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The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, April 2014

Theodora Middleton - April 2, 2014 in Featured, Newsletter


After last month’s launch-fest, March has been a thoughtful month, with reflective and planning pieces taking centre-stage on our blog. Of course OKFestival has been ramping up since its launch, giving more detail on topics and running sessions to help with submitting proposals; however we’ve also had more from the Community Survey results, as well as guest posts dealing with ‘open washing’ and exploring what open data means to different people.

Keep checking in on the Community Stories Tumblr for the latest news on what people are doing around the world to push the agenda for Open Knowledge. This month’s updates come from India, Tanzania, Greece, Malta, Russia and Germany, and from OpenMENA (Middle East and North Africa) – the new group focusing on Open Knowledge in the Arab world.

Also, congratulations to our very own Rufus Pollock, named a Tech Hero for Good by NESTA :-)

OKFestival 2014

Plans have been moving at pace over the last month.

So many proposals came in, and so many people wanted more time to submit, we extended the deadline for proposals to March 30th. We’ll have to wait until May to learn if our proposals have been accepted, and later in May for the programme announcement, but many thanks to all who have proposed sessions – and good luck to you!

It’s not long to go now, so don’t forget to buy your ticket

If you need distraction from the wait, check out this flash-back to last year: the 2013 Open Reader, a collection of stories and articles inspired by Open Knowledge Conference 2013.

Stop Secret Contracts

Last month we launched our campaign for a stop to secret contracts, asking various organisations to partner with us and asking you who care about openness to sign up to show your support.

Spread the word to your colleagues, friends and family to show that we will not stand for corruption, fraud, unaccountability or backdoor deals.

Signatures not enough? To get more involved please contact us and help us stop secret contracts.


Coming Up

Easter Eggs 1

The School of Data heads to Perugia! Europe’s Biggest Data Journalism Event, from The European Journalism Centre, Open Knowledge and the International Journalism Festival, the School of Data Journalism takes place 30th April to 4th May. This event has an impressive programme with free entry to panel and workshops so check it out and register to save your place.

OGP grows to 62 countries. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) will welcome 8 new countries during April: ‘Cohort 4’ consists of Australia, Ireland, Malawi, Mongolia, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Serbia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

And… Time-zone changes! It messes with schedules and deadlines, but adds to the fun of this time of year.

All the best from Open Knowledge!

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, March 2014

Theodora Middleton - March 3, 2014 in Newsletter

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What a month! February may be the shortest month (at least, for those using the Gregorian calendar), but we’ve sure made the most of it. It seems to be the month of “the launch”: the campaign to Stop Secret Contracts; OKFestival’s website, ticket sales and Call for Proposals; Open Data Day 2014; Brazil and Spain as the two newest Chapters; a revamped Public Domain Review; a local City Census to complement the Country Census and resulting Index; and the Impact Stories competition for the Partnership for Open Data! Also, Open Knowledge Central published the results of the Community Survey taken at the end of the 2013 (huge thanks to all of you who contributed) and we’re digesting to learn how we can support the amazing Open communities better.

February is also known for St Valentine’s Day… If you are craving some romance in March, have a look at the ‘little book of love’, celebrated by the Public Domain Review.

Like the sound of what we’re doing? The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation – all our community services are provided openly and for free. We rely on the generosity of our institutional and individual supporters. Please visit to find out more about becoming an Open Knowledge Foundation supporter.

OKFestival 2014 launched

We’re very excited to announce the Open Knowledge Festival 2014! This global, inclusive, and participatory event is taking place July 15th – 17th in Berlin, Germany.

With the main themes of Knowledge, Tools and Society – the three main levers of change – this will be a platform for the change Open Knowledge is making around the world. As for what the content will be, that is up to you! This will be a crowd-sourced event, built by the community. Visit to see what sort of proposals we are looking for.

Early bird tickets are now available – get yours at

Stop Secret Contracts

This month saw the launch of our new global campaign, Stop Secret Contracts. Together with over 30 civil society groups around the world, we are calling on world leaders to end secrecy in contracting.

Millions of dollars of public money are lost every year to fraud, corruption and lining the pockets of unaccountable corporations. Citizens have the right to know who is doing business with their governments and on what terms. Transparency in government contracting is crucial to democracy.

Sign up to the campaign to Stop Secret Contracts now.

