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Open Knowledge International – our new name!

Open Knowledge International - May 23, 2016 in Featured, News

Notice something a little different? We have had a change of name!

As of today, we officially move from being called “Open Knowledge” to “Open Knowledge International (OKI)”.

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“Open Knowledge International” is the name by which the community groups have referred to us for a couple of years, conveying our role in supporting the groups around the world, as well as our role within the broader open knowledge movement globally. We are excited to announce our new name that reflects this.

Open Knowledge International is registered in the UK, and this has sometimes led to assumptions that we operate in and for the benefit of this region. However, the UK is no more of a priority to Open Knowledge International than other areas of the world; in fact, we want to look more closely at ways we can be engaged at a global level, where efforts to push open knowledge are already happening and where we can make a difference by joining alongside the people making it happen. This is evident by our efforts to support the associated Open Knowledge Network, with a presence in more than 40 countries and cross-border Working Groups, as well as our support of international projects, such as the Global Open Data Index, that both blends open knowledge expertise and draws upon the global open data community. Finally, we are an international team, with staff based in nearly every region, collaborating virtually to promote openness online and on the ground.

By formalising Open Knowledge International as our name beyond the community groups associated with us and to the broader open knowledge movement, we are reflecting the direction we are striving to undertake, now and increasingly so in the future. We are grateful to have such a strong community behind us as we undertake a name change that better reflects our priorities and as we continue to seek new opportunities on a global scale.

We are also planning to transition from the domain name okfn.org for brand consistency and will begin that transition in the coming months. If you would like to discuss this change of name, and what it means, please join in on our forum – discuss.okfn.org.

For revised logos please see okfn.org/press/logos and please contact press@okfn.org if you have any questions about the use of this brand.

Sloan Foundation Funds Frictionless Data Tooling and Engagement at Open Knowledge

Open Knowledge International - February 29, 2016 in Frictionless Data, News, open knowledge

We are excited to announce that Open Knowledge International has received $700,000 in funding from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation over two years to work on a broad range of activities to enable better research and more effective civic tech through our Frictionless Data initiative. The funding will target standards work, tooling, and infrastructure around “data packages” as well as piloting and outreach activities to support researchers and civic technologists in addressing real problems encountered when working with data.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit grant-making institution based in New York City. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and Chief Executive Officer of the General Motors Corporation, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and economic performance.  

“Analyzing and working with data is a significant (and growing) source of pain for researchers of all types”, says Josh Greenberg, Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “We are excited to support Open Knowledge International in this critical area. This support will help data-intensive researchers to be more efficient and effective.”

What is being funded?

The funding will support three key streams of work around data packages: (a) the further development of the data package suite of standards, (b) the creation and enhancement of a suite of tools and integrations around these standards, and (c) broad outreach and engagement to educate researchers about the benefits of this approach.

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Standards

The Data Package standard is a simple, lightweight specification for packaging all types of data, but we have a special emphasis on tabular (e.g. CSV) data. As the sources of useful data grow, effective data-driven research is becoming more and more critical. Such research often depends on cleaning and validating data, as well as combining such data from multiple sources, processes that are still frequently manual, tedious, and error-prone.  Data packages allow for the greater automation of these processes, thereby eliminating the “friction” involved.  

Tooling and Integration

A key aspect of this work is that it aligns with researchers’ usual tools and will require few or no changes to existing data and data structures.  To do this, we are seeking to build and support integrations with popular tools for research, for example, R, STATA, LibreOffice, etc.  In addition, we are looking to define ways of seamless translating datasets to and from typical file formats used across various research communities such as HDF5, NetCDF, etc.

Community Outreach

While our core mission is to design a well defined set of specifications and build a rich and vibrant ecosystem of tooling around them, none of this is possible without also building a broad awareness of data packages, where to use them and their utility, and a sustainable group of engaged users to support this.  To make our work in this area as effective as possible, we are building partnerships with organizations in research, civic tech, as well as government.

