Open Knowledge

Open Definition

Defining Open in Open Data, Open Content and Open Knowledge

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 the Conformant Licenses page in the appropriate category (see license categories below).

The Advisory Council will make the final decision on whether or not a license conforms to the Open Definition and in which category to place the license. This decision will typically follow the consensus reached via discussion on the forum.

Submitting The License

Submit the license to the Open Definition forum for discussion. For a new license, this should occur before the license is finalized, so that you can revise based on the group’s feedback. While engagement by license’s steward/creator is ideal, anyone may submit a license.

To do this:

  • Sign up to the forum, so that you can participate in the discussion.
  • Send all of the following information to the forum:
    1. Link to the full text the license. If the license is not in English, also provide a translation to English (an autotranslation is adequate).
    2. State the rationale for the new license.
    3. Explain whether the license may be used by any licensor, or is specific to an organization/place/jurisdiction. We generally frown on the latter (see proliferation below), only making politically expedient exceptions (eg, the organization is a national government; and these are categorized as “non-reusable”).
    4. Compare and contrast to the most similar approved as OD-conformant licenses.
    5. Explain the benefit the new license brings 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.)
    6. Identify which recommended conformant licenses the new license is compatible with, and how – 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Provide a link to any submission of this license (including previous versions) to other license approval or cataloging venues, e.g. OSI or SPDX.

What Will Happen

  1. After submission, the Open Definition community will discuss on the forum and reach consensus.
  2. The Open Definition Advisory Council chair will summarize the consensus to the Advisory Council on the forum and to other relevant venues, Open Definition forum at a minimum.
  3. If over next two weeks issues are raised which indicate a different consensus or further discussion needed, chair will step process back to first or second step as appropriate. Otherwise, chair calls for formal approval of consensus by Advisory Council.
  4. If after two weeks at least three Advisory Council members approve the consensus summary on the forum, 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, submitter, and wider forums as appropriate.

This process will also apply to acceptance of new versions of the Open Definition itself.