Open Data Day 2014

This year’s Open Data Day was the biggest yet, with over 190 events taking place around the world. The global network gathered in person and remotely, with events from Nepal to Egypt, looking at everything from local government spending, to flood data, to mashing up public domain content into cool videos.

Lots of stories are reported on the Open Knowledge Foundation Community Stories Tumblr, and there’s a round up post on the blog.

We are proud to support Open Data Day, which has fast become a key date in the information activist calendar. The diversity of events produced across the world is a fantastic expression of the vibrant international movement which is building for open data.

New Chapters welcomed

The Open Knowledge ‘official’ network continues to grow, welcoming both Brazil and Spain as Chapters. They join Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Spain and Switzerland as the group of organisations under the umbrella of Open Knowledge Foundation, making a real difference for Open Data and Open Knowledge in their areas and world-wide.

You can read more about the formalisation of Spain and Brazil, as well as what a Chapter is and how to become one, on our blog and Local Groups pages.

Impact Stories

How does Open Data and Open Knowledge affect you? This month, Partnership for Open Data launched the Impact Stories Competition.

Prizes are available – 1000 USD for the winner, and 500 USD each for the two runners-up – submit your story now (before the 24th March) to be in with a chance of winning.

Check out the blog post and website for more details, and share your stories with us.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, February 2014

Naomi Lillie - February 3, 2014 in Newsletter

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One month into 2014, there’s plenty going on around the Open Knowledge Foundation, including lots of activity for Copyright Week mid-January as well as preparation for Open Data Day towards the end of February.

As ever, the global Open Knowledge Foundation network has been busy, including Bangladesh supporting the regional Math Olympiad, Nepal celbrating Education Freedom Day, and Scotland collaborating with other organisations to create Datafest Scotland 2014 – see for yourself what the various communities have been up to at the Community Stories Tumblr, and do add your own stories!

So here’s your monthly digest: grab a cuppa, put your feet up and settle back for a coffee-break celebration of all things Open.

Open Knowledge Foundation Germany rejects cease and desist order in the cause of Open

fragdenstaat Say you use the Freedom Of Information (FOI) process to access some information. You decide to use, an FOI portal, as it will publish the results, which makes sense as anyone else could access this if they also submitted an FOI. You wouldn’t expect to be prohibited from publishing the requested information freely, and certainly not because of copyright, a tool created to defend the creative works of artists and authors for their own livelihood… Right? Wrong!

A cease and desist order has been issued to Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, the of, for publishing a document received under the German federal FOI law. The German Federal Ministry of the Interior claims copyright as the reason for this order, and is refusing to comply, standing “against this blatant misuse of copyright” and “looking forward to a court decision that will strengthen freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of information rights in Germany” (in the words of Stefan Wehrmeyer in his blog post).

Want to help?

  • Help support the court case by donating at or through you bank (using these details – Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland e.V /IBAN: DE89830944950003009670 /BIC: GENO DE F1 ETK)
  • Tell the EU to fix copyright (see article mentioned below for more details on this public consultation)

For full information refer to the campaign site.

Open Copyright Week 2014

New Licenses approved as Open

Copyright Infringement

Big news preceeding Copyright Week was that Creative Commons 4.0 BY and BY-SA licenses were approved conformant with the Open Definition. The Open Definition, one of the first projects of the Open Knowledge Foundation, is the reference-point for understanding what Open is and how you can determine whether something is Open or not. Being able to release data and information openly is one of the most important steps in making Open the norm – thanks, Creative Commons!

Want to have your say in what licenses are needed and should be reviewed and approved? Join the Open Definition Discuss email list.

Fix EU Copyright!

This was the cry during Copyright Week, encouraging input to the public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. Creativity for Copyright and volunteer coders put together an online version of the paper document (attention EU: bringing us right into the 21st Century, only 14 years in) at to create a multilingual form for easy submission. You still have a few days to contribute (deadline is 5th Feb) so if you haven’t done so already, get your opinion heard.

For more background on copyright and Open Access, have a read of this article by the Open Access Working Group, and the work on Public Domain Calculators by the Public Domain and OpenGLAM Working Groups along with OKF-France.

Who is the Open Spending Data Community?

This question was answered through an in-depth mapping project, investigating how citizens, journalists, and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) around the world use government finance data to further their civic missions. The results – well, we won’t give spoilers here, you’ll just have to read for yourself and see if you feature!