Be a part of the Frictionless Data future

We are looking to discover much more about the needs of different research groups and to identify the problems they might currently have.  To do this, we are running targeted pilots to trial these tools and specifications on real data.

Are you a researcher looking for better tooling to manage your data?  

Do you work at or represent an organization working on issues related to research data like DataCite, DataONE, RDA, or CODATA and would like to work with us on complementary issues for which data packages are suited?

Are you a developer and have an idea for something we can build together?

Are you a student looking to learn more about data wrangling, managing research data, or open data in general?

If any of the above apply to you, email us at frictionless@okfn.org.  We’d love to hear from you.  If you have any other questions or comments about this initiative, please visit this topic in our forum: https://discuss.okfn.org/t/sloan-foundation-funds-frictionless-data-at-open-knowledge/1928 or hashtag #frictionlessdata. 

Rufus Pollock: I am now Non-Executive at Open Knowledge International

Rufus Pollock - February 26, 2016 in News

Today, I am pleased to announce the completion of my move to a non-executive role at Open Knowledge International.

When Pavel Richter took over as CEO last year, my plan was to move to the role of President and transition to a non-executive position on a timeline that allowed me to support Pavel as he took over and drove Open Knowledge International forward.

I’m delighted to say that this plan has progressed well. As a result, today I am happy to announce my move to a fully non-executive role is complete. Going forward, I will no longer have day to day responsibilities or involvement at Open Knowledge International — though I will, of course, continue to discharge any outstanding consulting or management responsibilities to particular projects and clients. I will also continue to provide ongoing advice and support to Pavel and the Leadership Team.

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This is a special moment for me: Open Knowledge has been a major passion of mine since I founded it over a decade ago. It has also often been an all-consuming one, especially in the last five years as full-time CEO. Now, thanks to Pavel and the great team we have in place, I have the privilege of being to step back and watch it develop and grow whilst personally having the space to explore new interests and opportunities.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that I am deeply committed to the ongoing success both of Open Knowledge International and the wider Open Knowledge community. In addition I remain passionate about openness and open knowledge. We have only just begun on our journey to create an open information age and I plan to remain active promoting openness around the world. I will continue to be an active community member and volunteer for Open Knowledge and the open knowledge movement.

Finally, with my non-executive transition the best way to get in touch or keep up to date will be changing. Going forward please use my Open Knowledge Directory page or see my personal website at: http://rufuspollock.org/about/.

ILDA to join Open Data Day Mini grants!

Open Knowledge International - February 22, 2016 in Events, News, Open Data, Open Data Day

This post was written by Fabrizio Scrollini

We are happy to announce that The Latin American Open Data initiative (ILDA) is joining the global efforts to enrich Open Data Day mini aims to promote and support the engagement of the Latin American community on Open Data Day. Our support will go to Latin American individuals and organisation that already applied to this year’s call.

In 2015, almost every country in Latin America held an Open Data Day event. Latin America is one of the most active regions in the world in the field of open data, with a number of growing national and city-based organisations, a strong community and very creative ideas. We hope this contribution will keep the movement growing by exploring relevant challenges for an Open Latin America that will lead to new forms of innovation and strengthen relationships between citizens and their governments.

See announcement in Spanish on ILDA blog: http://idatosabiertos.org/dia-de-los-datos-abiertos-pequenos-apoyos/

 

Introducing Viderum

Open Knowledge International - February 15, 2016 in Featured, News, open knowledge

Ten years ago, Rufus started CKAN as an “apt-get for data” in order to enable governments and corporations to provide their data as truly open data. Today, CKAN is used by countless open data publishers around the globe and has become the de facto standard.

With CKAN as the technical foundation, Open Knowledge has offered commercial services to governments and public institutions within its so-called Services division for many years. Some of the most prominent open data portals around the world have been launched by the team, including data.gov, data.gov.uk, publicdata.eu, data.glasgow.gov.uk, and—most recently—opendatani.gov.uk.

Today, we’re spinning off this division into its own company: Viderum.

