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OKFestival 2014 Financial Aid Programme Launches Today!

Beatrice Martini - April 9, 2014 in Events, Featured, News, OKFest, OKFestival

The OKFestival 2014 Team is happy to announce that we are launching our Financial Aid Programme today! Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 4.55.39 PM We’re delighted to support and ensure the attendance of those with great ideas who are actively involved in the open movement, but whose distance or finances make it difficult for them to get to this year’s festival in Berlin. Diversity and inclusivity are a huge part of our festival ethos and we are committed to ensuring broad participation from all corners of the world. We’re striving to create a forum for all ideas and all people and our Financial Aid Programme will help us to do just that.

What: OKFestival, 15-17th July 2014, Berlin

How to Apply: Check out our Financial Aid webpage

Deadline: Sunday 4th May

Our Travel Grants cover travel and accommodation costs, and our aim is to get you to Berlin if you can’t quite make it there yourself. For more information on what we’ll cover – and what we won’t – how to apply, and what to expect if you do, have a look at our Financial Aid page.

  Image credit: Flickr user Andrew Nash

Rufus Pollock named Tech Hero for Good

Theodora Middleton - March 20, 2014 in News, Our Work

Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation

Nesta, the UK innovation charity, has announced it’s Ten Tech Heroes for Good – and Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Rufus Pollock, is on the list! We’re really proud that the achievements of Rufus and the Open Knowledge Foundation have been recognised in this way: focusing on the power of openness to achieve positive social change.

As Nesta say in their blog:

One of the truths we believe in at Nesta is:

Technology won’t save us, people will.

It’s a truth that’s often misunderstood by the tech evangelists, the singularity obsessives, and all the dystopian bandwagoners who think that technology is an alien force that we have to fight to control, otherwise it will eventually control us. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Technology is an enabling force that allows us to improve the world around us. It is part of our human fabric, not some alien species.

That’s why we wanted to pick out some of the brightest and best talents around the UK and show the great ideas they’ve come up with that use digital technology as the enabling force to improve how we live.

The selection panel was made up of Nesta experts, and set out to identify tech leaders with revolutionary ideas across the board. Rufus was recognised particularly for the groundbreaking work at CKAN, the open source platform which powers many open data portals around the world, including the UK government, the US government, and the EU Open Data Portal. CKAN is a key driver of collaborative and transparent government in the 21st century, providing the foundations of an open data ecosystem. WDMMG Bubbles

Other Open Knowledge Foundation projects which received special mention were Where Does My Money Go?, our budget visualisation tool which was the starting point of our bigger OpenSpending project to map all government transactions around the world; Open Data Commons which provides the legal tools that enable the open publication of data; and Open Shakespeare, our free online database of all the Bard’s works.

Other Tech Heroes celebrated in the Nesta list were Eben Upton, the inventor of the Raspberry Pi credit card computer; Iris Lapinski, CEO of Apps for Good, an open-source education technology programme; Linda Sandvik, co-Founder of CodeClub, a free national after-school programme teaching programing; Chris Lintott, founder of the Zooniverse citizen science platform; Sue Black, leading advocate for women in computing; Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, co-founder of Patients Know Best which is revolutionising patient-doctor relationships; Emma Mulqueeny, founder of Rewired Reality, bringing together skilled innovators with the organisations who need them; Raspberry PI Tom Farrand, co-founder of Good for Nothing, building communities to help grassroots innovators achieve social good; and Dominic Campbell, co-founder of Patchwork HQ, a tool to enable better coordination among social care professionals.

Many of these projects include open source and open data elements, and all of them are using technology to empower people and create more just societies. We are really excited to be part of this movement.

Deadline to submit your OKFestival 2014 session proposals extended to March 30!

Beatrice Martini - March 14, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

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  • Event: OKFestival – July 15-17, 2014. Berlin, Germany.
  • Call for Proposals: Find the call, FAQs and the submission form here
  • Deadline: Deadline extended! New deadline to submit your proposals is March 30, 2014.
  • Tickets: Early Bird tickets are now on sale!

This year’s OKFestival Call for Proposals was due to end on Sunday and our spreadsheets were filling up with dozens of amazing session amazing sessions ideas over the last few weeks. We’ve had lots of questions from you about your proposals, answered heaps of Twitter messages asking for hints about the best way to design a workshop, and hosted live helpouts to talk about how you can collaborate with each other.

So, excited by your enthusiasm and fuelled by your contagious energy, we have decided to extend the deadline for this year’s proposals.

You now have two full extra weeks!New deadline: March 30. And this time we’re serious!

Keep sending your brilliant, groundbreaking, collaborative proposals. We’re looking forward to reviewing them all!

OKFestival streams – concept and how to get help!