To set the scene, check out this video series, “Athens to Berlin”, in which various members of CSOs reflect on their work in this area and look ahead to future opportunities.

Coming Up:

Open Data Day is coming… In preparation for February 22nd’s big event, the cry to participate went up, spearheaded by the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Events Manager, Beatrice Martini. The Hangout, held on the 21st January, was hosted by Beatrice, Heather Leson and the founder of Open Data Day, David Eaves. This gave the history of the event, tips and advice on planning events (following up on this article from December), and a Q&A session. Sorry you missed it? Join the mailing list to know more and get planning. Already planning? Add your event to the website.

Watch this space for news about the one-and-only OKFestival, coming very soon!

Copyright infringement cartoon by Hartboy

Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, December 2013

Elaine Shaughnessy - December 2, 2013 in Newsletter, Uncategorized

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Hello and welcome to our latest news update on what is happening in and around the Open Knowledge Foundation. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we are reflecting on the open movement over the last decade and planning for the opportunities and challenges ahead. We are asking all of you what you think and to contribute to our community-wide survey to help us shape our future. Planning has also started for OKFestival in Berlin and now is the time to be thinking about how you would like to participate and what ideas, projects and contributions you can make to create an amazing event.

For the most up-to-the-minute info on all things Open, follow us on Twitter and on the blog.

And read our monthly Global community stories for more news – two this month: stories from Greece, Bangladesh, Argentina and Canada and Ireland and Germany.


Community Survey – share your thoughts!

What does Open Knowledge mean to you? Why are you involved? We are excited to be running our first survey to find out what you think. Help us shape the future of the Open Knowledge Foundation – we value your input. There are 24 questions and it will take approximately 10 minutes of your time. Deadline for responses is December 14, 2013 17:00 GMT. If you would like to know more, read our blogpost. We will share the results and follow-up actions in January 2014. Thank you.

OK Festival _crop

OKFestival 2014, 15-18 July, Berlin – get involved!

The Open Knowledge Festival will gather open-powered communities, projects and individuals, both experienced and newcomers, from all around the world. Now is the time to get ready and we invite you to start meeting up, in person and online to think about what amazing projects and ideas you would like to participate in, and what contributions you can make. A new website will be ready soon and we will shortly call for proposals to shape the agenda together. More information is on our blog. Follow @OKFestival, share ideas and questions using the hashtag #OKFestival or write to us, and sign up for the festival newsletter for all upcoming OKFestival news. Get meeting, sharing and making!


Making news

We have signed a MoU with the BBC, a great step for openness. The first joint initiative will be with Wikimedia in January to coordinate the first ever “speakerthon”. Using the BBC’s vast radio archive, participants will tag and select snippets of notable individuals’ voices in order to upload them to Wikipedia articles as open content. More information.

The Open Knowledge Foundation has also joined more than 30 civil society organisations to sign an open letter urging for greater transparency around the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. It calls for an equal level of participation for policy makers, civil society, and members of the public with that of industry representatives.

We congratulate **Rufus Pollock for being elected an Ashoka Fellow** “the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs – men and women with system changing solutions for the world’s most urgent social problems.” Rufus says that he is “honoured to accept the fellowship, but what is really exciting is seeing the work of the Open Knowledge Foundation on open data and open knowledge being recognised as a key aspect in driving positive social change in the twenty-first century”.

Spending Stories is officially launched! This new app helps citizens and journalists understand and compare financial data from news stories. If you would like to know more about the project, get in touch.

A new partnership has been announced between the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and the Open Knowledge Foundation France to map the Public Domain in France. The Guardian has called the Public Domain Review a ‘model of digital curation’ which showcases ‘the best and quirkiest texts, images and films the internet has to offer’. Check out the new PDR store with a selection of beautiful prints, t-shirts and other great gifts.

Crisis mappers NairobiBZay_O6IUAANCJq.jpg large

Making a difference

What does open data / open knowledge have to do with crisis mapping? Crowd-sourced digital maps created by online volunteers worldwide are powerful tools in humanitarian relief work. Volunteers worked 24/7 when Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) hit the Philippines. At the International Conference of Crisis Mappers (ICCM) in Nairobi, Kenya, the School of Data hosted a full day pre-conference training session as part of the mentorship programme. To learn more read the blog report.

Our “Follow the Money” website was launched at the Open Government Partnership Summit and you can read about it and also follow the livestreamed panel discussion. If you are interested in using information about public money to hold decision-makers to account, then we hope you’ll join us and sign up.