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We’re doing this because we want to lend a stronger focus on further development and promotion of these services without distracting Open Knowledge’s core mission as an advocate for openness and transparency. We’ve also heard from our customers that they are asking for a commercial-grade service offering that is best realized in an organization dedicated to that end.

Viderum’s mission will be simple: to make the world’s public data discoverable and accessible to everyone. They will provide services and products to further expand the reach of open data around the world.

Says CEO of Viderum Sebastian Moleski:

I’m personally very excited about this opportunity to bring open data publishing to the next level. In all reality, the open data revolution has only just begun. As it moves further, it is imperative to build on core principles of openness and interoperability. When it comes to open data, there is no good reason to use closed, proprietary, and expensive solutions that tie governments and public institutions to particular vendors. Viderum will help prove that point again and again.”

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.45.19 PMAs a first step in fulfilling their mission, Viderum is offering a cloud-based, multi-tenant solution to host CKAN that has been live since mid-November. This allows anyone to get their own CKAN instance and publish data without the hassle, cost, and learning curve involved in setting one up individually. By lowering technological barriers, we believe there are now even more reasons for governments, institutions, and local authorities to publish open data for everyone’s use.

Viderum have set up an office in Berlin and are currently hiring developers! If you know anyone who’s passionate about building software and the infrastructure for open data around the world, please pass the link along to them.

To find out more about Viderum, check out their website, read the FAQ or contact the team at hello@viderum.com.

 

Google Funds Frictionless Data Initiative at Open Knowledge

Open Knowledge International - February 1, 2016 in News, open knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation

We are delighted to announce that Open Knowledge has received funding from Google to work on tool integration for Data Packages as part of our broader work on Frictionless Data to support the open data community.

 

What are Data Packages?

The funding will support a growing set of tooling around Data Packages.  Data Packages provide functionality for data similar to “packaging” in software and “containerization” in shipping: a simple wrapper and basic structure for the transportation of data that significantly reduces the “friction” and challenges associated with data sharing and integration.

Data Packages also support better automation in data processing and do so without imposing major changes on the underlying data being packaged.  As an example, comprehensive country codes is a Data Package which joins together standardized country information from various sources into a single CSV file. The Data Package format, at its simplest level, allows its creator to provide information describing the fields, license, and maintainer of the dataset, all in a machine-readable format.

In addition to the basic Data Package format –which supports any data structure– there are other, more specialised Data Package formats: Tabular Data Package for tabular data and based on CSV, Geo Data Package for geodata based on GeoJSON. You can also extend Data Package with your own schemas and create topic-specific Data Packages like Fiscal Data Package for public financial data.  Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.57.44 AM

What will be funded?

The funding supports adding Data Package integration and support to CKAN, BigQuery, and popular open-source SQL relational databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL / MariaDB.

CKAN Integration

CKAN is an open source data management system that is used by many governments and civic organizations to streamline publishing, sharing, finding and using data. This project implements a CKAN extension so that all CKAN datasets are automatically available as Data Packages through the CKAN API. In addition, the extension ensures that the CKAN API natively accepts Tabular Data Package metadata and preserves this information on round-tripping.

BigQuery Integration

This project also creates support for import and export of Tabular Data Packages to BigQuery, Google’s web service querying massive datasets. This involves scripting and a small online service to map Tabular Data Package to BigQuery data definitions. Because Tabular Data Packages already use CSV as the data format, this work focuses on the transformation of data definitions.

General SQL Integration

Finally, general SQL integration is being funded which would cover key open source databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL / MariaDB. This will allow data packages to be natively used in an even wider variety of software that depend on these databases than those listed above.

 

These integrations move us closer to a world of “frictionless data”. For more information about our vision, visit: http://data.okfn.org/.

If you have any questions, comments or would like more information, please visit this topic in our OKFN Discuss forum.

Data OKFN

 

Calling all Project Assistants: we need you!

Open Knowledge International - November 12, 2015 in Jobs, News

The mission of Open Knowledge International is to open up all essential public interest information and see it utilized to create insight that drives change. To this end we work to create a global movement for open knowledge, supporting a network of leaders and local groups around the world; we facilitate coordination and knowledge sharing within the movement; we build collaboration with other change-making organisations both within our space and outside; and, finally, we prototype and provide a home for pioneering products.