Katelyn Rogers - March 6, 2014 in Events, News, OKFest, OKFestival

At the Open Knowledge Foundation, we aspire to create environments that connect diverse audiences, thus enabling a diverse groups of thinkers, makers and activists to come together and collaborate to effect change. This year, the Open Knowledge Festival is fuelled by our theory that change happens when you bring together knowledge – which informs change - tools – which enable change – and society – which effects change. Whether you’re building better, cooler tech, creating stronger ideas for the open movement or aiming to shift the gears of society, this year’s OKFestival is the place for you; a place of diverse interests and learning experiences, highlighted by this year’s emphasis on collaboration across the three streams.


In the past, Open Knowledge Foundation events have been organised around topical streams. This has enabled us to grow the movement across communities as diverse as science, transparency, development and linguistics.

However, topical streams have a tendency to further entrench topical silos. Researchers working to open up academia, for example, could almost certainly benefit from learning about the experiences of their colleagues in other fields and from teaching others about their area of expertise. Everyone could benefit from some facetime with a maker who builds cool, useful technology in their sleep! At OKFestival 2014 we want to ensure this type of knowledge sharing in order to offer everyone the chance to cross-collaborate in meaningful, impactful ways. We can all recognise that issues such as privacy, data protection and net neutrality affect all domains within the open space, and we want to ensure that these issues are addressed and worked through from a diversity of perspectives to produce truly global solutions. In order to build an impactful open coalition which can effect change around the world, we need to draw on and incorporate the experiences and knowledge of multiple local communities. Only by avoiding such topical silos and building a cross-topic network of understanding and collaboration can we inform inclusive and context-appropriate open practices.


This year, we are mixing things up to achieve all of this and more! We are promoting cross-domain collaborations and urging you to collectively work through the complex problems that keep resurfacing. The individual sessions which are being submitted and proposed as we speak are pieces of this global puzzle, and this year’s Programme Team is responsible for putting that puzzle together. It’s a tough job, and we don’t want to do it alone, so if you want to start piecing it together before you submit your proposal, then collaborating with your colleagues who work in different spaces is a sure-fire way to create an interesting and attention-worthy session. We fully encourage you to reach out to those colleagues who you believe may hold a piece of your puzzle, and we’ve set up this mailing list for you to do just that.

We understand that by mixing things up, questions are sure to arise. That is why we have put together this handy page with tips and tricks for organising your session, booted that aforementioned mailing list for session organisers to discuss their proposals and foster new collaborations, and even organised two hangouts (Friday and Monday – pick one!) to give you the opportunity to ask questions and be inspired.

Finally, we need your help. We believe that at the heart of the open movement are values such as diversity and inclusivity. We need you to make sure that your OKFestival is as diverse and inclusive as possible, because as we all know, there’s so much more to learn that way. If you know awesome people who have something key to say about sharing knowledge, building amazing tools and stirring up society to make an impact, then send them our way. If that’s you, then what are you waiting for?! Start thinking about a collaborative, interactive and powerful session for OKFestival!

Tips & Tricks – A Hangout for OKFestival Session Planners

Beatrice Martini - March 5, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

The Open Knowledge Festival call for session proposals is now open!

The better the proposals, the better the festival, so we’re inviting you to put on your thinking caps and come up with revolutionarily brilliant ideas for sessions at OKFestival 2014.

We know you can do it, and we know you’ll make this festival a huge success by bringing your input to it. To help you fine-tune your ideas –  and ask any burning questions  that you may have – the Festival Programme Team are going to be on hand via online hangouts over the next week to give you some pointers.


In fact, we’re happy to announce three new tools to help make the magic happen:

  • we’ve created a public mailing list which you can use to connect and team up with other session planners, to share ideas, plans and tips for OKFestival sessions

  • we’ve created a brand-new webpage on our festival site with tips to help you build and facilitate the best sessions possible for/at OKFestival

  • we’re hosting two live hangouts (links below) where you can ask for advice or input on your ideas from us, and exchange tips with each other to help make your proposal shine

Hangouts will be held on Friday, March 7 at 21:00 GMT (22:00 CET/ 13:00 PST/ 16:00 EST) and on Monday, March 10, at 10:00 GMT (11:00 CET/ 13:00 EAT/ 18:00 HKT). We’ll be interacting with you live via etherpad and Twitter – #okfestsessions – as well as via the Google+ Hangouts Q&A App where you can post your questions on the day. The hangouts will be streamed direct to our YouTube channel and G+ page.

If you can’t join us for whatever reason, don’t worry - the resultant YouTube videos will be archived so you can watch them later and you can also continue to read and contribute to the etherpad after the hangouts.

We’re looking forward to building this year’s programme with you!

The Open Knowledge Festival 2014 website is now live!

Beatrice Martini - February 19, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

We know you’re as excited as we are about this year’s Open Knowledge Festival, which will be taking place in Berlin from 15th – 17th July. Today, we’re pleased to unveil the new website for the event which includes the festival ticket shop, details of how to contribute to the programme and other key information about the event.


