open knowledge

What is Open Knowledge?


“If ‘knowledge’ is power, ‘open knowledge’ is empowerment…” Dr. Rufus Pollock

Open Knowledge is the concept that knowledge can be openly shared. This means anyone can use, modify and share knowledge without any legal, social or technical restrictions.

Definition of knowledge

Knowledge itself is an abstract concept. In terms of Open Knowledge, knowledge can be very broad. It can come in different forms, such as data or content, and be about different subjects, such as science of mobility. As you see, it’s hard to define what is knowledge and what not. There are no concrete borders. But we can define when knowledge is open.

When is knowledge open?

The Open Definition tells us more precisely when knowledge can be defined as open. There are a few rules that must be followed in order to ensure the knowledge you want to share is open. In summary,

“Knowledge is open if anyone is free to access, use, modify, and share it — subject, at most, to measures that preserve provenance and openness.”

Learn more about the what, why and how of open data in the Open Data Handbook.