A decade after its foundation, Open Knowledge International is ready for its next phase of development. We started as an organisation that led the quest for the opening up of existing data sets – and in today’s world most of the big data portals run on CKAN, an open source software product developed first by us.

Today, it is not only about opening up of data; it is making sure that this data is usable, useful and – most importantly – used, to improve people’s lives. Our current projects (OpenSpending, OpenTrials, School of Data, and many more) all aim towards giving people access to data, the knowledge to understand it, and the power to use it in our everyday lives.

Now, we are looking for an enthusiastic

Project Assistant

(flexible location, part time)

to join the team to help deliver our projects around the world. We are seeking people who care about openness and have the commitment to make it happen.

We do not require applicants to have experience of project management – instead, we would like to work with motivated self-starters, able to demonstrate engagement with initiatives within the open movement. If you have excellent written and verbal communication skills, are highly organised and efficient with strong administration and analytical abilities, are interested in how projects are managed and are willing to learn, we want to hear from you.

The role includes the following responsibilities:

  • Monitoring and reporting of ongoing work progress to Project Managers and on occasion to other stakeholders
  • Research and investigation
  • Coordination of, and communication with, the project team, wider organisation, volunteers and stakeholders
  • Documentation, including creating presentations, document control, proof-reading, archiving, distributing and collecting
  • Meeting and event organisation, including scheduling, booking, preparing documents, minuting, and arranging travel and accommodation where needed
  • Project communication and promotion, including by email, blog, social media, networking online and in person
  • Liaising with staff across the organisation to offer and for support, eg public communication and finance

Projects you may be involved with include Open Data for Development, OpenTrials and OpenSpending, as well as new projects in future.

This role requires someone who can be flexible and comfortable with remote working, able to operate in a professional environment and participate in grassroots activities. Experience working as and with volunteers is advantageous.

You are comfortable working with people from different cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds. You are happy to share your knowledge with others, and you find working in transparent and highly visible environments interesting and fun.

Personally, you have a demonstrated commitment to working collaboratively, with respect and a focus on results over credit.

The position reports to the Project Manager and will work closely with other members of the project delivery team.

The role is part-time at 20 hours per week, paid by the hour. You will be compensated with a market salary, in line with the parameters of a non-profit-organisation.

This would particularly suit recent graduates who have studied a complementary subject to Open Knowledge International, looking for some experience in the workplace.

Successful applicants must have excellent English language skills in both speaking and writing.

You can work from home, with flexibility offered and required. Some flexibility around work hours is useful, and there may be some (infrequent) international travel required.

We offer employment contracts for residents of the UK with valid permits, and services contracts to overseas residents.

Interested? Then send us a motivational letter and a one page CV via https://okfn.org/about/jobs/. Please indicate your current country of residence, as well as your salary expectations (in GBP) and your earliest availability.

Early application is encouraged, as we are looking to fill the positions as soon as possible. These vacancies will close when we find a suitable candidate.

If you have any questions, please direct them to jobs [at] okfn.org.

Introducing Portfolios, hiring Managers

Open Knowledge International - October 29, 2015 in Featured, Jobs, News

The mission of Open Knowledge International is to open up all essential public interest information and see it utilized to create insight that drives change. To this end we work to create a global movement for open knowledge, supporting a network of leaders and local groups around the world; we facilitate coordination and knowledge sharing within the movement; we build collaboration with other change-making organisations both within our space and outside; and, finally, we prototype and provide a home for pioneering products.

A decade after its foundation, Open Knowledge International is ready for its next phase of development. We started as an organisation that led the quest for the opening up of existing data sets – and in today’s world most of the big data portals run on CKAN, an open source software product developed first by us.

Today, it is not only about opening up of data; it is making sure that this data is usable, useful and – most importantly – used, to improve people’s lives. Our current projects (OpenSpending, OpenTrials, School of Data, and many more) all aim towards giving people access to data, the knowledge to understand it, and the power to use it in our everyday lives.