OKFestival 2014 builds on many years of successful international open knowledge events hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation – including OKFestival 2012 and OKCon 2013 – to create a meeting that’s focused on turning knowledge into positive action. We hope to see you in Berlin this summer!

Tickets now on sale!

You can now buy earlybird tickets for OKFestival for 120€ per person. This includes the evening event on the 15th and both full days of the festival on the 16th and 17th. There are only a limited number of these tickets, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Once the earlybird tickets have gone, regular tickets will be released at 150€ per person. If you’re a student, we’re also offering tickets at a discounted rate of 100€ – you’ll need to show a valid student ID when you collect your name badge at the festival.

If you’re attending on behalf of an organisation, then the 350€ business ticket is the right one for you. As well as giving you food and drink vouchers, and a Berlin tour, the ticket is also transferable, meaning that you can let us know if you’re attending on one day of the festival and a colleague will be using the ticket on another day.

If you’ve got any questions about buying tickets, take a look at our ticket FAQs. If you’ve still got queries, you can get in touch with us directly:


Contribute to the festival programme

We’ll be sharing more information about the different topic streams that will form the structure of the OKFestival programme soon. We’ll then be asking for session proposals for each of the streams. So if you’ve got ideas about a discussion that you’d like to lead, a hack that you’d like to wrangle, or a group of people that you’d love to bring together to swop knowledge, please start shaping your ideas ready to let us know about them.

We’re also keen to see fringe events hosted in Berlin on the days around the Festival. These might be longer hacks, workshops or social events. While we won’t be able to provide a venue for these events, we’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking of putting one together.

Financial aid programme

OKFestival is a great opportunity to bring together an international crowd of open knowledge enthusiasts. To make the event as accessible as possible to all who would like to join us in Berlin, we’re offering financial aid packages to cover admission, travel and accommodation costs for a limited number of attendees. For more information on how to apply, keep an eye out for an announcement about the programme soon.


OKFestival is made financially possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors. If you’d like to find out more about the opportunities to contribute to the event, please get in touch with us at

Planning Your Open Data Day 2014

Beatrice Martini - December 12, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, News, Sprint / Hackday, Talks, Training, Workshop

Open Data Day is coming! On February 22, 2014 in a timezone near you!

What is it?

Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together online or in person to make things with and around open data. Anyone is invited to get involved – from curious citizens to journalists, coders to scientists, designers to data wranglers.


How does it work?

The Open Data Day events can have any kind of format / length and theme, but should all be connected by a couple of basic principles.

  • The events should happen on the same day – the next one, on February 22, 2014

  • The events should be inclusive and welcome diversity (epistemic, geographic, socio-demographic, of language and gender) – our movement is stronger when it is broader

  • Anyone can organise an event – add your name and online/ in person event to the wiki. For in person meetups: let’s try to keep it to one event per city, to maximize the local community’s strength. (Find tips on types of events in the Open Knowledge Foundation Event Handbook and in this post by our friend Michelle Thorne of Mozilla.)

  • Hacks and meetups should all involve open data

  • Show and share – each event should come up with at least one demo, brainstorm, proposal, to share online with the Open Data Day crowd (adding links to post-event materials, including pics and blog posts, to the wiki is warmly recommended). We will investigate more online spaces soon.

  • Virtual party – we aim to connect globally. Are you in a location with no in person event? Join us online via IRC, Hackpads or more (more details and links coming soon)

Some 2014 event examples? Take a look at this event organised in Washington DC at The World Bank. And did you already see the Open Data Day Japan website just launched today?


Call to action: Help build Open Data Day!

The Open Data Day wiki needs to be prepped and polished to rock the 2014 action plan. We’re looking for stellar volunteers to help us with this. Skills required:

  • knowledge of Wiki management
  • ability to work with WordPress
  • design skills
  • mapping skills

Willing to help the wiki sprint? Get in touch with our very own Heather Leson. We’ll get this ready as soon as possible for everyone to add their Open Data Day events!

If you need some help planning your event, please do connect on the OKFN – Discuss mailing list or Open Data Day mailing list. Next week we will share some resources and planning help for local organizers.

Ready to open up data? Join the party!

Vidi Competition launching today

Marieke Guy - November 5, 2013 in Linked Up, News


Calling all developers! Today the LinkedUp Project are launching the second of the LinkedUp Challenge competitions – the Vidi Competition.

The LinkedUp Project aims to push forward the exploitation of the vast amounts of public, open data available on the Web, in particular by educational institutions and organizations.

For Vidi we’re inviting you to design and build innovative and robust prototypes and demos for tools that analyse and/or integrate open web data for educational purposes. You can submit your Web application, App, analysis toolkit, documented API or any other tool that connects, exploits or analyses open or linked data and that addresses real educational needs. For Vidi your tool may contain some bugs, as long as it has a stable set of features and you have some proof that it can be deployed on a realistic scale.

