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Open Ireland Network is a community of individuals and organisations who are involved in the open ecosystem in Ireland, encompassing open source software, InnerSource, open source hardware, open data, open science, and open innovation. On this page, we include some definitions to give some background.

Open Source Software

We take our base definition of Open Source Software from the Open Source Initiative (OSI). In summary, open source software is software that is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone and for any purpose.

However, for the purposes of Open Ireland Network, we often use the term Open Source to also refer to the broader practices and methods associated with Open Source Software development, including the nurturing of open source communities to ensure the sustainability of open source projects. 


InnerSource is the use of open source methods and practices to create proprietary code within an organisation’s firewall. You can find out more at .

Open Source Hardware

Based on the OSI’s Open Source Definition, the Open Source Hardware Association includes this description of Open Source Hardware Principles: 

Open source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or hardware based on that design. The hardware’s source, the design from which it is made, is available in the preferred format for making modifications to it. Ideally, open source hardware uses readily-available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of individuals to make and use hardware. Open source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of designs.

Open Data

[From Wikipedia]

Open Data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.

You can find out more about Ireland’s Open Data Portal here:

Open Science

[From Wikipedia]

The movement to make scientific research (including publications, data, physical samples, and software) and its dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. Open science is transparent and accessible knowledge that is shared and developed through collaborative networks. It encompasses practices such as publishing open research, campaigning for open access, encouraging scientists to practice open-notebook science, and generally making it easier to publish and communicate scientific knowledge.

Open Innovation

[From Wikipedia]

Open innovation is a term used to promote an information age mindset toward innovation that runs counter to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs. The benefits and driving forces behind increased openness have been noted and discussed as far back as the 1960s, especially as it pertains to interfirm cooperation in R&D.

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