About the Foundation for Public Code

Public Code

This resource


Public code is both civic code (like policy or regulation) and computer source code (such as software and algorithms) executed in a public context, by humans or machines.

Because public code serves the public interest, it should be open, legible, accountable, accessible and sustainable.

Others can use public code as a building block to:

  • use as a basis for learning
  • take as a starting point to continue development
  • re-implement in their local context

To enable this, public code development needs to be independent from, but implementable in all of the contexts listed above. The development process must also be openly documented.

To facilitate re-use, public code should be either released into the public domain or licenced with an open licence that permits others to view and reuse the work freely and to produce derivative works.