The recent event which brought together a group of open education enthusiasts has resulted in the building of an Open Education Timeline. The timeline has now been ‘put online’ using TimeMapper and we need your help to ensure that includes all the most important dates and consists of good quality data! We’d like to make it the the most comprehensive Open Education Timeline to date! If you are interested in contributing then take a look at our post.

Enter the LinkedUp “Vidi” Competition, the second second competition in the LinkedUp Challenge. We’re inviting you to design and build innovative and robust prototypes that use open data for educational purposes. There are prizes to be won and we can offer support. Find out more on the LinkedUp Challenge website.

Coming up

  • Open Knowledge Foundation India is celebrating December as open knowledge month! If you’re in the area, join them.
  • Learn how opening data can transform society and how to do it, at a one-day introductory course on Friday, 6 December in London – there are a few places left.
  • Join the School of Data online Data Expedition to investigate the Nigerian extractives industry on December 7 with OpenOil. There is still time time to register.

Images: symbol by Natalie Swencki, CC-BY; OKFestival CC-BY; School of Data session at ihub for ICCM, CC-BY.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, November 2013

Theodora Middleton - November 4, 2013 in Newsletter

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We hope your month has been swell! Thanks for tuning in to this month’s Open Knowledge Foundation update – read on to find out about some of the ways we’re making progress towards a more open world. This month’s highlights include key developments in financial transparency, the launch of the Open Data Index, and the addition of new Working Groups on some key topics – all seeking to empower ordinary people through access to knowledge.

For the most up-to-the-minute info on all things Open, follow us on Twitter and on the blog.

Follow the Money

It’s been an exciting month for financial transparency. First and foremost came the resounding success of our joint push together with organisations including Global Witness and Open Corporates to get the UK government to create an open registry of the real owners of companies. Secrecy on beneficial ownership has underpinned a flourishing shadow-economy in money laundering and tax dodging, so Cameron’s commitment to open this data is a very important milestone in global accountability of corporations.

On the same day, we launched our “Follow the Money” website, which will be a hub for the emerging Follow the Money network. We want to help citizens around the world hold decision-makers to account, and make sure that public money is spent for the public good. To find out more about Follow the Money, check out this fact sheet, and sign up on the website.

Open Government

With the Open Government Partnership show in London town, it was bound to be a busy month in open government, and we had a great time catching up with quite a few of you at a whole load of super interesting events throughout the week.

The Open Data Index 2013 was released just before the main summit, providing the most comprehensive snapshot of open government to-date. The UK topped the charts, but even there crucial datasets including electoral results and postcode data are not fully open. The US, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands make up the top five, with Cyprus and St Kitts & Nevis filling the bottom slots from the countries surveyed. The Index aims to help advocates around the world encourage their governments to get more open – do let us know if it proves useful for you, or if there are changes you would like to see to make it a better tool!

The Global Open Data Initiative, our partnership with leading openness civil society organisations around the world, has released a Declaration on Open Data, an attempt to capture the open demands we want to make of our governments. It’s currently in its draft form because we want to know what you think! Have a read and send us your thoughts.

New Working Groups

We’d like to give a warm welcome to our three newest Working Groups – Lobbying Transparency, Open Legislation and Open Product Data!

The new Lobbying Transparency group is an international collaboration with our friends at the Sunlight Foundation, aiming to help citizens understand the influence of big money on their political system. Sign up here.

You may remember our earlier coverage of the very cool POD project to create an open database of product data – well the founder and creator, Phillippe Plagnol, has now donated the database to the Open Knowledge Foundation, and we’ve set up a new Open Product Data Working Group to build and develop it. We want to empower consumers to make real choices on issues they care about, like sustainability and social justice.

And finally, the Open Legislation Working Group is not strictly-speaking “new”, but we’re very excited about it’s relaunch at OKCon, and the slew of inspriring activity that the group has already thrown out on opening up laws. Check it out

Coming Up:

TOMORROW: Launch of the “Vidi” competition. This is the second of three competitions we’re organising as part of the LinkedUp Open Education project. Look out for the announcement very soon!

The Open Development Camp, organised by Open for Change, will take place on November 7th-8th in Amsterdam. We’ll be there – will you?

And on 22nd November, we’re co-organising a second Open Education booksprint in Berlin – come along to help shape the foundations of openness in education.

