iii Open Requirements

The Open Requirements are an addendum to the fellowship agreement letter, ensuring every fellow is committed to openness in every aspect of their work, wherever possible.

Open Requirements

Being open about our work is vital for others to replicate them and benefit society. If we can shorten the time it takes a good idea to spread by living out loud, the results will speak for themselves. Everything we work on – from education to science to telecoms – demonstrates the power of openness, participation and creativity. We believe your work can help us build an open knowledge society. That is why we insist on open communications, open licences, open source and open reporting.

To help fellows get their ideas out into the world, and realise the value of openness at the core of our theory of change, so fellows and the people we support to work with fellows release everything they make as an open resource. Resources are open resources when they are publicly available online for revision, translation, improvement and sharing under open licences, open standards and in open formats, free of technical protection measures.

Knowledge resources

If you are a fellow, then the Open Requirements apply to knowledge resources that you create during the fellowship year or pay for as a fellow. If compelling reasons of privacy, confidentiality or security make it inappropriate for you to make a particular document or information open, then you can discuss those issues with us. Every decision to exempt a particular resource from the Open Requirements and the justification for the exemption is recorded. Fear of unforeseeable consequences or of the negative reactions of others or the desire to use patents to raise capital are not compelling reasons to depart from the Open Requirements.

Open content and data

You must make knowledge resources open as defined in the Open Definition “A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike.” You must share data under Creative Commons 0 or another licence or dedication that complies with the Open Definition. You must share knowledge resources using a format that is platform independent, machine readable, editable and available to the public without restrictions that would impede the re-use of the information.

Free and open source software

You must distribute software under the General Public License 3.0 or another licence listed by the Open Source Initiative as complying with the Open Source Definition but you must license software that functions primarily as network server software under the GNU Affero General Public License.

Open hardware

You must license all hardware under a licence or licences that comply with the Open Source Hardware Definition. If semiconductor chip products or mask rights apply to anything you create during the fellowship year or pay for as a fellow, you must give an irrevocable non-exclusive royalty free licence or licences under those rights that permits and enables anyone to make, use, sell, offer for sale, import or distribute products conditional only upon attribution and share-alike requirements.

Other licences

You can share data and knowledge resources subject to intellectual property under licences that are more restrictive than those required here but only if you share the same data or knowledge resource under the open licences or dedications required here. You can also ask the Foundation to agree that you can use to a more restrictive licence without the simultaneous distribution required here.

Patents and registered designs

You are free to ask the Foundation to agree that you obtain a patent, utility patent, registered designs, plant breeder’s right or similar registered right over any knowledge resource or intellectual property under the Open Requirements, but you must not do so without written agreement. If you do so without written agreement, then the Foundation can require you to transfer the registered right to the Foundation.


Intellectual property over knowledge resources that you create during a fellowship year or pay for as a fellow belongs to you, unless you’ve agreed with the Foundation that the intellectual property is owned by an intellectual property steward. You in the Open Requirements means you as a fellow. In any fellowship year, you can transfer ownership of any of the intellectual property under the Open Requirements but only with the written agreement of the Foundation.

When you as fellow pay someone else to create anything under intellectual property with funds from the Foundation, you must ensure that the intellectual property is owned by you or in the intellectual property steward if someone else is intellectual property steward. Ownership of intellectual property under the Open Requirements is good and sufficient consideration for you to comply with the Open Requirements.

In the Open Requirements, “intellectual property” means patents, rights to inventions, registered designs, semiconductor-product and mask rights, design rights, know-how, trade secrets, trade marks, Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), all rights of copyright, neighbouring rights, database rights and all rights having equivalent or similar effect anywhere in the world.

To ensure that others can carry on the work you have started, the Foundation has as a perpetual, universal, royalty free licence to all intellectual property under the Open Requirements that entitles the Foundation to distribute the intellectual property on any terms it deems fit, including under one or more public licences or to grant non-exclusive, all-rights-reserved licences to others, including through multiple tiers of sub-licences, without any further obligation to you.


In these Open Requirements you also means anyone who has agreed to be intellectual property steward for knowledge resources of a fellow. The Open Requirements apply to intellectual property over knowledge resources created by a fellow during a fellowship year or paid for as fellow. You have the same obligations as a fellow under the Open Requirements.