Open Source Open Data

We can only realize the full power of open data when the tools used for its collection, publishing and analysis are also open and transparent.

To us, this means:
  1. Data collected with public resources belongs to the people
  2. Data is only truly free and open if the processes and software for collecting, processing, and sharing it is free (as in freedom) and open to the public. Proprietary tools or ecosystems should not limit its use and sharing.
  3. Public institutions should collaborate and reuse each others’ software
  4. Vendors and others serving government entities should add value by facilitating this collaboration and reuse, rather than extracting value through restrictive licensing

Open Source Open Data is an initiative to promote the use of free and open-source software in open data projects. The open data movement and the increasingly important role of data in our everyday lives has led to a proliferation of software solutions to serve data publishers and consumers. We are a group of technology, government, and civil society leaders who believe that the open data infrastructure we are building together must run on software that is equally open. We intend to work together to encourage governments and other data-publishing institutions to invest in open-source rather than proprietary platforms, and to encourage companies and individuals developing those platforms to embrace open standards and collaboration. Join us.

Learn more

What is open data?

Open data is data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose. Our public institutions collect all kinds of data - health data, environmental data, crime data, and much more. These institutions are often mandated or simply choose to share this data with the public. Openness is achieved through availability, discoverability, licensing, machine readability, and standard formatting. Read more about the Open Definition.

In an increasingly digital society, data gives us opportunities to make a real difference in our communities. Our governments can use data to drive decisions about our lives; the citizenry can use data to hold their officials and institutions accountable; civic groups can create targeted initiatives to improve their communities; and much more. With the data we need, we become empowered to truly understand and interpret our world and to drive meaningful, positive change.

What is open source?

Free and open-source software is software whose code can be accessed, modified, and shared by anyone. Open-source software offers complete transparency into the code and technology used to support an organization’s work. It means that the software can be extended to the specific needs of an organization, and can be reused by anyone who needs it. Open-source solutions are free, extensible, and will never be tied to a single vendor.

Why are the tools around open data important?

Open data belongs to the public, and that means the public should have full access to it and full transparency into the tools public institutions use to manage that data. All the principles that apply to open data should also apply to the tools that collect, process, publish, and analyze it. When we hold our tools to high standards of transparency and accessibility, our data becomes more free.


Benifits of Open Source Open Data tools include:

  • Technical control over all internal open data efforts
  • Freedom to fully engage with the open data community at large
  • No vendor lock-in
  • Complete control over the source code
  • Complete control of data
  • Complete control of the user’s profile data
  • Ability to customize tools for local use cases
  • Transparency
  • Re-use
  • Reduced Cost of ownership


Our list of signatories coming soon. If you wish to be added to the list sign up below.


Join those who have signed onto the Open Source Open Data manifesto: