Russ Nelson, License Approval Chair at the Open Source Initiative (OSI), recently proposed a session at OSCON about OSI adopting a definition for open data:

I’m running a BOF at OSCON on Wednesday night July 21st at 7PM, with the declared purpose of adopting an Open Source Definition for Open Data. Safe enough to say that the OSD has been quite successful in laying out a set of criteria for what is, and what is not, Open Source. We should adopt a definition Open Data, even if it means merely endorsing an existing one. Will you join me there?

Subsequently a bunch of people wrote to Russell letting him know about the Open Knowledge Definition that we created a few years ago:

The Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) sets out principles to define ‘openness’ in knowledge – that’s any kind of content or data ‘from sonnets to statistics, genes to geodata’. The definition can be summed up in the statement that “A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.”

Russell suggested there was scope for the OSI to adopt the OKD, and emailed us a further blurb for the event:

Should the Open Source Initiative write its own definition of Open Data? Or is the Open Knowledge Foundation’s definition up to snuff? Come help us decide at OSCON next week. We have a BOF scheduled at 19:00 on 21 July 2010. We’ll present the results of our decision to the OSI for adoption at its next board meeting.

We’re excited at the prospect that the OKD might get adopted as an official open data definition by OSI, and would love to hear from folks who plan to attend the session!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.