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The Global Open Data Index 2014 is now live!

Open Knowledge - December 9, 2014 in Featured, Global Open Data Index

Skærmbillede 2014-12-09 kl. 17.36.32

The Global Open Data Index 2014 team is thrilled to announce that the Global Open Data Index 2014 is now live!

We would not have arrived here without the incredible support from our network and the wider open knowledge community in making sure that so many countries/places are represented in the Index and that the agenda for open data moves forward. We’re already seeing this tool being used for advocacy around the world, and hope that the full and published version will allow you to do the same!

How you can help us spread the news

You can embed a map for your country on your blog or website by following these instructions.

Press materials are available in 6 languages so far (English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and French), with more expected. If you want to share where you are please share a link to our press page. If you see any coverage of the Global Open Data Index, please submit them to us via this form so we can track coverage.

We are really grateful for everyone’s help in this great community effort!

Here are some of the results of the Global Open Data Index 2014

The Global Open Data Index ranks countries based on the availability and accessibility of information in ten key areas, including government spending, election results, transport timetables, and pollution levels.

The UK tops the 2014 Index retaining its pole position with an overall score of 96%, closely followed by Denmark and then France at number 3 up from 12th last year. Finland comes in 4th while Australia and New Zealand share the 5th place. Impressive results were seen from India at #10 (up from #27) and Latin American countries like Colombia and Uruguay who came in joint 12th .

Sierra Leone, Mali, Haiti and Guinea rank lowest of the countries assessed, but there are many countries where the governments are less open but that were not assessed because of lack of openness or a sufficiently engaged civil society.

Overall, whilst there is meaningful improvement in the number of open datasets (from 87 to 105), the percentage of open datasets across all the surveyed countries remained low at only 11%.

Even amongst the leaders on open government data there is still room for improvement: the US and Germany, for example, do not provide a consolidated, open register of corporations. There was also a disappointing degree of openness around the details of government spending with most countries either failing to provide information at all or limiting the information available – only two countries out of 97 (the UK and Greece) got full marks here. This is noteworthy as in a period of sluggish growth and continuing austerity in many countries, giving citizens and businesses free and open access to this sort of data would seem to be an effective means of saving money and improving government efficiency.

Explore the Global Open Data Index 2014 for yourself!

Competition now open – enter your app and win 5,000 euro

Guest - November 28, 2014 in Apps4Europe

This is a cross-post by Ivonne Jansen-Dings, originally published on the Apps4Europe blog, see the original here.

With 10 Business Lounges happening throughout Europe this year, Apps for Europe is trying to find the best open data applications and startups that Europe has to offer. We invite all developers, startups and companies that use open data as a recourse to join our competition and win a spot at the International Business Lounge @ Future Everything in February 2015.

Last year’s winner BikeCityGuide.org has shown the potential of using open data to enhance their company and expand their services. Since the international Business Lounge at Future Everything last year they were able to reach new cities and raise almost 140.000,- in crowdfunding. A true success story!
 
Over the past years many local, regional and national app competitions in Europe have been organized to stimulated developers and companies to build new applications with open data. Apps for Europe has taken it to the next level. By adding Business Lounges to local events we introduce the world of open data development to that of investors, accelerators, incubators and more.
 
Thijs Gitmans, Peak Capital: “The Business Lounge in Amsterdam had a professional and personal approach. I am invited to this kind of meetings often, and the trigger to actually go or cancel last minute 99% of the time has to do with proper, timely and personal communication.”
 
The Apps for Europe competitions will run from 1 September to 31 December 2014, with the final at Future Everything in Manchester, UK, on 26-27 February 2015.

Read more about Apps4Europe here.

Congratulations to the Panton Fellows 2013-2014

Jenny Molloy - November 26, 2014 in Panton Fellows

Samuel Moore, Rosie Graves and Peter Kraker are the 2013-2014 Open Knowledge Panton Fellows – tasked with experimenting, exploring and promoting open practises through their research over the last twelve months. They just posted their final reports so we’d like to heartily congratulate them on an excellent job and summarise their highlights for the Open Knowledge community.

