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All-star wrap-up of a month of Open Knowledge events all around the world – April 2014

Beatrice Martini - May 23, 2014 in Community Stories, Events, Featured, Meetups, OKF France, OKF Greece, OKF Italy, OKF Switzerland, OKFN France, Open Access, Open Data, Open Data Index, Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

Last month we asked the Open knowledge community to start sharing more details about the events we all run, to discover how many people are rocking Open Knowledge events all around the world! The community has been great at responding the call and now we’re glad to feature some of the April events we got reports (and pictures and videos!) from.

The winners of the Apps4Greece award have been announced! Check out the winning apps, aiming to improve the functionality of cities, businesses, services and develop entrepreneurship and innovation.

Organised by Open Knowledge France after the Paris Open Government Conference (April 24-25) during which France announced it’s joining the Open Government Partnership – and gathering more the 50 people! Featuring Open Knowledge founder’s Rufus Pollock and discussions about the state of Open Data in France, Open Data Index, French version of School of Data Ecole des Données (congratulations!) and more.

  • Open Access Days in Egypt (Cairo, Egypt – April 27-28) Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 11.07.36 AM Open Knowledge Egypt, among many other organizations and researchers, participated in the 2-day event driven by the aim to promote open access to researchers in Egypt and the Middle East, and plant a seed for future initiatives.

We’re so looking forward to hearing everything about your upcoming events! Some juicy ones in the pipeline:

So, what you’re waiting for? It’s time to share your stories for next months’ global roundup! Please submit your blogposts about your May events to the Community Tumblr (details about how/where here) by June 4 in order to be featured in our all-star monthly wrap-up to be published in June on the main Open Knowledge blog and channels! Thank you! We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Announcing: the Open Knowledge Foundation in France

OKFN France - November 22, 2012 in Featured, Meetups, News, OKFN France, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

The following guest post was co-authored by Samuel Goëta, Primavera De Filippi, Peter T Schiøler, Kat Borlongan, and Pierre Chrzanowski.

Early morning by Pierre Metivier – CC BY-NC

Following the first ever Open Knowledge Festival in Helsinki earlier this year, we, a group of Open Knowledge enthusiasts in France, have decided to start a national chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN).

France already has a vibrant community of Open Knowledge advocates and associations such as La FING, Libertic and Regards Citoyens, actively promoting the use and reuse of Open Data among other Open Knowledge principles.

By establishing the OKFN in France, we aim to reinforce and broaden the current national Open Knowledge community by acting as a focal point for OKFN activities in France, as well as to help promote French initiatives in the international OKFN community.

We are therefore delighted to announce the creation of the incubating National Group OKFN France with an initial meeting (12/12/12) at the collaborative innovative tech environment of La Cantine in Paris.

So let’s have a quick look at the French Open Knowledge environment…

Open Government Data

The French government launched its national Open Government Data initiative one year ago. The Etalab team behind data.gouv.fr did a pretty good job, opening some key public datasets such as national statistical data, national budget, and election results under the French Open Licence, and establishing Dataconnexions – a community of practice for innovation to support sustainable projects. Transport data is also becoming available, thanks to intiatitives from the national and Parisian train operators. But work definitely isn’t finished yet, and a few days ago, the new government announced Etalab would be merged into a new general secretariat for the modernisation of public administration.

The government reassured the public that it will continue its mission to provide free access to open government data, and that it will publish a new roadmap by the end of the year. But it also conceded some key datasets were still missing and that there was not enough reuse of open data. According to the Open Data Census, datasets such as Government spending, National postcode, Legislation, Company Register and National Map data are still unavailable. And France is still not a member of the Open Government Partnership Initiative, the multilateral initiative launched in 2011 with the aim of improving transparency and increasing citizen participation in national governance.

We plan to work with all Open Government Data stakeholders to show the value of open data reuse and promote open data standards.

Open Access

France has been a strong player in the Open Access movement, being the first country and having the first university (University of Lyon) to sign the Berlin Declaration. According to the UNESCO, there are currently 70 Open Access repositories in France, most of which are institutional. The most famous of these repositories is HAL.

The national research strategy is developed by the Ministry of Higher Education and is funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR). ANR requires all publications from research that is fully or partially funded by them to be deposited in OA archives “at the earliest possible opportunity”.

But all is not perfect. The Institute for Technical and Scientific Information, whose mission is to facilitate scientific publication diffusion, has recently been criticized for selling articles published in the public domain by their authors. In a statement, they’ve subsequently reaffirmed support for Open Access, but have failed to clearly explain their practices in regards to Open Access principles.

OKFN France will continue to work with the scientific community to promote Open Access standards, principles and tools.

Open Culture

The idea of the digital commons is gradually gaining ground in the French cultural sector. The French national library (BNF) was a pioneer in this field, openly releasing parts of its bibliographic database since 2011. Today, an increasing number of cultural institutions are following, and opening up their data. Last year, the OKFN and Wikimedia France ran a series of workshops in Paris bringing together a large number of actors committed to building an open cultural commons, as part of the OpenGLAM initiative. More workshops are planned for the coming year.

We’re also planning to help build and develop on the recently released Public Domain Calculators, an endeavour which will be greatly aided by the new dataset being developed aspart of the semanticpedia.org project. We want to help ensure that French cultural heritage is fully accessible to the world.

That’s all for now! We will of course keep you updated on French initiatives on the OKFN blog and on our French-language website, which will be launched very soon. For now you can follow us on Twitter at @okfnfr or say hello on our new discussion list. And we hope to see you at our meet up on December 12th!

Finally, we leave the last word to one of our prominent contemporary philosopher and open knowledge enthusiast, Michel Serres:

“Knowledge makes us happy, Knowledge makes us free”

“Le savoir rend heureux, le savoir rend libre”

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