Portfolios at Open Knowledge International

At Open Knowledge International, we are creating a new organisational structure that will help us to grow into our next phase of development. This will better enable us to support new and existing open knowledge initiatives to help people to improve their lives and the societies that they live in.

We are excited to be hiring for the roles of three Portfolio Managers, who will each lead a portfolio of products in a different stage of development:

  • In the portfolio Planting the Seeds we focus on developing prototypes and early-stage products. When a new approach to the use of data can be tested, or the application of open data in a new field becomes more relevant, this is where we trial whether our ideas are sound and are able to generate wider traction. This portfolio is closely connected to our cutting-edge research work;
  • The Growing the Trees portfolio focuses on those products that have proven to be viable and deserve broader investment to really affect change through innovative applications of open data. Examples might include initiatives such as our OpenTrials project developed with Ben Goldacre. We build these initiatives into platforms that shape the world. All of our products here are collaborative in nature, and we seek to develop partnerships with other organisations and stakeholders who share our interest in using data to improve the world;
  • When products have sufficient traction from other organisations and communities they move onto the third portfolio, Harvesting the Fruits. In this portfolio we focus on a mature governance structure of the products that involve high-level buy-in from other key organisations. We seek to sustain the products together with those stakeholders and the focus is on building lasting partnerships, while ensuring that new innovative ideas can be generated from those mature products.

For each of these portfolios we are looking for an enthusiastic and passionate

Portfolio Manager

(flexible location, full time)

As a Portfolio Manager, we expect you to lead the strategic development of the portfolio, as well as monitoring and reporting progress on the portfolio. You will function as a product manager for existing and new products. You will develop and manage the budget of your portfolio, and will be responsible for staffing all projects together with project managers. You will collaborate closely with the other Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Director, and support the CEO in fundraising. You understand how open licenses in software, content and data enable collaborative innovation and have demonstrable experience in these.

While these qualifications are similar for all the Portfolio Managers, we define specific profiles for each Portfolio Manager which matches the stage of development of the products within each portfolio. Please have a read through our role descriptions below and have a think whether you are the kind of person that would thrive in an innovative, very dynamic environment; whether you excel more when executing on a few key initiatives, and really want to build those into highly successful products; or whether you are a better fit building lasting partnerships and coalitions around products that have demonstrated their value to the world.

Portfolio Manager Planting the Seeds

  • You are excited by the opportunities that new technology and the availability of data present, to help citizens and civil society organisations to shape the world around us – which could include, for example, social, democratic and environmental impacts
  • You thrive on developing new concepts and ideas, and know what to do to develop those into early-stage products
  • You know how to evaluate early-stage products over a period of 6-12 months, and how to develop clear metrics of success
  • You understand how innovative projects are successfully executed and are not afraid to make tough decisions to cease activity
  • You have practical and hands-on experience of working in an innovative tech-related environment, for example in a ‘lab’ or incubator
  • You are able to handle multiple projects at the same time and have demonstrable skills in leading multiple teams

Portfolio Manager Growing the Trees

  • You relish the opportunity to develop and oversee a portfolio of products that are built on data and can change the world
  • You understand the opportunity that data, through online technology, offers to impact our lives
  • You know how to build a sustainable open source software product, including how to build a sustainable network of contributors and stakeholders who take an active role in developing the product
  • You can move a product out of prototype and roll it into multiple markets at the same time. For this, you use proven marketing techniques and you have the ability to tweak products according to customer and market needs
  • You know how to work with Theories of Change and how to apply them to products’ development cycles to achieve the maximum value
  • You know how to build partnerships around products and develop them into mature collaborative initiatives

Portfolio Manager Harvesting the Fruits

  • You are a coalition builder who excels in fostering long-lasting partnerships with demonstrable value and impact
  • You naturally develop products and partnerships into sustainable networks, and would know how to represent and coordinate with Open Knowledge International as one partner amongst others
  • You support networks and partners in sharing responsibility for products, moving from full ownership by Open Knowledge International to collaboration and collective ownership
  • You consider future sustainability for products, developing – together with networks – a roadmap for future roll-outs
  • You are invested in partnerships and know how to work with diverse communities, including with volunteers
  • You are enthusiastic about open knowledge, and would be able to represent Open Knowledge International in diverse networks and projects

Personally, you have a demonstrated commitment to working collaboratively, with respect and a focus on results over credit.