Over the last two years the Panton Fellowships have supported five early career researchers to further the aims of the Panton Principles for Open Data in Science alongside their day to day research. The provision of additional funding goes some way towards this aim, but a key benefit of the programme is boosting the visibility of the Fellow’s work within the open community and introducing them to like-minded researchers and others within the Open Knowledge network.

On stage at the Open Science Panel Vienna (Photo by FWF/APA-Fotoservice/Thomas Preiss)

On stage at the Open Science Panel Vienna (Photo by FWF/APA-Fotoservice/Thomas Preiss)

Peter Kraker (full report) is a postdoctoral researcher at the Know-Centre in Graz and focused his fellowship work on two facets: open and transparent altmetrics and the promotion of open science in Austria and beyond. During his Felowship Peter released the open source visualization Head Start, which gives scholars an overview of a research field based on relational information derived from altmetrics. Head Start continues to grow in functionality, has been incorporated into Open Knowledge Labs and is soon to be made available on a dedicated website funded by the fellowship.

Peter’s ultimate goal is to have an environment where everybody can create their own maps based on open knowledge and share them with the world. You are encouraged to contribute! In addition Peter has been highly active promoting open science, open access, altmetrics and reproducibility in Austria and beyond through events, presentations and prolific blogging, resulting in some great discussions generated on social media. He has also produced a German summary of open science activities every month and is currently involved in kick-starting a German-speaking open science group through the Austrian and German Open Knowledge local groups.

Rosie with an air quality monitor

Rosie Graves (full report) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leicester and used her fellowship to develop an air quality sensing project in a primary school. This wasn’t always an easy ride, the sensor was successfully installed and an enthusiastic set of schoolhildren were on board, but a technical issue meant that data collection was cut short, so Rosie plans to resume in the New Year. Further collaborations on crowdsourcing and school involvement in atmospheric science were even more successful, including a pilot rain gauge measurement project and development of a cheap, open source air quality sensor which is sure to be of interest to other scientists around the Open Knowledge network and beyond. Rosie has enjoyed her Panton Fellowship year and was grateful for the support to pursue outreach and educational work:

“This fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to kick start a citizen science project … It also allowed me to attend conferences to discuss open data in air quality which received positive feedback from many colleagues.”

Samuel Moore (full report) is a doctoral researcher in the Centre for e-Research at King’s College London and successfully commissioned, crowdfunded and (nearly) published an open access book on open research data during his Panton Year: Issues in Open Research Data. The book is still in production but publication is due during November and we encourage everyone to take a look. This was a step towards addressing Sam’s assessment of the nascent state of open data in the humanities:

“The crucial thing now is to continue to reach out to the average researcher, highlighting the benefits that open data offers and ensuring that there is a stock of accessible resources offering practical advice to researchers on how to share their data.”

Another initiative Sam initiated during the fellowship was establishing the forthcoming Journal of Open Humanities Data with Ubiquity Press, which aims to incentivise data sharing through publication credit, which in turn makes data citable through usual academic paper citation practices. Ultimately the journal will help researchers share their data, recommending repositories and best practices in the field, and will also help them track the impact of their data through citations and altmetrics.

We believe it is vital to provide early career researchers with support to try new open approaches to scholarship and hope other organisations will take similar concrete steps to demonstrate the benefits and challenges of open science through positive action.

Finally, we’d like to thank the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) for their generosity in funding the 2013-14 Panton Fellowships.

This blog post a cross-post from the Open Science blog, see the original here.

The Public Domain Review brings out its first book

Adam Green - November 19, 2014 in Featured, Public Domain Review

Open Knowledge project The Public Domain Review is very proud to announce the launch of its very first book! Released through the newly born spin-off project the PDR Press, the book is a selection of weird and wonderful essays from the project’s first three years, and shall be (we hope) the first of an annual series showcasing in print form essays from the year gone by. Given that there’s three years to catch up on, the inaugural incarnation is a special bumper edition, coming in at a healthy 346 pages, and jam-packed with 146 illustrations, more than half of which are newly sourced especially for the book.

