OKCon 2013 Guest Post: Open Data Portal on Land Rights

Cross-posted from the OKCon Blog. Introducing a series of guest posts by OKCon 2013 speakers that we will publish over the coming weeks. This first post is by Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Coordinator, International Land Coalition, who will be speaking on the main stage during the Open Development and Sustainability session on Wednesday 18th September […]

Building the foundation for an Open Data Directory

Open (Government) Data as it is understood nowadays can still be considered a new concept. It started to gain traction worldwide since the Obama memo in early 2009 and the launch of a few months later. Following successful leading examples of the US and UK governments we have seen Open Data flourishing all over […]

The new PSI Directive – as good as it seems?

A closer look at the new PSI Directive by Ton Zijlstra and Katleen Janssen image by European People’s Party CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons On 10 April, the European Commission’s Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, announced that the European Union (EU) Member States have approved a text for the new PSI […]

Boundless Learning demands a jury trial

We’ve been following the case of Boundless Learning on the OKF blg (see here and here), in which the world’s most prominent producer of Open Access textbooks online is being sued by the world’s biggest producers of physical, copyrighted textbooks. In the latest twist to the tale, Boundless have filed their answer, requesting a trial […]

Sovereign Credit Risk: An Open Database

This blog post is cross-posted from the Open Economics Blog. Sign up to the Open Economics mailing list for regular updates. Throughout the Eurozone, credit rating agencies have been under attack for their lack of transparency and for their pro-cyclical sovereign rating actions. In the humble belief that the crowd can outperform the credit rating […]

One Graduate Student’s Commitment to Open Knowledge

  The following post was originally published on Alex Leavitt’s website. Fed Up I have been a PhD student for less than two years. On the other hand, for six years, I have been a member of the free culture movement, which emphasizes the importance of access to and openness of technology and information. Recently, […]

Citizen Science Can Produce Reliable Data

The following piece is cross-posted from The Conversation. Citizen science occurs when data for scientific research is collected by members of the public in a voluntary capacity. Public participation in environmental projects, in particular, has been described as a global phenomenon. But there is a stigma associated with these types of projects. The data collected […]

My Environment App Competition

Natural England, in partnership with the Environment Agency, is launching a new web-portal service called My Environment. To celebrate its launch, My Environment is running an Apps competition. From the announcement: Could you create an app that will appeal to mobile device users and help them to engage with nature? The app that best helps […]

Urban Data Challenge

Calling all Transport Hackers! The Urban Data Challenge has launched, a semi-competitive open transport data hacking spree featuring datasets from San Francisco, Geneva, and Zurich. The idea is to merge and compare the mobility datasets, and see what new insights can be drawn. From their website: Buses, trams, bicycles, pedestrians, and cars zoom about modern […]

Wikimedia Launches Open Travel Guide

The Wikimedia Foundation has just announced its newest project, Wikivoyage, a free, online travel guide that anyone can edit. Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said of the launch: “There’s a huge global demand for travel information, but very few sources are both comprehensive and non-commercial. That’s about to change,” said Sue Gardner, […]

Content as Data: Towards Open Digital Publishing with Substance

I’m the maintainer of Substance, an open software platform for collaborative composition and sharing of digital documents. In this little essay, I’d like to sketch the challenges that modern publishing systems face today. I’d also like to come up with ideas for how the complexity can be handled with the help of specialized user-driven software. […]

Open Data BC Summit – Call for Speakers

A little note on behalf of Nelson Lah, Chair of the Open Data Society of British Columbia, Canada. The Open Data Society of BC is hosting the BC Open Data Summit on February 19, 2013 in downtown Vancouver at SFU Segal Graduate School of Business at 500 Granville Street. We want you to be part […]

Prescribing Analytics: how drug data can save the NHS millions

Last week saw the launch of (covered in the Economist and elsewhere). At present it’s “just” a nice data visualisation of some interesting open data that show the NHS could potentially save millions from its drug budget. I say “just” because we’re in discussions with several NHS organizations about providing a richer, tailored, prescribing […]

Research Data Management in Economic Journals

This blog post is written by Sven Vlaeminck | ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Center for Economics Background In Economics, as in many other research disciplines, there is a continuous increase in the number of papers where authors have collected their own research data or used external datasets. However, so […]

The Digital Public Library of America moving forward

A fuller version of this post is available on the Open GLAM blog The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an ambitious project to build a national digital library platform for the United States that will make the cultural and scientific record available, free to all Americans. Hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet […]

Reputation Factor in Economic Publishing

“The big problem in economics is that it really matters in which journals you publish, so the reputation factor is a big hindrance in getting open access journals up and going”. Can the accepted norms of scholarly publishing be successfully challenged? This quotation is a line from the correspondence about writing this blogpost for the […]

Hackathons: the How To Guide

Hackathons are a wonderful way to introduce people of all walks to the amazing possibilities of open data. Here in British Columbia we are fortunate to have a very active open data community which has organized and run 17 open data hackathons in the past two years. This year a few of us decided that […]

Hack4Health: London 2-4 November

In the first November weekend – 2-4 November – the UK Open Data Institute in London will host Hack4Health, organised by Coadec, Healthbox Accelerator, the Cabinet Office, NHS Hackday and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The event brings together entrepreneurs, developers and technical startups working on health and fitness data to create innovative solutions and products. […]

US Congress data opened

Exciting news on open legislative data from the US. Eric Mills (from the Sunlight Foundation), Josh Tauberer (of and Derek Willis have been beavering away on a public domain scraper and dataset from, the official source for legislative information for the US Congress. They’ve just hit a key milestone – the incorporation of […]

Do bad things happen when works enter the Public Domain?