Images: Newspapers B&W by Jon S, CC-BY; pound sign, “Alliance Boots and the Tax Gap” report; Summit logo, Open Government Partnership, CC-BY; placard, OKFN, CC-BY; diary image, “Untitled by wakingphotolife”, CC-BY-NC-ND.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, October 2013

Theodora Middleton - October 7, 2013 in Newsletter

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Hello and welcome to this, your October newsletter. We hope you’ve been having an excellent month.

Make sure you check out this post, Defining Open Data – and look out for more in a similar vein over the next week or two. As our movement grows at breakneck speed, it’s really important that we’re all on the same page about our core principles, and that we know how to explain them to people coming to openness for the first time.

To help the growing number of people who need to understand open data in their work, we’ve just launched a new Open Data training programme, so do get in touch if this is you or your organisation! Or for a more informal approach, Data Expeditions at the School of Data offer engaging and inspiring routes to get comfy with data-crunching.

Open Government Partnership

This month, the Open Government Partnership is coming to London. There’s lots of exciting stuff going on, and the Open Knowledge Foundation will be attending in force and running interactive sessions (more details soon), as well as co-organising the Civil Society Day. The main event is on the 31st October and 1st November, and the Civil Society Day will be on the 30th at University London Union (where we ran the world’s first Open Government Data Camp almost exactly 3 years ago!). We’d also like to invite you to join us the night before it all kicks off to relax, enjoy some drinks. talk and hear about awesome initiatives in our community.

We’re especially thinking about two key projects at the moment. Follow the Money is our campaign, announced this month in partnership with the ONE campaign, to secure global financial transparency with open data. The campaign took its first steps at OKCon, and the OGP events will offer the chance for more people and groups to get involved.

And we’re really excited to be able to tell you the we will also be releasing the finalised results of our global Open Data Census 2013 during the week. The Census is an essential element of our mission to hold power to account. It has been an international collaborative effort from the grassroots to assess the open data achievements of governments so far, which will allow us all to make sure they stick to their promises.

OKCon 2013

OKCon and OKFestival

Of course the big news from the last month was the fantastic week that we spent in Geneva for OKCon 2013. Over 900 of you, from 55 countries, were able to join us for a packed programme of talks, workshops and network-building.

It was especially exciting to see the launch of the Swiss Open Data portal, achieved with the support of our event partners, the Open Knowledge Foundation Switzerland. It’s the perfect fit for a country with such a strong history of direct democracy, empowering citizens to create the world they want to live in. We were also really pleased to announce a new partnership between ourselves, the ODI and the World Bank to bring open data to the developing world. Stay tuned to learn more about what this will mean in practise and how you can support our work.

And in case you missed the announcement, we’re going to Berlin! Next year’s OKFestival will take place from the 15th to 18th July. This one will be a real community event, with a fully crowdsourced programme, so look out for the opportunity to get involved in making it happen.


Huge congrats going out to this month’s Open Knowledge heroes:

  • the Open Knowledge Foundation Ireland Local Group, who were officially launced at a CKAN hackathon in Dublin last week. Their website is live, and they’ve done a load of work towards launching which will be Ireland’s first national open data portal.
  • our new Panton fellows! Welcome to Rosie, Peter and Sam, who will be pushing the boundaries of openness in the sciences in the next year. Look out for them.
  • the winners of the LinkedUp open education awards, announced at OKCon: Polimedia, a tool to help analyse radio and media coverage of political debates; Globe-Town, a tool to explore the ‘intersections, tensions and trade-offs’ in sustainable development; and WeShare, a social annotation app for educational ICT tools.

Images: Newspapers B&W by Jon S, CC-BY; Open Government Data Camp by OKFN, CC-BY; OKCon 2013 by OKF DE, CC-BY; Gold star by Ruth Flickr, CC-BY-NC-ND

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, September 2013

Theodora Middleton - September 2, 2013 in Newsletter

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Howdy! And welcome to your monthly spotlight on the Open Knowledge Foundation. There’s a whole load of stuff coming up as always, with our community becoming ever more global and ever more active – find out some of it below. It’s just 2 weeks until we’ll all hang out in Geneva, so have a good fortnight and see you very soon!

Oh and here’s something fun for you: check out the new animated GIFs section on the Public Domain Review. It’s open to submissions – what can you make?