Spread across six themed chapters – Animals, Bodies, Words, Worlds, Encounters and Networks – there is a total of thirty-four essays from a stellar line up of contributors, including Jack Zipes, Frank Delaney, Colin Dickey, George Prochnik, Noga Arikha, and Julian Barnes.

What’s inside? Volcanoes, coffee, talking trees, pigs on trial, painted smiles, lost Edens, the social life of geometry, a cat called Jeoffry, lepidopterous spying, monkey-eating poets, imaginary museums, a woman pregnant with rabbits, an invented language drowning in umlauts, a disgruntled Proust, frustrated Flaubert… and much much more.

Order by 26th November to benefit from a special reduced price and delivery in time for Christmas.

If you are wanting to get the book in time for Christmas (and we do think it is a fine addition to any Christmas list!), then please make sure to order before midnight (PST) on 26th November. Orders place before this date will also benefit from a special reduced price!

Please visit the dedicated page on The Public Domain Review site to learn more and also buy the book!

The heartbeat of budget transparency

Tryggvi Björgvinsson - November 18, 2014 in Featured, Open Budget Survey Tracker

budget_heartbeat_1

Every two years the International Budget Partnership (IBP) runs a survey, called the Open Budget Survey, to evaluate formal oversight of budgets, how transparent governments are about their budgets and if there are opportunities to participate in the budget process. To easily measure and compare transparency among the countries surveyed, IBP created the Open Budget Index where the participating countries are scored and ranked using about two thirds of the questions from the Survey. The Open Budget Index has already established itself as an authoritative measurement of budget transparency, and is for example used as an eligibility criteria for the Open Government Partnership.

However, countries do not release budget information every two years; they should do so regularly, on multiple occasions in a given year. There is, however, as stated above a two year gap between the publication of consecutive Open Budget Survey results. This means that if citizens, civil society organisations (CSOs), media and others want to know how governments are performing in between Survey releases, they have to undertake extensive research themselves. It also means that if they want to pressure governments into releasing budget information and increase budget transparency before the next Open Budget Index, they can only point to ‘official’ data which can be up to two years old.

To combat this, IBP, together with Open Knowledge, have developed the Open Budget Survey Tracker (the OBS Tracker), http://obstracker.org,: an online, ongoing budget data monitoring tool, which is currently a pilot and covers 30 countries. The data are collected by researchers selected among the IBP’s extensive network of partner organisations, who regularly monitor budget information releases, and provide monthly reports. The information included in the OBS Tracker is not as comprehensive as the Survey, because the latter also looks at the content/comprehensiveness of budget information — not only the regularity of its publication. The OBS Tracker, however, does provide a good proxy of increasing or decreasing levels of budget transparency, measured by the release to (or witholding from) the public of key budget documents. This is valuable information for concerned citizens, CSOs and media.

With the Open Budget Survey Tracker, IBP has made it easier for citizens, civil society, media and others to monitor, in near real time (monthly), whether their central governments release information on how they plan to and how they spend the public’s money. The OBS Tracker allows them to highlight changes and facilitates civil society efforts to push for change when a key document has not been released at all, or not in a timely manner.

Niger and Kyrgyz Republic have improved the release of essential budget information after the latest Open Budget Index results, something which can be seen from the OBS Tracker without having to wait for the next Open Budget Survey release. This puts pressure on other countries to follow suit.

budget_heartbeat_2

The budget cycle is a complex process which involves creating and publishing specific documents at specific points in time. IBP covers the whole cycle, by monitoring in total eight documents which include everything from the proposed and approved budgets, to a citizen-friendly budget representation, to end-of-the-year financial reporting and the auditing from a country’s Supreme Audit Institution.

In each of the countries included in the OBS Tracker, IBP monitors all these eight documents showing how governments are doing in generating these documents and releasing them on time. Each document for each country is assigned a traffic light color code: Red means the document was not produced at all or published too late. Yellow means the document was only produced for internal use and not released to the general public. Green means the document is publicly available and was made available on time. The color codes help users quickly skim the status of the world as well as the status of a country they’re interested in.

budget_heartbeat_3

To make monitoring even easier, the OBS Tracker also provides more detailed information about each document for each country, a link to the country’s budget library and more importantly the historical evolution of the “availability status” for each country. The historical visualisation shows a snapshot of the key documents’ status for that country for each month. This helps users see if the country has made any improvements on a month-by-month basis, but also if it has made any improvements since the last Open Budget Survey.