New research shows that the traditional arguments for copyright extension are as flawed as we always suspected. Copyright is generally defended in terms of the stimulus it gives to creative production: what motivation would anyone have to do anything ever if they don’t get decades of ownership afterwards? But then how do you justify the […]

Code4Europe fellowships launched

Code for Europe is a new organization looking to enliven a culture of innovation in city government. This week they have launched a hunt for talented developers and app makers, “to help make a breakthrough in how government services its citizens.” The projects will take place in six European cities: Helsinki, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Manchester […]

Open Street Map has officially switched to ODbL – and celebrates with a picnic

Open Street Map is probably the best example of a successful, community driven open data project. The project was started by Steve Coast in 2004 in response to his frustration with the Ordnance Survey’s restrictive licensing conditions. Steve presented on some of his early ‘mapping parties’ – where a small handful of friends would walk […]

Ignite Cleanweb

Ignite Event in London This Thursday in London, Cleanweb UK invites you to their first Ignite evening, hosted by Forward Technology. Come along and see a great lineup of lightning talks, all about what’s happening with sustainability and the web in the UK. From clean clouds, to home energy, to climate visualisation, there will plenty […]

Openstreetmap Conference 2012 October 19th-20th Edinburgh

This guest post was submitted by Bob Kerr of has just had its 8th Birthday. For those new to the name, Openstreetmap is the wikipedia of maps or rather a single map, the map of our world. Initially born because the cost of licensing Ordnance Survey data was £5000 for a single use, […]

OpenDataMx: Opening Up the Government, one Bit at a Time

On August 24-25, another edition of OpenDataMx took place: a 36-hour public data hackathon for the development of creative technological solutions to questions raised by the civil society. This time the event was hosted by the University of Communication in Mexico City. The popularity of the event has grown: a total of 63 participants including […]

Development Data Challenge

Over the weekend of 25th and 26th August, the second event in a series of ‘Development Data Challenges’ took place at the Guardian’s offices in London. What is a ‘Development Data Challenge’? Development Data Challenges are an interesting concept. They draw together a disparate group of people (we had development experts, coders, designers, data wranglers, […]

Introducing the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness

This guest post is by Scott Hubli and Andrew G. Mandelbaum from the National Democratic Institute (NDI). NDI is partering with the Sunlight Foundation and the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency to enhance networking among parliamentary monitoring organizations on issues of parliamentary openness and democratic reform, with the support of the Omidyar Network, the […]

OpenDataMx: Open Data Hackathon in Mexico City

  This weekend Mexico City will host OpenDataMx, a Hackathon of public open data lasting 36 hours, during which participants will develop creative technical solutions to solve various civil society problems. Programmers, designers, members of civil society organizations (CSOs) and government officials are invited to participate in OpenDataMx and collaborate in web and mobile solutions […]

The very first Open Data and Democracy Initiative Hackathon, South Africa

If knowledge is power then data are the individual watts; one by itself is aesthetically pleasing, but functionally useless. It’s only when we add all the watts together that we produce enough power to move forward. Constitutionally we own this power, but the trickle of information provided to the public is practically useless – and […]

Elva – Texting for Security

  The 2008 war between Georgia and Russia has upturned the lives of thousands of citizens in the Georgian region of Shida Kartli. Four years after the intense five-day war, which saw Russia gain control over the neighbouring territory of South Ossetia, many inhabitants of Shida Kartli now find their villages lined by military checkpoints, […]

CC license version 4.0: Helping meet the needs of open data publishers and users

Over the last few months, Creative Commons has been working on the next version of its license suite, version 4.0. The goals of version 4.0 are wide-ranging, but the overall objective is clear: update the licenses so they are considerably more robust, yet easy to understand and use, for both existing communities and new types […]

The Fifth Elephant, 27-28 July 2012, Bangalore

Mythology held that the world rested on the back of four elephants. In the connected 21st century we think there’s a fifth: data. The Fifth Elephant is a community-powered two-day event around the Big Data ecosystem. We hope to enable inter-disciplinary learning between technology, analytics and design along with inter-domain learning between Technology, Media, Retail, […]

Open Media Challenge, September, Bucharest

The Open Media Challenge (OMC) is a two-day event, laying the groundwork for improving data journalism in Eastern Europe. The aim is to write code for free software which will solve real-world media problems around data aggregation and visualization. It will be a collaborative effort focused on Eastern European information collection and dissemination, and will […]

