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Openness is an overarching concept or philosophy that is characterized by an emphasis on transparency and free, unrestricted access to knowledge and information, as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision-making rather than a central authority.[1] Openness can be said to be the opposite of secrecy.[1]

In government[edit]

Open government is the governing doctrine which holds that citizens have the right to access the documents and proceedings of the government to allow for effective public oversight.[2]

Openness in government applies the idea of freedom of information to information held by authorities and holds that citizens should have the right to see the operations and activities of government at work,[3] since reliable information is requisite for accountability, freedom of access to information about the government supports government accountability and helps protect other necessary rights.[3]

In creative works[edit]

Open content and free content both refer to creative works that lack restrictions on how people can use, modify, and distribute them.[4][5][6] The terms derive from open source software and free software, similar concepts that refer specifically to software.[7]

In education[edit]

Open education refers to institutional practices and programmatic initiatives that broaden access to the learning and training traditionally offered through formal education systems. By eliminating barriers to entry, open education aids freedom of information by increasing accessibility.

In academia[edit]

Open access refers to the practice of allowing peer-reviewed research articles to be available online free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.[8] Benefits of this approach include: accelerated discovery and progress as researchers are free to use and build on the findings of others,[9] giving back to the public as much research is paid for with public funds,[10] and greater impact for one's work due to open access articles being accessible to a bigger audience.[11]

In information technology[edit]

Openness is a capability provided by an IT system, and it is characterized by interoperability, portability and extensibility, these capabilities are implemented using IT interfaces, standards and the IT architecture. All these are technical aspects of openness. Openness is also based on non-technical aspects, which are related to the partnership between the involved partners (IT customers, IT vendors and/or IT service providers).[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Peters, Michael. "The Idea of Openness: Open Education and Education for Openness". The Encyclopaedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory. Archived from the original on 1 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Lathrop, Daniel; Ruma, Laurel, eds. (February 2010). Open Government: Transparency, Collaboration and Participation in Practice. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 978-0-596-80435-0. 
  3. ^ a b Birkinshaw, Patrick. "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND OPENNESS: FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS?". Administrative Law Review. 58 (1): 177–218. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Definition of Free Cultural Works". Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Stallman, Richard (November 13, 2008). "Free Software and Free Manuals". Free Software Foundation. Retrieved March 22, 2009. 
  6. ^ Grossman, Lev (1998-07-18). "New Free License to Cover Content Online". Netly News. Archived from the original on 2000-06-19. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  7. ^ Wiley, David (1998). "Open Content". Archived from the original on 1999-01-28. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  8. ^ Suber, Peter. "Open Access Overview". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Case for Open Access". Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Suber, Peter. "The taxpayer argument for open access". SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #65. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  11. ^ Harnad, Steven; Tim Brody. "Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals". D-Lib Magazine. 10. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Steven, Vettermann. "Code of Openness". CPO. ProSTEP iViP. Retrieved 10 January 2017.