2 Weeks to OKCon!

That’s right – only two weeks left until we hit Geneva. The schedule has been finalised, the bursaries awarded, and the pizzas ordered in! (…okay, not the last one, but you get the picture…)

Thanks to its Geneva location, the year’s biggest open knowledge event is set to be a groundbreaking moment in open government and open development. It will bring together representatives from a wide range of UN agencies, as well as government bodies, with technology activist, civic entrepreneurs and data designers – a potent mix for effecting real change.

You can see a selection of our main speakers (more to come!) at a glance, and visit the OKCon website to discover more about what’s going to be happening. And if you haven’t got your tickets yet, there’s still a small number available – grab them quick!

We’re super excited to see you all – check out this video from our community to get you in the mood!


Governments around the world are currently pondering a key concern for global financial transparency: whether registries of beneficial company owners should be published as open data. Beneficial owners are the people who actually benefit from the operations of a company – as opposed to the sometimes irrelevant listed owners. This information is clearly of profound public interest, and its publication as open data is imperative in the fight for greater corporate accountability around the world.

Over the coming months we will be working with advocates and organisations internationally to ensure governments make the right decision on this crucial issue. Join the openspending list to find out how you can help the campaign.

Coming soon…

The Open Government Partnership Annual Conference is coming to London on the 31st October and the 1st November. We’re busy preparing for it, and especially for the one day civil society event which will precede the main conference, and which we’re helping organise. If you want to be there, pre-register now for updates as they happen.

The new round of Panton Fellowships have been awarded! We can’t reveal names yet, but keep your eyes on the blog for all the details of this year’s open science pioneers. We’re looking forward to seeing what they make of the legacy of last year’s fantastic Fellows.

Fancy being the curator of the School of Data Handbook? “Librarians” needed: We’ve been producing loads of material and publishing it via the blog – we need people to take them, librarian-style and pull them into the Data Wrangling Handbook and course pages. We’ll organise several librarian sprints over the next couple of months, so if you want to join the team to make the Handbook your baby, give us a shout on schoolofdata [at]

And from our Local Groups: the Irish Local Group are planning a hackathon on 28th September to work on a CKAN portal, amongst other things; in Indonesia on September 4th there’s going to be an open data meetup in Jakarta, with a special appearance from our founder Rufus Pollock; OKF Deutschland are hosting their first hack day for young people on the 7th and 8th September in Berlin; and in Argentina Friedrich Lindenberg will be joining the crew in Buenos Aires on 3rd September for an OpenSpending meetup! Phew – keep up with the international community on the global feed.

Open Economics

There are a few updates from the very cool Open Economics project, which aims to bring openness, transparency and open access to economics. This month they completed work on the Open Economics Principles, and since the launch have already received 178 signatures as well as one institutional endorsement from the World Bank’ Data Development Group. They’ve also recently built a prototype for the storage and search of econometric results, which they’re calling Metametrik. In a world of rapidly increasing data availability, Metametrik allows researchers to find relevant sets of papers based on a whole load of variables, including dependent variable, independent variable, model, controls, journal, year, authors, JEL codes and key words. Find out more here.

And as the Open Economics project comes to the end of its first phase, Velichka has shared the story so far on the blog – have a read for an inspiring example of the progress the can be made in a single domain of openness in a short space of time. What’s next?

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, July 2013

Theodora Middleton - July 1, 2013 in Newsletter

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It’s been a month for big announcements on openness, and we’ve been at the forefront as ever. The G8 summit in Northern Ireland catalysed a whole load of activity around open government data, and we want to make sure that words are translated into effective action. We’re especially interested at the moment in tax avoidance and in carbon emissions data. These are two globally important areas in which greater openness and transparency could make a real difference to creating a fairer future.

Of course we’re still doing tonnes of other stuff, with important activity in Open Science, Open Economics and Open GLAM reported below. And if you’d like to work at the Open Knowledge Foundation, check out this great opportunity to join us as a community manager!

If you think you could support the Open Knowledge Foundation with a regular or one-off donation, that would be fantastic – check out the supporters’ page for more details.

The G8 and the Open Data Census

As you will undoubtedly be aware if you take even a cursory interest in Open Government Data, this month was the G8 conference in Northern Ireland, and some important announcements were made. See our discussion of the Lough Erne Open Data Charter, which makes it clear that open data is crucial for governance and growth, and we were also really excited by the support from G8 Science ministers for open data in science.

