EGU Blogs

Welcome to the Open Glossary

At the London satellite event for Open Con earlier this year, myself and Ross Mounce were given some useful feedback after our joint talk on ‘Open Data’ by one of the attendees. Apparently, some of the terminology was too complex, or specialist, for the subject, and some of the talk was unable to be followed unless you were already an expert in the issue.

Now obviously this is something that, as members of the ‘open community’, we do not want. As we progress to setting the default to open, I want it to be an open cultural movement, rather than an exclusive clique. For this, I believe it is important that the terminology we use is designed to be inclusive, rather than accidentally (or otherwise) creating rifts within academia.

To that end, afterwards in the pub, where all things science occur, we decided to create the Open Glossary. This is a resource designed to equip people with the terminology that is used within discussions about the general field of open scholarship. Additionally, it possesses numerous external resources that may be of use. This has been a crowd-sourced effort (original document), so thanks to everyone who has provided feedback, edits, and comments to date. I expect to update it every few months.

What I ask is for people to host this document, and share as broadly as possible with friends and colleagues. And not just those who are interested in science or already active researchers – awareness of this sort of thing is equally as important in being active about it, in many cases.

Avatar photo
Jon began university life as a geologist, followed by a treacherous leap into the life sciences. He spent several years at Imperial College London, investigating the extinction and biodiversity patterns of Mesozoic tetrapods – anything with four legs or flippers – to discover whether or not there is evidence for a ‘hidden’ mass extinction 145 million years ago. Alongside this, Jon researched the origins and evolution of ‘dwarf’ crocodiles called atoposaurids. Prior to this, there was a brief interlude were Jon was immersed in the world of science policy and communication, which greatly shaped his views on the broader role that science can play, and in particular, the current ‘open’ debate. Jon tragically passed away in 2020.


  1. A useful document, thanks for putting it together!

    One comment: you can deprecate the terms Green and Gold all you want, but they’ll hang around anyway because gold/green is a real and important dichotomy with enormous strategic and economic implications. Better to acknowledge and embrace that than to go all Canute.

    • Avatar photo

      Hey Mike, thanks for the comment. You can leave it on the original Google Doc too if you’d like? I envision this to be updated every few months as things develop, and I guess we can incorporate this.

  2. very nice!
    have you thought to version it via github? was thinking of translating it into german with an own branch, but maybe there are better solutions.

    • Avatar photo

      We have, yes! I’m not entirely sure how that would work though, as I’m not a github pro. I think the next thing we’ll be doing is converting to XML, and seeing about having it as an integrated app module of some sort. I’m not very tech savvy..

Comments are now closed for this post.