Open Data vs Open Source

The OAR is both an open data and an open source platform. But what do those terms mean?

Open Data

The term "open data" is a precise one, with a technical definition. According to the Open Knowledge Foundation, "Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose".

There are two key elements to openness:

  1. Legal openness: you must be allowed to get the data legally, to build on it and to share it. Legal openness is usually provided by applying an appropriate (open) license which allows for free access to and reuse of the data, or by placing data into the public domain.
  2. Technical openness: there should be no technical barriers to using that data. For example, providing data as tables on websites or locked away in PDF documents makes the information extremely difficult to work with. So the Open Definition has various requirements for “technical openness,” such as requiring that data be machine readable and available in bulk.

Three important principles of open data are what make it so powerful:

  1. Availability and access: that people can get the data
  2. Re-use and redistribution: that people can reuse and share the data
  3. Universal participation: that anyone can use the data

Open Source

"Open source" refers to opening up the code written to build a platform. The OAR is open source: all the code written to develop, fix and grow the OAR is available for anyone to view on our GitHub repository and licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 ShareAlike license.