The Free Software Foundation (FSF; initiated by Students for Free Culture (SFC)) define an open university as one in which:
- The research produced is open access;
- The course materials are open educational resources;
- The university embraces free software and open standards;
- The university’s patents are readily licensed for free software, essential medicine, and the public good;
- The university’s network reflects the open nature of the Internet.
The FSF goes further, to list specific criteria for each of these open university principles and university-rankings based on their degree of openness: Open University Report Cards.