Is your country being tracked by the OBS Tracker? How is it doing? If they are not releasing essential budget documents or not even producing them, start raising questions. If your country is improving or has a lot of green dots, be sure to congratulate the government; show them that their work is appreciated, and provide recommendations on what else can be done to promote openness. Whether you are a government official, a CSO member, a journalist or just a concerned citizen, OBS Tracker is a tool that can help you help your government.

Global Open Data Index: Week 13 -17 October

Mor Rubinstein - October 17, 2014 in Global Open Data Index

Skærmbillede 2014-10-17 kl. 12.02.12

This is your week-by-week update of progress on the Global Open Data Index 2014. You can check for the most recent country submissions here. We’re now welcoming your participation in sprints across all countries for the month of October, concluding with a ‘Global Madness’ sprint on 30 October.

We’re making great progress – thank you so much for participating.

We are looking for help with these countries – can you help?

Armenia, Australia, New Zealand, Croatia, Estonia, Botswana, Haiti Honduras, Japan, South Korea, Lithuania, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Tajikistan

Feel free to send in your tips, contacts, organisations for these countries that we can contact to Mor.Robinstein (a) okfn (dot) org

Next week (week beginning 20 October): Mor Rubinstein, Community Coordinator for the Global Open Data Index is offering office hours in regional time zones where she is available to answer your questions and talk you through how to contribute to the Index.

Office hours

  • Monday 20 Oct – 13:00-15:00 GMT / 15:00–19:00 CEST/ 16:00–20:00 EEST
  • Tuesday 21 Oct – 15:00-19:00 GMT / 10:00–14:00 EST
  • Wednesday 22 Oct – 8:00-12:00 GMT / 16:00–20:00 CST / 17:00–21:00 JST / 13:30–17:30 IST
  • Friday 23 Oct – 10:00-15:00 GMT / 12:00–17:00 EAT

Skype – mor.rubinstein , IRC : #OKFN irc.freenode.net, Twitter #openindex14

This Index is yours!

Heather Leson - October 9, 2014 in Community, Open Data, Open Data Census, Open Data Census, Open Data Index

How is your country doing with open data? You can make a difference in 5 easy steps to track 10 different datasets. Or, you can help us spread the word on how to contribute to the Open Data Index. This includes the very important translation of some key items into your local language. We’ll keep providing you week-by-week updates on the status of the community-driven project.

We’ve got a demo and some shareable slides to help you on your Index path.

Priority country help wanted

The amazing community provided content for over 70 countries last year. This year we set the bar higher with a goal of 100 countries. If you added details for your country last year, please be sure to add any updates this year. Also, we need some help. Are you from one of these countries? Do you have someone in your network who could potentially help? Please do put them in touch with the index team – index at okfn dot org.

DATASETS WANTED: Armenia, Bolivia, Georgia, Guyana, Haiti, Kosovo, Moldova, Morocco, Nicaragua, Ukraine, and Yemen.

Video: Demo and Tips for contributing to the Open Data Index

This is a 40 minute video with some details all about the Open Data Index, including a demo to show you how to add datasets.

Text: Tutorial on How to help build the Open Data Index

We would encourage you to download this, make changes (add country specific details), translate and share back. Please simply share on the Open Data Census Mailing List or Tweet us @okfn.

Thanks again for sharing widely!

Connect and Help Build the Global Open Data Index

Heather Leson - October 1, 2014 in Community, Events, Open Data Census, Open Data Index

Earlier this week we announced that October is the Global Open Data Index. Already people have added details about open data in Argentina, Colombia, and Chile! You can see all the collaborative work here in our change tracker. Each of you can make a difference to hold governments accountable for open data commitments plus create an easy way for civic technologies to analyze the state of open data around the world, hopefully with some shiny new data viz. Our goal at Open Knowledge is to help you shape the story of Open Data. We are hosting a number of community activities this month to help you learn and connect with each other. Most of all, it is our hope that you can help spread the word in your local language.

