The Many Meanings of ‘Open’

Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards
Over the past decade, much has been said about open data, open source software, and open standards. So much, in fact, that many people have begun to use the terms interchangeably. But open data, open source, and open standards are not synonymous and should not be conflated.

The confusion poses a challenge for many organizations, in particular, those which lack technological expertise but nevertheless work on global issues that seek out “open” digital solutions. In this article, we define the parameters of open data, open source, and open standards, and identify the key differences between them.