riehle on Open Source Business Models
  4. David Lee and Valerie Wilson on the the Open Source Green Vehicle Project
  5. Doc Searls on Free and Open Source in Education ; Open Source Education Models ; Stephen Downes on Open Sourcing Learning
  6. Free and Open Source Video Software
  7. Geoffrey Moore on Open Source and Capitalism
  8. Jason Haislmaier's Introduction to Free and Open Source Licensing ; Why Open Source Licensing Matters
  9. John Robb on Open Source Warfare
  10. Jon Warnow on Open Source Activism
  11. Lawrence Lessig on Open Source ; Lawrence Lessig on the Need for Open Politics
  12. Open Source Biotechnology Panel
  13. Open Source Development and Distribution of Digital Information
  14. Open Source at Microsoft
  15. Open Source in Brazil ; Tadao Takahashi on Brazilian Open Source Projects
  16. Paul Wayper on Open Source Documentation
  17. Peter Enzerink on Open Source Scattergun Contributing
  18. Scott Rosenberg on the Open Source Applications Foundation
  19. Why are there so few Women in Open Source ; Women in Open Source - Debian


  1. Collective tag of the Open Everything project:
  2. Individual tags from mbauwens: Open-Access-Movement ; Open-Biology [13] ; Open-Content ; Open-Data ; Open-Hardware [14] ; Open-Source-Commercialization Open-Standards


And also:

  1. Alex Munslow on Running Open Space
  2. Anne Margulies on Open Courseware ; History of the Open Educational Resources Movement
  3. Business Interests in Open Content ; Economics of Open Archives ; Economics of Open Text
  4. Eben Moglen on Open Licenses in a Web Services Era
  5. Introduction to the Open Media Web
  6. Jeff Lee on Building Communities Through Open Content In Rural Himalayan Nepal
  7. Jon Phillips on Building Large Scale "Open" Communities around Multiple Media
  8. Joseph Smarr on the New Open Social Infrastructure
  9. Kevin Marks on Open Social and the Social Cloud
  10. Lawrence Lessig on Open Spectrum
  11. Lawrence Lessig on using Openness against the Corruption of Politics
  12. Michael Lauer on Open Moko and the Neophone
  13. Michael Linton on Open Money

On Open Source:

  1. David Lee and Valerie Wilson on the the Open Source Green Vehicle Project
  2. Free and Open Source Video Software
  3. Gen Kanai on Open Source in Asia
  4. Gregers Petersen on the Anthropology of Open Source and the Market
  5. How your Open Source Project can Survive Poisonous People
  6. James Boyle on the Science Commons and Open Source
  7. Jay Rosen on Open Source Journalism
  8. John Chen of Sybase on Open Source Business Models
  9. Jürgen Neumann and Marek Lindner about Open Source and Hardware
  10. Ken Udas the Impact of Open Educational Resources and Open Source Software on Education
  11. Marcin Jakubowski on the Open Source Ecology Project
  12. Mark Charmer on Open Source Water and Sanitation Solutions

Open Movements

Sister organizations of the P2P Foundation:

The following are most similar in intent:

  1. Oekonux
  2. Institute of Network Cultures
  3. Open Knowledge Foundation
  4. On The Commons

Key Movements supporting the Open paradigm

Open Education

  1. Open Courseware Initiative
  2. Open Educational Resources

Open Knowledge

  1. A2K Access to Knowledge
  2. Budapest Open Access Initiative
  3. Open Access Movement
  4. Open Archives Initiative
  5. Open Content Alliance
  6. Open Knowledge Foundation

Public Domain:

  1. Public Domain Advocacy Organizations
  2. Union for the Public Domain

Open Licensing

Open Media

Open Money

Open Software

  1. Free Software Foundation
  2. Open Source Initiative
  3. Organizations for Freedom in Communication, a list maintained by the Free Software Foundation

Open Standards

Open Design and Open Manufacturing

  1. Open Design Movement
  2. Open Source Hardware and Design Alliance


This is by no means complete, but may make sense as a structure for the encyclopedic list below. Please help in updating it.


Soft infrastructure:

  1. Open Definitions; Open Standards; Open API; Open Licenses; Open Document Format
  2. Open Book Management ; Open Company Models
  3. Open Decision Making ; Open Editorial Meetings

Hard infrastructure:

  1. Technological: Open Handset Alliance ; Open Infrastructure ; Open Mesh ; Open Spectrum ; Open Platforms
  2. Financial: Open Money; Open Capital; Open Barter
  3. Business process: Open Business ; Open Business Models ; Open Business Process Initiative ;
  4. Industrial: Open Customization ; Open Manufacturing Equipment ; Open Micromanufacturing and Nanomanufacturing Equipment

Raw material:

  1. Open Data ; Open Data Commons ; Open Data Rights
  2. Open Clip Art Library ; Open Font Library
  3. Open Knowledge: Open Genomics
  4. Open GeoData ; Open Government Data ; Open Public Data
  5. Open Music Model


  1. Open Development ; Open Distributed Version Control Systems
  2. Open Hardware Business Models ; Open Innovation ; Open Payment ; Open Source Business Models
  3. Open Learning ; Open Networked Learning Model ; Open Peer Review


  1. Computing hardware: Open Circuit Design ; Open Circuits ; Open Cores; Open Hardware ; Open Source Hardware
  2. Computing software: Open Source Software;
  3. Design/Architecture: Open Design; Open Domotics
  4. Education: Open Courseware Initiative ; Open Education ; Open Educational Resources
  5. Gaming: Open Gaming
  6. Media: Open Documentaries; Open Film Business Models ; Open Media Commons; Open Music Business Models
  7. Production: Open Hardware
  8. Publishing: Open Access; Open Archives; Open City Guides ; Open Fiction
  9. Science: Open Chemistry ; Open Health ; Open Notebook Science

Pages in category "Open"

The following 200 pages are in this category, out of 1,188 total.

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