License Approval Process

This pages outlines the process for submitting a license so that it can be checked for conformance against the Open Definition, and hence listed on Conformant Licenses page.

The Advisory Council will make the final decision on whether or not a license conforms to the Open Knowledge Definition, based on the Open Source Definition. This decision will typically follow the consensus reached via discussion on the mailing list.

Submitting The License

Submit the license to the Open Definition mailing list for discussion. To do this:

  • Sign up to the mailing list, so that you can participate in the discussion.
  • Send a link to the full text the license to the mailing list, along with answers to the following:
    1. State the rationale for the new license.
    2. Is the license specific to an organization/place/jurisdiction? We generally frown on such licenses (see proliferation below), only making politically expedient exceptions (eg, the organization is a national government; and these are categorized as “non-reusable”).
    3. Compare and contrast to any existing similar approved as OD-conformant licenses.
    4. What benefit does the new license bring over already approved OD-conformant licenses which would outweigh the costs of license proliferation? (Link is re software licenses, but the same principles and costs apply.)
    5. Is the license compatible with existing OD-conformant licenses? By alignment (permissions identical or a superset of existing license, conditions identical or a subset) and/or express permission to license the original and/or adaptations of the licensed work under an existing license?
    6. Provide a link to any public drafting process (e.g., conducted on a public communication forum of some sort; multiple drafts presented to that forum) for the license.

Ideally, this should occur before the license is finalized, so that you can revise based on the group’s feedback.

What Will Happen

After submission, the Open Definition community will discuss on the mailing list and reach consensus. The Open Definition Advisory Council chair will summarize the consensus to the Advisory Council on the mailing list. If after two weeks at least two Advisory Council members approve the consensus summary on-list, and at least 75% of Advisory Council members expressing an opinion on the summary if any dissent, the website will be updated, and announcements made to public and submitter, as appropriate.