It’s certainly a good time for open data in government, but we’re here to make sure that actions match words. That’s why we released a preview of the results of our Open Data Census, looking at how the G8 countries are doing. While there’s a lot of encouraging moves being made, we found that the G8 must work harder to open up essential data, and lead other world governments forward on the route to openness. While lots was said on tax avoidance and open data, for example, we are yet to see serious commitments for action in opening the relevant data to penetrate the secrecy of tax havens.

Work continues on completing the rest of the Open Data Census, so if you’d like to help with this crucial community-driven effort to hold our governments to their promises, get in touch.

Going Global

One initiative which we hope will help ensure that the voice of civil society is heard loud and clear in the corridors of power is the Global Open Data Initiative (GODI). We’re joining forces with the Sunlight Foundation, the Open Institute, Fundar, and the World Wide Web Foundation, to share principles and resources on how best to harness the opportunities created by open government data.

And the global reach of Open Knowledge has been massively augmented this month by two important linguistic developments: the launch of our global French-language community, and the launch of Escuela de Datos, the Spanish-language version of School of Data. We’re really excited to see how these pilot programmes go, and are looking forward to rolling them out in more languages.

Open CO2

We believe that carbon emissions data needs to be put at the heart of the global open data agenda. The Lough Erne declaration made a cursory mention of “pollution levels”, but discussion of carbon emissions data was conspicuous by its absence.

It was great to see open data included in President Obama’s new action plan on climate change, as part of the Climate Data Initiative. However we hope that while the emphasis was placed on using open data to prepare for climate change, the role of data in preventing climate change will also be recognised by the administration. Open data can be used to hold polluters to account, as well as improve resilience to the increase in natural disasters.

If you’d like to find out more about our efforts to open up the world’s carbon emissions data, you can follow #OpenCO2 on twitter, or sign up to the open-sustainability mailing list.

Some of our news

  • The second year of the Panton Fellowships is open for applications. Following on from the fantastic work of Ross Mounce and Sophie Kershaw last year, we are looking forward to working with more inspiring scientists in openness.

  • The Second International Open Economics Workshop took place on June 11-12 in Cambridge, MA. A wide range of super interesting speakers made the event a great success – look out for post-event details on the blog.

  • The first OpenGLAM Advisory Board has been appointed. The seven distinguished members include Dan Cohen, the founding executive director of the Digital Public Library of America, and Jill Cousins, the Executive Director of Europeana.

  • News from OKCon: the selected proposals have been announced! As well as the main conference days, on the 17th and 18th September, a pre-conference day on the 16th will host additional sessions and provide networking time, and the 19th September will see a whole host of satellite events taking place around the city. Get your tickets now!

Some of your news

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, June 2013

Theodora Middleton - June 3, 2013 in Newsletter

Sign up here to receive the monthly Open Knowledge Foundation newsletter by email.

How time flies! May 20th was our 9th birthday, and to mark the occasion we allowed ourselves a little reminiscent birthday post, looking back on how we’ve been doing. Thanks so much for all your lovely messages and birthday wishes!

And we couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present than this month’s exciting CKAN news (see below if you haven’t heard)! In amongst all the champagne corks, we’ve been doing a tonne of other stuff too – special mention this month to the School of Data, whose Data Expeditions are super-exciting, and to the ever-expanding network of Local and Working Groups in all their brilliance.

And as ever, if you think you could support the Open Knowledge Foundation with a one-off or a regular donation, that would be fantastic – check out the supporters’ page for more details.

CKAN comes of age

CKAN is one of our longest-standing projects at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and this month saw two momentous developments: the release of CKAN 2.0; and the relaunch of the U.S government’s world leading data portal,, with CKAN now at its core.

CKAN is an open source, open data management platform already used by data producers around the world, and these milestone are catapulting it to celebrity-status. The slick map-based searching is a favourite new feature, but there’s tonnes of other great stuff to play around with.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to get us here: in the words of Jeanne Holm from, “a splendid group of folks”!

Digging the Data

Some really interesting stuff has been going on in the School of Data, whose new series of Data Expeditions both topical and timely. Data Expeditions are are team-based experiments in learning the art of data storytelling, and are open to all. In the context of the tragic garment factory collapse at Rana Plaza in Dhaka, May’s Expedition started work on mapping the data on garment factories and clothing supply chains. Keep your eyes open for the results.

