Blog

The DataTank 4.0

This post was written by Pieter Colpaert, a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Belgium Chapter. The DataTank is open source software, just like CKAN, Drupal or Elastic Search, which you can use to transform a dataset into an HTTP API. Today (the 5th of December 2014), we are proud to launch the 4.0 version […]

What needs to happen to enable citizens to Follow the Money around the world?

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. A few weeks back, we launched a new global “Follow the Money” network of organisations pushing for the transparency needed to enable citizens to hold decision-makers to account […]

New petition to fix the EU lobby register

The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU), a coalition of over 200 civil society groups concerned about the effects of corporate lobbying on the EU (including the Open Knowledge Foundation), have recently launched a petition to fix the EU’s official register of lobbyists. The current register is voluntary, incomplete and unreliable – giving […]

Open Data’s Business Value Isn’t That Important

This is a cross-post from the Sunlight Foundation blog, written by Director of Sunlight Labs, Tom Lee. See the original post here. The recent Open Government Partnership meetings in London have provided a good opportunity to assess the direction of our community. The latest comes from Jonathan Gray, and the title — Open government should […]

1-day Open Data training, London, 6 December

The Services team of the Open Knowledge Foundation will be running a public version of its one-day introductory training course on Open Data, on Friday, 6 December in central London. The course is open to anyone who has an interest in Open Data in a professional capacity, and wants an introduction from one of the […]

The Open Knowledge Foundation’s hopes for the Open Government Partnership

Tomorrow campaigners and officials from over 60 countries will gather in London for the second annual summit of the Open Government Partnership, a voluntary multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to strengthening the transparency and accountability commitments of its member states. Over the past few months we’ve been involved in extensive consultations and talks to give input to […]

The Open Definition in context: putting open into practice

We’ve seen how the Open Definition can apply to data and content of many types published by many different kinds of organisation. Here we set out how the Definition relates to specific principles of openness, and to definitions and guidelines for different kinds of open data. Why we need more than a Definition The Open […]

Exploring openness and the Open Definition

We’ve set out the basics of what open data means, so here we explore the Open Definition in more detail, including the importance of bulk access to open information, commercial use of open data, machine-readability, and what conditions can be imposed by a data provider. Commercial Use A key element of the definition is that […]

Next Steps on “Follow the Money” – from OKCon to the Open Government Partnership Summit

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Last month we announced the Open Knowledge Foundation and ONE’s plans to support and strengthen the community of activists and advocacy organisations working to enable citizens to follow […]

Defining Open Data

Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built-on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose. This is the summary of the full Open Definition which the Open Knowledge Foundation created in 2005 to provide both a succinct explanation and a detailed definition of open data. As the open data movement grows, and […]

Open Data Training at the Open Knowledge Foundation

We’re delighted to announce today the launch of a new portfolio of open data training programs. For many years the Open Knowledge Foundation has been working — both formally and informally — with governments, civil society organisations and others to provide this kind of advice and training. Today marks the first time we’ve brought it […]

What’s the point of open data?

I’ve been puzzling for a while how the open data community can help the many great groups that have been fighting for transparency of key money flows for the past decade and more. I think one answer may be that open data helps us go beyond simply making information available. If done well, it can […]

“Follow the Money” with ONE and the Open Knowledge Foundation

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We want to see a world in which citizens are able to hold decision-makers to account for the use of public money, using information about where it comes […]

An Open Letter on the UK’s Proposed Lobbying Bill

The following is an open letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister about the UK’s proposed Lobbying Bill, initiated by the Open Knowledge Foundation and signed by organisations working for greater government transparency and openness in the UK and around the world. A version of the letter was printed in today’s edition of […]

How can open data lead to better data quality?

Open data can be freely used by anyone – which means that data users can help to fix, enrich or flag problems with the data, leading to improvements in its quality. The Open Knowledge Foundation is currently looking to collect the best examples and stories we can find about how open data can lead to […]

Open Data Privacy

“yes, the government should open other people’s data” Traditionally, the Open Knowledge Foundation has worked to open non-personal data – things like publicly-funded research papers, government spending data, and so on. Where individual data was a part of some shared dataset, such as a census, great amounts of thought and effort had gone in to […]

Beneficial ownership registries should be published as open data

In the coming months many governments around the world will decide whether databases of who really owns and controls companies should be made public or not. As we’ve said before, we think registers of ‘beneficial ownership‘ (i.e. registers of who really stands to benefit from company ownership, not just whomever it is convenient or expedient […]

Natural resource revenues should be published as open data

Who pays what for a given country’s natural resources? With billions of dollars changing hands for access to oil, gas and mineral reserves every year, there is huge potential for corruption, conflict, injustice and environmental destruction around the extraction of natural resources. We think that information about natural resource revenues should be published as open […]

OKCon 2013 Guest Post: Open Data Portal on Land Rights

Cross-posted from the OKCon Blog. Introducing a series of guest posts by OKCon 2013 speakers that we will publish over the coming weeks. This first post is by Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Coordinator, International Land Coalition, who will be speaking on the main stage during the Open Development and Sustainability session on Wednesday 18th September […]

What’s the deal with the UK government’s new spending tool?

