The year is drawing to a close. Before we tumble headlong into the new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on the incredible success of 2013. Here’s our Top 10 Greatest Hits of the last year, in reverse order…
Launch of data.gov
In May, one of the most significant CKAN instances ever was launched, in the shape of the new US government open data portal, data.gov. The total number of CKAN instances is unknown, as the software is fully open source, but at least seventy now exist around the world.
Opening economics makes for better research, as well as more just and sustainable outcomes. Great progress was made in the last year, including YourTopia Italy, an award-winning multidimensional index of social progress; the Failed Banks tracker, a visualisation of the big bank failures during the recent financial crash; and a set of Open Economics Principles, which have been widely endorsed by the economics community including the World Bank’s Data Development Group.
Crowdcrafting is a free platform for creating projects which need lots of people to take small actions. Since its launch in April, the uptake has been inspiring: around 150 investigations are currently being hosted on the site, including FrackFinder, a project to track the growth of highly controversial “fracking” for gas in the north-eastern U.S.; TweetClicker, which identified tweets relevant to disaster response teams during the devastating cyclone Yolanda; and Antimatter, investigating how antimatter particles respond to gravity. The tasks are designed for anyone to contribute: check it out.
Open Spending rounded off a great year with the launch of the Spending Stories app, which enables citizens and journalists to make sense of the numbers in the news. What does it really mean that the UK school meals programme costs £6million per year? For one thing, that it costs about one fifth of annual spending on the monarchy…
This year’s OKCon saw 1000 of you join us for a profoundly engaging and passionate week of talks and workshops in Geneva. Inspiring talks from the likes of Jay Naidoo and Ellen Miller emphasised the social change potential of open data when applied to governance and development issues. Let’s make it 2000 for OKFestival in Berlin in 2014!
Open Data Index
This year saw the release of the Open Data Index, the product of an amazing community effort to assess the openness efforts of governments around the world. The Index will be a crucial benchmark in the coming years, enabling civil society to hold governments to account on their open promises.
The big trend for Big Data is missing the more important revolution: #smalldata. As the cost of storage space plummets, there is a mass democratisation of data storage and processing. The real potential of the age of technology lies in the possibilities this creates for a decentralised, distributed ecosystem of data and knowledge – not in the centralisation and control of Big Data.
The Public Domain Review
Hailed as “magnificent…a model of digital curation” by the Guardian, the Public Domain Review has continued to build an incredible treasure trove of delights from across the public domain. The most popular posts this year were a dictionary of Victorian slang and illustrations from a Victorian book on magic, with the numerous other curios including a video of a dog’s head being revived. The Public Domain Review: making copyright questions cool.
School of Data
Open data alone does not empower people or produce change. Ordinary people need the skills to turn that data into knowledge: to use it to answer their questions and make the changes they want to see in the world. The School of Data has had an incredible year of sharing these skills across the globe, training over 1200 people from Nairobi to Bogota. There are now Portuguese and Spanish versions of the School as well, and altogether over 2000 have taken part in online trainings.