Open Data Index @ OkFest 14

Choose your own adventure for the Global Open Data Index

We’ve added a number of ways that you can get involved to the OKFN Wiki. But, here are some more ways to learn and share:

Community Sessions – Let’s Learn Together

Join the Open Knowledge Team and Open Data Index Mentors for a session all about the Global Open Data Index. It is our goal to show open data around the world. We need your help to add data from your region and reach new people to add details about their country.

We will share some best practices on finding and adding open dataset content to the Open Data Index. And, we’ll answer questions about the use of the Index. There are timeslots to help people connect globally.

These will be recorded. But, we encourage you to join us on G+ /youtube and bring your ideas/questions. Stay tuned as we may add more online sessions.

Community Office Hours

Searching for datasets and using the Global Open Data Index tool is all the better with a little help from mentors and fellow community members. If you are a mentor, it would be great if you could join us on a Community Session or host some local office hours. Simply add your name and schedule here.

Mailing Lists and Twitter

The Open Data Index mailing list is the main communication channel for folks who have questions or want to get in touch: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-data-census#sthash.HGagGu39.dpuf For twitter, keep an eye on updates via #openindex14

Translation Help

What better way to help others get involved than to share in your own language. We could use your help. We have some folks translating content into Spanish. Other priority languages are Yours!, Arabic, Portuguese, French and Swahili. Here are some ways to help translate:

Learn on your own

We know that you have limited time to contribute. We’ve created some FAQs and tips to help you add datasets on your own time. I personally like to think of it as a data expedition to check the quality of open data in many countries. Happy hunting and gathering! Last year I had fun reviewing data from around the world. But, what matters is that you have local context to review the language and data for your country. Here’s a quick screenshot of how to contribute:

Steps to track Open Data

Thanks again for making Open Data Matter in your part of the world!


(Photo by Marieke Guy, cc by license (cropped))

Newsflash! OKFestival Programme Launches

Beatrice Martini - June 4, 2014 in Events, Free Culture, Join us, Network, News, OKFest, OKFestival, Open Access, Open Data, Open Development, Open Economics, Open Education, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Open Research, Open Science, Open Spending, Open Standards, Panton Fellows, Privacy, Public Domain, Training, Transparency, Working Groups

At last, it’s here!

Check out the details of the OKFestival 2014 programme – including session descriptions, times and facilitator bios here!

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 4.11.42 PM

We’re using a tool called Sched to display the programme this year and it has several great features. Firstly, it gives individual session organisers the ability to update the details on the session they’re organising; this includes the option to add slides or other useful material. If you’re one of the facilitators we’ll be emailing you to give you access this week.

Sched also enables every user to create their own personalised programme to include the sessions they’re planning to attend. We’ve also colour-coded the programme to help you when choosing which conversations you want to follow: the Knowledge stream is blue, the Tools stream is red and the Society stream is green. You’ll also notice that there are a bunch of sessions in purple which correspond to the opening evening of the festival when we’re hosting an Open Knowledge Fair. We’ll be providing more details on what to expect from that shortly!

Another way to search the programme is by the subject of the session – find these listed on the right hand side of the main schedule – just click on any of them to see a list of sessions relevant to that subject.

As you check out the individual session pages, you’ll see that we’ve created etherpads for each session where notes can be taken and shared, so don’t forget to keep an eye on those too. And finally; to make the conversations even easier to follow from afar using social media, we’re encouraging session organisers to create individual hashtags for their sessions. You’ll find these listed on each session page.

We received over 300 session suggestions this year – the most yet for any event we’ve organised – and we’ve done our best to fit in as many as we can. There are 66 sessions packed into 2.5 days, plus 4 keynotes and 2 fireside chats. We’ve also made space for an unconference over the 2 core days of the festival, so if you missed out on submitting a proposal, there’s still a chance to present your ideas at the event: come ready to pitch! Finally, the Open Knowledge Fair has added a further 20 demos – and counting – to the lineup and is a great opportunity to hear about more projects. The Programme is full to bursting, and while some time slots may still change a little, we hope you’ll dive right in and start getting excited about July!