The next Expedition, on 6th June, is focusing on the sensitive topics of tax evasion and avoidance, and future Expeditions are planned to explore the relationship between our personal and global economic situations. Get involved!

Globally Local

The Open Knowledge Foundation Network – our international community of local initiatives and thematic working groups – is becoming ever more active as well as more global. OKF Nepal helped run this great event to encourage girls to get into ICT, while the Open Hardware Working Group have celebrated their first birthday with the launch of the first version of Principles for Open Design. We’re really happy to welcome the first waves of Open Knowledge Ambassadors to the Network too – it’s super-exciting to see the applications pouring in from all four corners of the world!

Check out this month’s updates from Working Groups and Local Groups on the blog, and maybe you’d like to figure out how you can help.

Other stuff we’ve done this month

Thoughts and comment

Lots of stuff to ponder this month at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Here’s a selection of thoughts in case you missed them:

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, May 2013

Theodora Middleton - May 7, 2013 in Newsletter

Heard of Big Data? How about #smalldata?

There’s been loads of buzz this month around #smalldata, and the need to prevent the centralisation of data-power in the hands of the few. Redistributing knowledge power is what we’re all about at the Open Knowledge Foundation, and this month’s launch of is doing just that – making it easier than ever for everyone to get their hands on the data and make it used and useable. Find out more below.

With OKFN:Local initiatives continuing to spring up across the globe, it seems like this vision is becoming a reality. Rhizomatic sharing of tools and skills are making it ever easier for data to be turned into the knowledge we need to build a more fair and sustainable world, from local to global. Keep up the inspiring work!

With so much going on, we’ve decided to make our updates to you a bit more frequent, so we’ll be sending out a newsletter once a month. You can sign up here to have it delivered straight to your inbox. And, of course, we remain a not-for-profit organisation, providing all our community services openly and for free. We rely on the generosity of our institutional and individual supporters. Please visit to find out more about how you can help.

Frictionless Data with

This month saw the very exciting launch of a project which has been quietly brewing for some time. Frictionless – makes it radically easier to get the data you want in the form that you need it. Its about creating an infrastructure so that we’re not re-doing each others’ work, through standards and simplification. We’ve started with some key datasets, curated, quality-checked and packaged, ready for use by you. It’s currently in alpha, and we’d love you to get involved in the discussion. Check out for more!

OKCon 2013

OKCon 2013 will take place in Geneva on the 17th and 18th September 2013. We are very excited to announce that our Call for Proposals has gone live today! We want to hear what you want to do at OKCon 2013 – and you’ve got until May 24th to tell us. The overarching theme of OKCon 2013 is Open data – Broad, Deep, Connected, and we’ve identified six thematic areas for our talks and workshops: Open Data, Government and Governance; Open Development and Sustainability; Open Science and Research; Open Culture; Technology, Tools and Business; Evidence and Stories. Get in touch now with your ideas!

Opening up the wisdom of crowds with

Remember our very cool micro-tasking tool, Pybossa? Well we’ve been hacking away on it for a while now, and it was very exciting this month to see the launch of Crowdcrafting, the Pybossa-powered open source platform for developing and sharing projects that need the help of thousands of volunteers. Launched in collaboration with the University of Geneva, the platform has already been used for all sorts of projects from mapping the impact of a typhoon through tweets, to classifying the orientation of magnetic molecules. Get involved!

Some stuff we’ve been up to

  • It’s so exciting to see the work of Open Knowledge Foundation groups around the world. From conferences and hackathons in Spain, to a new Icelandic CKAN, find out all the news in the Global Community round up. And while our Nepalese group held it’s first public event, OKF Greece completed its eighteen-month journey to full Chapter status!

  • The groundbreaking Panton Fellowships have come to an end. Find out what our Fellows have been doing to spread openness in the sciences over the last year.

  • The Public Domain Review has been Saved! After a heroic community fundraising effort, the Public Domain Review surpassed its $20,000 target, and can continue to bring us all joy.

  • The School of Data teamed up with P2PU to offer their inaugural Data Explorer Mission, this time looking at Carbon Data – like a Data Expedition but with a robot as your guide. You can still sign up with Mission Control for future Missions here.

  • And the Open Research Data Handbook is taking shape, but we want your case studies.

Comment and Thought

There’s been a lot of very interesting comment on the blog this month. In case you missed them, here are a couple that you need to know about:

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