‘En boca cerrada….’: open data in Catalunya today

There is a popular expression in Spanish that says, ‘en boca cerrada no entran moscas.’ Its equivalent in English is ‘loose lips sink ships,’ basically meaning that you are better off just keeping quiet. This culture of secrecy, some would say discretion, is particularly true in Spain’s public administration, being traditionally pervasive at all levels. […]

On the way to the new market of information in Russia

On June 5th at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow a round table conference took place, devoted to the opening of state-collected datasets. It was convened by the Higher School of Economics (HSE) together with the Russian Office of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Open data is the new trend in the state […]

Infokultura and Apps4Russia

During recent years, the Russian Federation has undertaken a number of developments in its open data legislation strategy. This trend inspired a team of professionals to get together and start a non-profit organization, “INFOKULTURA”. Understanding that data availability is crucial for an information society and the development of an information culture, we emphasise the establishment […]

Boundless Learning Got Served. What does it all Mean for Open Textbooks?

If you are at all familiar with the open textbook world, you’ve likely heard of the startup called Boundless Learning. Leveraging information in the public domain, as well as dipping into the enormous stockpile of learning that is Open Education Resources, Boundless Learning has a created a tool that hopes to eventually replace the traditional […]

Open Book Publishers releases “The Digital Public Domain”

Open Book Publishers is the first UK academic publisher to have made all its books freely available online, publishing peer-reviewed research in subjects across the Humanities and Social Sciences. They are “committed to the idea that high quality scholarship should be available to readers everywhere regardless of their income or access to university libraries”. This […]

Open Cultuur Data: Opening up Cultural data in the Netherlands

Last week, the third and last blog post by the Dutch initiative ‘Open Cultuur Data’ has been published on the openGLAM blog. Open Cultuur Data (Open Cultural Data) is a network of cultural professionals, developers, designers, copyright specialists and open data experts, that opens cultural data and encourages the development of valuable cultural applications. This […]

Wikidata: a new open data repository for the world

This month Wikidata, a new project of Wikimedia Germany, finally started. The ambitious goal of the project is to create an open data repository for the world’s knowledge that can be accessed and edited by everyone, humans and machines alike. Wikidata will be a place where Wikipedia’s editors and others will be able to collect […]

UK Open Standards Consultation

The following post is cross-posted from Jeni’s blog – Over the last few months, the UK Government has been running a consultation on its Open Standards policy. The outcome of this consultation is incredibly important not only for organisations and individuals who want to work with government but also because of its potential knock-on […]

How open is corporate data in Open Government Partnership countries?

Today, the day before the Open Government Partnership meeting starts in Brasilia, OpenCorporates is publishing a major new report into access to company data in OGP countries, and the picture is not good. Out of a total of a possible 100 points, the average score was just 21, with several major countries (including Spain, Greece […]

Can Open Data help conflict prevention?

We’re in the planning stages of a conflict prevention project called PAX and open data perspectives have fed into our thinking in its processes and structures. PAX aims to provide early warnings of emerging violent conflict, through an online collaborative system of data sharing and analysis. We’re still in the early stages of exploration and […]

The public examination of draft laws: Lawmaking 2.0 for Russia

Although “democracy” means “rule by the people”, history has known few cases of such a form of government. In the vast majority of cases “democracy” is used to refer to a representative form of a government, in which citizens delegate their political rights to elected officials. As a result, representative democracy leads to bureaucratic establishment. […]

Being Open About Data

A more detailed version of this post can be found on the Finnish Institute blog. The Finnish Institute in London has recently completed a five-month research project on the British open data policies. The report looks at how the open data ecosystem has emerged in the UK and what lessons can be drawn from the […]

Mapping the Republic of Letters

The following post is crossposted from the OpenGLAM blog, and is about Stanford’s Mapping the Republic of Letters Project – one of the finest examples of what can be done with cultural heritage data and open source tools. Mapping the Republic of Letters is a collaborative, interdisciplinary humanities research project looking at 17th and 18th […]

Will technology boost the fight against corruption in the Post-Soviet region?

Having come across the recent UNDP study on the role of social media for enhancing public transparency and accountability in Eastern Europe (download here), one cannot help feeling optimistic about the potential to raise the level of civic empowerment and to fight corruption in the post-Soviet countries. Looks like the Transparency Works event jointly organized […]

Open Plaques: Community Powered Heritage

This is a shortened version of a post from the OpenGLAM blog, where you can keep up-to-date with goings-on around open data in heritage and arts. Historical plaques by their very nature are objects in the public domain, so creating a platform to collect them with the public – and for the collected data to […]

Finnish data journalism app contest

Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s leading national paper, is organizing an article app contest to find data visualizations. For many journalists today, it’s not a lack of open data that’s the problem, but a lack of the skills and off-the-shelf visualizations needed to make that open data useful to them. A year ago, the Finnish government decided […]