We think you’ll agree that Open Knowledge Festival 2014 is shaping up to be an action-packed few days – so if you’ve not bought your ticket yet, do so now! Come join us for what will be a memorable 2014 Festival!

See you in Berlin! Your OKFestival 2014 Team

Introducing the new Open Development Toolkit site!

Zara Rahman - June 3, 2014 in OKF Projects, Open Development

Open Development Toolkit screenshot

We’re very happy to launch today a new website for the Open Development Toolkit, which which includes a number of new features to help people make use of, and contribute to, the project.

When the project began in early 2014, the project brief was fairly open; since then, after speaking to various members of the Open Development community, attending events such as the IATI TAG meeting, and doing a thorough assessment of what is already going on in the community, we’ve narrowed down the project aims, and target audience, considerably. With regards to the target audience, we’re now considering two main, broad demographics: data users, and development agencies/donors.

By ‘data users’, we’re considering primarily infomediaries in aid recipient countries; civil society and journalists, who could be using development data in their work. They’re in a position to be able to understand the data with local context, and convey their findings to their communities in an effective way. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to find and use aid data portals that already exist, as well as develop their technical skills in accessing, and using, raw aid data to facilitate their work.

With regards to development agencies and donors, we’re looking specifically at those who are thinking of making their data available online; rather than building new portals from scratch and creating proprietary tools, we’d like to encourage them to build upon what has already been created, share and take into account lessons learned, and contribute to the community with their tool/portal creation. Especially where tools have been built with public funds (eg. development arms of governments) we see no reason for these tools to remain closed source and proprietary.

Tools

The new site includes a curated list of Tools, which allow the user to understand, visualise or access aid data in various ways. Each ‘Tool’ presented on the site with a short description of what it does, along with its main strengths and weaknesses, and each one is classified with a number of tags, stating the perceived skill level required (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), the data source used by the tool, as well as its ‘theme’ (eg. global overview, donor specific, recipient country, donor government). The tagging system allows users to search for tools by what they’re wanting to focus on – for example, looking into the activities of a certain donor agency, or taking a closer look at projects taking place in a particular aid recipient country.

Each tool also has a second tab, explaining how the tool was made. We’re putting special focus on the tools which are already open source, and by putting the name of the developer(s) who have worked on these tools along with their contact details, we hope to make it as easy as possible for more work to be commissioned which will build upon their expertise.

Community

Another focus of the site is to bring together people who have worked on building the tools from a technical perspective, along with people working in development agencies, and the potential users of the data; the whole ‘development data’ ecosystem, in a way.

On the Community page, anyone active in the Open Development space is encouraged to create a profile, (for now, via filling in this Google form), with their contact details and a short biography, either as an individual or as an organisation. Activities of organisations and individuals can be seen on their profile pages, for example, tools that they have built or contributed to, blog posts that they have written, and people/organisations with whom they have collaborated.

We hope that highlighting the work that people have done within the Open Development community, along with their collaborations, will facilitate further collaboration, and encourage organisations to call upon community expertise when developing new tools.

Training

As well as displaying the tools and work that have already been created within the community and encouraging collaboration, we also want to support civil society and journalists to get the skills they need to use development data in their work, as mentioned above. We’ll be doing this by working with School of Data to create an Aid Curriculum, made up of various modules on technical skills required to work with aid data.

Ideally, we’d like to build upon training materials that have already been created in the sector, and make them available for remixing and reuse by others in the future; we’ll be encouraging people to try them out in workshops and training sessions, and we’d love to get feedback on how they have best been used, so we can iterate and improve upon them in the future. The curriculum will also be available online for people to work through at their own pace.

Blog

Last, but not least – the site includes a blog, where we’ll be posting on topics such as uses of development data by civil society or journalists, lessons learned during the software development of data portals, and other issues surrounding data use within the global development sector. We welcome submissions to the blog – take a look here to see other topics, and how to contribute.

Feedback on the site is most welcome – either open an issue on Github or drop an email to zara@opendevtoolkit.net.

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