You are comfortable working with people from different cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds. You are happy to share your knowledge with others, and you find working in transparent and highly visible environments interesting and fun.

Instead of your formal education, we believe that your track record over the last 5 years speaks clearly of your abilities. You communicate in English like a native speaker.

We demand a lot, but we offer a great opportunity as well: together with the other two Portfolio Managers and the Portfolio Director, this Portfolio Manager leads the strategic focus of Open Knowledge International. You will be at the heart of the development of projects and products, able to make a huge impact and shape our future.

We also encourage people who are looking to re-enter the workplace to apply, and are willing to adjust working hours to suit.

You should be based somewhere in between the time zones UTC -1 to +3. You can work from home, with flexibility offered and required. You will be compensated with a market salary, in line with the parameters of a non-profit-organisation.

Interested? Then send us a motivational letter and a one page CV via https://okfn.org/about/jobs/. Please indicate your current country of residence, as well as your salary expectations (in GBP) and your earliest availability.

Early application is encouraged, as we are looking to fill the positions as soon as possible. These vacancies will close when we find a suitable candidate.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Naomi Lillie, via naomi.lillie [at] okfn.org.

Open Knowledge appoints Pavel Richter as new CEO

Rufus Pollock - April 29, 2015 in Featured, News, open knowledge, Open Knowledge Foundation, Press

I am delighted to announce we have found the newest member of the Open Knowledge team: Pavel Richter joins us as our new CEO!

Pavel Richter

Pavel’s appointment marks a new chapter in the development of Open Knowledge, which, over the last ten years, has grown into one of the leading global organisations working on open data and open knowledge in government, research, and culture.

Pavel has a rich and varied background including extensive time both in business and in the non-profit sector. In particular, Pavel brings his experience from over five years as the Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland: under his leadership, it grew to more than 70 staff, an annual budget of nearly 5 million Euros, and initiated major new projects such as Wikidata. Pavel’s engagement follows an extensive international search, led by a team including members of the Board of Directors as well as a Community Representative.

Personally, I am delighted and excited to welcome Pavel as CEO. This appointment represents an important step in the development of Open Knowledge as an organisation and community. Over the last decade, and especially in the last five years, we have achieved an immense amount.

Going forward one of our most important opportunities – and challenges – will be to forge and catalyse a truly global movement to put openness at the heart of the information age. Pavel’s experience, insight and passion make him more than equal to this task and I am thrilled to be able to work with him, and support him, as he takes on this role.

Thank You to Our Outgoing CEO

Rufus Pollock - December 18, 2014 in News

This is a joint blog post by Open Knowledge CEO Laura James and Open Knowledge Founder and President Rufus Pollock.

In September we announced that Laura James, our CEO, is moving on from Open Knowledge and we are hiring a new Executive Director.

From Rufus: I want to express my deep appreciation for everything that Laura has done. She has made an immense contribution to Open Knowledge over the last 3 years and has been central to all we have achieved. As a leader, she has helped take us through a period of incredible growth and change and I wish her every success on her future endeavours. I am delighted that Laura will be continuing to advise and support Open Knowledge, including joining our Advisory Council. I am deeply thankful for everything she has done to support both Open Knowledge and me personally during her time with us.

From Laura: It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with and support Open Knowledge, and to have the opportunity to work with so many brilliant people and amazing projects around the world. It’s bittersweet to be moving on from such a wonderful organisation, but I know that I am leaving it in great hands, with a smart and dedicated management team and a new leader joining shortly. Open Knowledge will continue to develop and thrive as the catalyst at the heart of the global movement around freeing data and information, ensuring knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

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