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Blend of open +‎ greenwashing

Alternative forms[edit]


openwashing (uncountable)

  1. The act of claiming something is open (without proprietary licensing) when it does not meet all the criteria of openness.
    • 2014, Suzanne tamang, Gregory T. Donovan, “Introduction: Media and Methods for Opening Education”, in The Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy, number 5:
      Evgeny Morozov (2013) recently took issue with the seemingly ubiquitous presence of “open” initiatives in contemporary culture and pointed to the reading of “openness into situations and environments where it doesn't exist” as acts of “openwashing.” Yet, as Morozov also argues, a consideration of openwashing only helps us question the authenticity of open initiatives but does little to help us consider what openness should mean.
    • 2015, Nicolai van der Woert, Robert Schuwer and Martijn Ouwehand, “Connecting Various Forms of Openness: Seeking a Stronger Value Proposition”, in Open and Online Education Trend Report:
      Via openwashing, commercial and private products are labelled as having a more open character despite failing to comply with the openness criteria established by the open movement. Openwashing practices can therefore be described as tainted, misleading and confusing.
    • 2017, Carol L. Stimmel, Evolving Innovation Ecosystems:
      A lack of rigor in understanding the principles of openness may be the leading reason for a disturbing trend in openwashing claims, especially against multinational technology companies such as Apple, Inc., and Microsoft Corporation.
    • 2017, Robert Farrow, “Open education and critical pedagogy”, in Learning, Media and Technology, volume 42, number 2:
      Section 2 examines the implications of the lack of consensus around what it means to be open, focusing on the example of commercial and proprietary claims to openness commonly known as ‘openwashing’.



  1. present participle of openwash