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Open Research Data Handbook Sprint – 15-16 February

Velichka Dimitrova - January 16, 2013 in Events, Featured, Open Data Handbook, Open Economics, Open Science, Open Standards, Sprint / Hackday, WG Development, WG Economics, WG Open Bibliographic Data, WG Open Data in Science

On February 15-16, the Open Research Data Handbook Sprint will happen at the Open Data Institute, 65 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4JE.

The Open Research Data Handbook aims to provide an introduction to the processes, tools and other areas that researchers need to consider to make their research data openly available.

Join us for a book sprint to develop the current draft, and explore ways to remix it for different disciplines and contexts.

Who it is for:

  • Researchers interested in carrying out their work in more open ways
  • Experts on sharing research and research data
  • Writers and copy editors
  • Web developers and designers to help present the handbook online
  • Anyone else interested in taking part in an intense and collaborative weekend of action

Register at Eventbrite

What will happen:

The main sprint will take place on Friday and Saturday. After initial discussions we’ll divide into open space groups to focus on research, writing and editing for different chapters of the handbook, developing a range of content including How To guidance, stories of impact, collections of links and decision tools.

A group will also look at digital tools for presenting the handbook online, including ways to easily tag content for different audiences and remix the guide for different contexts.


Week before & after:

  • Calling for online contributions and reviews


  • Seminar or bring your own lunch on open research data.
  • From 2pm: planning and initial work in the handbook in small teams (optional)


  • 10.00 – 10:30: Arrive and coffee
  • 10.30 – 11.30: Introducing open research – lightning talks
  • 11.30 – 13:30: Forming teams and starting sprint. Groups on:
    • Writing chapters
    • Decision tools
    • Building website & framework for book
    • Remixing guide for particular contexts
  • 13.30 – 14:30: Lunch
  • 14.30 – 16:30: Working in teams
  • 17.30 – 18:30: Report back
  • 18:30 – …… : Pub


OKF Open Science Working Group – creators of the current Open Research Data Handbook
OKF Open Economic Working Group – exploring economics aspects of open research
Open Data Research Network - exploring a remix of the handbook to support open social science
research in a new global research network, focussed on research in the Global South.
Open Data Institute – hosting the event

Announcing the Open Data Handbook version 1.0

Laura Newman - February 22, 2012 in Open Data Handbook, Open Government Data, Our Work, WG EU Open Data, WG Open Government Data

The Open Knowledge Foundation are proud to announce the launch of version 1.0 of the Open Data Handbook (formerly the Open Data Manual):

Read the Open Data Handbook now! »

Old books

The Handbook discusses the ‘why, what and how’ of open data – why to go open, what open is, how to make data open and how to do useful things with it.

Read on to find out more about what’s in the Handbook, who it’s for, and how you can get involved – for example by adding to and improving the Handbook, or by translating it into more languages.

What is the Open Data Handbook?

The Open Data Handbook is a valuable resource for everyone interested in open data. It covers many types of data, but its particular focus is open government data.

The Open Data Handbook is targeted towards a broad audience. It contains useful information for civil servants, journalists, activists, developers, researchers – basically, for anyone with an interest in open data!

From a basic introduction of the ‘what and why’ of open data, the Handbook goes on to discuss the practicalities of making data open – the ‘how’. It gives advice on everything from choosing a file format and applying a license, to motivating the community and telling the world. Clear explanations, illustrative examples and technical recommendations make the Handbook suitable for people with all levels of experience, from the absolute beginner to the seasoned open data professional.

The Handbook is divided into short chapters which cover individual aspects of open data. It can be read in a single sitting, or dipped into as a reference work.

Finally, the Handbook is intended to be an organic project. It has been dubbed v1.0 for a reason – we hope that there are many more versions to come! We welcome feedback and suggestions; more on this below.

Where did it come from?

The Open Data Handbook began life as the ‘Open Data Manual’. The initial text was written at a book sprint in Berlin in October 2010. The sprint was organized by members of the Open Government Data and Open Data in the EU working groups at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Since then, a wide group of editors and contributors have added to and refined the original material, to create the Handbook you see today.

What next?

The vision is to create a series of open-source Handbooks and Guides, which offer advice on different aspects of open data. This project has already been started. So far, we have:

We hope to expand this list and to add further titles over time.

Work to translate the Open Data Handbook into many more languages has already begun, and special thanks are due to everyone who has already contributed. However, more translators are needed! You can watch the progress of the translations on Transifex. See below for details of how to contribute.

We are also aware of the need to tailor general advice about open government data to the legislative frameworks and requirements of different countries. If you would like to be involved in writing a country specific adaptation of the Open Data Handbook, please do get in touch via the mailing list.

Get involved!

The Open Data Handbook v1.0 represents the culmination of more than a year’s work – but the challenge isn’t over yet!

We need now need your input in order to:

  • Translate the text into more languages! We use Transifex to manage translations; see the instructions on our wiki for information about how to get started
  • Point out corrections and suggestions for improvement on our issue tracker or by emailing opendatahandbook[@]
  • Contribute to the next version of the Open Data Handbook – join the mailing list and share your ideas!
  • Donate! We are committed to keeping the Open Data Handbook entirely free, and all contributions to enable this are gratefully received. Please follow the button below:
 let’s collect some tricks for data wrangling!

Rufus Pollock - August 4, 2011 in Ideas and musings, OKF Projects, Open Data Handbook

[Friedrich Lindenberg], data wrangler and member of OKF Germany, advocates for the creation of Data Patterns book to complement the existing Open Data Manual.

How do you scrape a massive online archive? How do you fix a broken CSV file? How do you normalize entity names in a large collection of records?

There is a lot of practical skill in handling newly opened data, and the implicit promise of the open data movement is that we will help more people to access and re-use data. And while it would be desirable to be able to offer simple web-based tools for data wrangling, the truth is that what’s required is often a wild mix of web tools, desktop and command-line tools and programming skills.

So what we need is the other half of the Open Data Manual. will be a collaborative attempt to collect specific tips on how to code, wrangle and hack your way through messy data. The site will not be end-all of data literacy, but rather adopt a focussed point of view:

  • We try to provide methods that are immediately useful for coders, data journalists, researchers etc. If it doesn’t solve a data acquisition, cleanup or use problem, it can probably wait a bit.
  • Assume basic knowledge of python programming and web technologies. There are many ways to learn this, and we’d probably have a hard time trumping Zed Shaw.
  • Provide opinionated advice: it’s impossible to give a comprehensive overview of all tools, concerns or strategies relating to data and knowledge management. While its certainly interesting to discuss pros and cons of various technologies, its not always useful in practice. will pick sides, and follow them through.
  • Link out. There’s no reason not to provide contextualized links instead of explaining things ourselves whereever possible.

So how will we create this? Luckily, we have at least two sources of information about data wrangling: the excellent questions on and our own attempts at making sense of data, e.g. in the OpenSpending project. Using these two sources of both questions and answers will probably mean we’ll start off with a slightly odd set of issues, but as with all OKF projects the answer is: bring your own! Either post questions to or write a chapter and commit it to the datapatterns repository on github.

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