Please take a look at our video to get a better idea of what we are after.

This time we also have two focused tracks to run alongside our open track. In these tracks we are asking you to design a solution to the problem we have described. The first focused track is called Simplificator and calls for applications easing access to complex information by summarizing them in a simpler form. The second focused track is called Pathfinder and requires applications easing access to recommendation and guidance when choosing appropriate curriculum of courses and related resources. You can find out more about the focused tracks from the LinkedUp Challenge website.

The Vidi competition will run from 4th November 2013 till 14th February 2014. Prizes (up €3,000 for first prize) will be awarded at the European Semantic Web Conference in Crete, Greece in May 2014.

That gives you 3 months to get designing and building. You can find out more details about the catalogue of datasets we’ve collated for you and ideas to get you started on the LinkedUp Challenge website.

So get designing!

UK takes lead on ending company secrecy at Open Government Partnership Summit

Jonathan Gray - October 31, 2013 in Campaigning, News, Policy

We will be updating this post throughout the morning, as further details are announced. For press contact, call +44 (0)1223 422159 or email

This morning UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the UK’s support for public registers of beneficial ownership, or who really owns companies, at the Open Government Partnership Summit in London.

In his speech he said:

I’m delighted to announce that not only is that register going to go ahead – but that it’s also going to be open to the public.

[...] there are so many wider benefits to making this information available to everyone.

It’s better for businesses here – who will be able to better identify who really owns the companies they’re trading with.

It’s better for developing countries – who will have easy access to all this data, without submitting endless requests for each line of enquiry.

And it’s better for us all to have an open system which everyone has access to – the more eyes that look at this information, the more accurate it will be.

This is a complete world first on transparency and I’m proud Britain is leading the way.

And today I call on the rest of the world to join us in this journey.

[...] together we can close the door on these shadowy, corrupt, illegal practices once and for all.

Currently true company ownership is secret and shell companies are often used to mask the identities of people engaged in a wide variety of illegal activities – from organised crime to corruption, tax evasion to terrorist financing.

The Open Knowledge Foundation is delighted to see the UK taking international leadership on this issue, and we hope the UK’s historic step will encourage other countries to follow suit.

Furthermore we hope that the UK will not only make beneficial ownership information public, but open and machine readable in accordance with the Open Data Charter launched at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland earlier this year.

Laura James, CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation commented: “Making true company ownership public was the single biggest ask from civil society organisations engaging with the UK government around its National Action Plan, and one of the biggest sticking points in talks leading up to today’s summit. Hence we’re very pleased to see the UK taking the lead on this issue and cracking down on company secrecy.”

OKFestival: what is it going to be?

Beatrice Martini - October 18, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Foundation

We announced city and dates of our upcoming Open Knowledge Festival 2014 less than a month ago (Berlin, Germany! July 15th-18th!) and we’re pleased to start giving you more information about it.

The Open Knowledge Festival in 2014 will be the biggest open data and open knowledge event the world has ever seen. We’ve taken a step back, listened to your feedback and talked with you since the first Festival in 2012, and now we’re ready to help create the 2014 Open Knowledge Festival with you.

The Open Knowledge Festival is a global, inclusive and participatory event. It is organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation Central and owned by the open knowledge community in the broadest sense.

What does this all mean?

  • Global: we aim to welcome more people from all around the world than ever before. This includes community members from countries we haven’t yet reached, providing financial aid to people travelling from very far away, and real interaction with all of you, wherever you are during the entire production process of the event.

  • Inclusive: this event is about the open community as a whole, not just the Open Knowledge Foundation community. Whatever role you play or want to play in the open movement, this is for you – anyone can submit proposals, provide feedback and get involved. We support a diverse participation and all the open domains, and welcome everybody – not only members from the Open Knowledge Foundation community – to be part of it.

  • Participatory: participants shape the agenda before and during the event; at the event, participants will be truly active! Our vision: participants will be running a session, making a presentation, giving a lightning talk, joining a hack – you’ll be owning the event.

  • The Open Knowledge Foundation Central will facilitate the process and the scheduling in terms of logistics and best practices, communicate and promote the festival broadly, encourage connections, support diversity of perspectives and backgrounds.

  • The open knowledge community, the wide open world beyond what we are as the Foundation, will own the event. Sessions will be proposed, reviewed and selected by members of the community. We, Open Knowledge Foundation Central, as facilitators of the community’s brilliant work and will to take action, are working on establishing a sustainable process to best support this.

Further details will come soon – we’re working on it. Watch this space! In the meantime, if you want to give any feedback about or share any ideas for the Open Knowledge Festival, please feel more than welcome to drop us a line at

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