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this morning the UK government launched a new tool to explore UK public spending. The ‘Government Interrogating Spending Tool’ (fear not – you the user are supposed to be the giver, not the receiver, of interrogation) or ‘GIST’ is, according to the Cabinet Office, “one of the first […]

Open tax data, or just VAT ‘open wash’

This post is by Chris Taggart, the co-founder and CEO of OpenCorporates, the largest open database of companies in the world, and a member of the Open Government working group. [Disclosure: I am on the UK Tax Transparency Board, which has not yet discussed these proposals, but will be doing so at the next meeting […]

9 models to scale open data – past, present and future

The possibilities of open data have been enthralling us for 10 years. I came to it through wanting to make Government really usable, to build sites like TheyWorkForYou. But that excitement isn’t what matters in the end. What matters is scale – which organisational structures will make this movement explode? Whether by creating self-growing volunteer […]

The transformative potential of gardening with data

The following guest post is by Farida Vis from the Everyday Growing Cultures research project. The project looks at the potentially transformative effect of bringing together the food growing and open data communities. Those supporting the government’s open data agenda highlight the business case for open data, an economic argument about its moneysaving potential, along […]

EC Consultation on open research data

The European Commission held a public consultation on open access to research data on July 2 in Brussels inviting statements from researchers, industry, funders, IT and data centre professionals, publishers and libraries. The inputs of these stakeholders will play some role in revising the Commission’s policy and are particularly important for the ongoing negotiations on […]

Save the Date – OGP Pre-Conference, London Wednesday 30th October

This Autumn the Open Government Partnership Annual Conference is coming to London and will place on the 31st October and 1st November. As a lead into the main event, OGP is planning a 1-day civil society Pre-Conference event on Wednesday 30th October and we here at the Open Knowledge Foundation will be collaborating with them […]

Git (and Github) for Data

The ability to do “version control” for data is a big deal. There are various options but one of the most attractive is to reuse existing tools for doing this with code, like git and mercurial. This post describes a simple “data pattern” for storing and versioning data using those tools which we’ve been using […]

UK Open Government Licence is now compliant with the Open Definition

On Friday the UK National Archives launched a new version of the Open Government Licence, which is now the default licence used by the UK government to publish the lion’s share of its public sector information. While the announcement hardly made headlines, there is one small addition to the text of the licence that we […]

Meeting the Latin American open knowledge community

Over the past couple of weeks, our resident Data Diva Michael Bauer, and International Community Manager Zara Rahman have been in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. Their mission was twofold; raise awareness of the impending launch of the Escuela de Datos, our School of Data project in Spanish, and try to find and meet with as […]

What data needs to be opened up to tackle tax havens?

How to tackle tax havens and how to open up official data were two of the headline topics at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland last week. But unfortunately the bold plans and commitments that many were hoping for did not materialise. It seemed that the G8 countries might lead a new global initiative to […]

Carbon emissions transparency should be at the heart of the global open data agenda

This week eight of the world’s most powerful nations made unprecedented multilateral commitments to open up their data: the Open Data Charter says that that public information should be published in accordance with open data principles by default; the Lough Erne Declaration emphasises the importance of increased transparency in cracking down on tax evasion, corruption […]

G8 Open Data Charter Highlights Open Data as Crucial for Governance and Growth

Today’s release of an Open Data Charter by the G8 is testimony to the growing importance of open data worldwide. The Charter recognizes the central role open data can play in improving government and governance and in stimulating growth through innovation in data-driven products and services. It endorses the principle of “open by default” — […]

Second Open Economics International Workshop

Next week, on June 11-12, at the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Open Economics Working Group of the Open Knowledge Foundation will gather about 40 economics professors, social scientists, research data professionals, funders, publishers and journal editors for the second Open Economics International Workshop. The event will follow up on the first workshop held […]

Open Knowledge may yet come to medicine – let’s help make it happen

Today is International Clinical Trials Day. To mark the event, here’s a post from Iain Hrynaszkiewicz reviewing the current state of open knowledge in medicine. You can see an earlier version on F1000’s blog. The European Medicines Agency (EMA), the organisation which approves drug license applications from the pharmaceutical industry in Europe, has made important […]

Shakespeare review: analysis

We welcome the Shakespeare review as a time to reflect, coming as it does at a time of great growth in open data in government and the public sector. The UK has lead the way with government taking a pioneering stance on open data policy in recent years, and this report sets out key recommendations […]

The future of open data in the UK: what we hope the Shakespeare review says

Tomorrow morning will see the release of a major new review on how to make the most out the UK’s Public Sector Information authored by Stephan Shakespeare, founder of opinion polls company YouGov. Given our role in advocating open data in the UK for many years, we’re very keen to see what Shakespeare says. Here […]

We need open carbon emissions data now!

Last week the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million, a level which is said to be unprecedented in human history. Leading scientists and policy makers say that we should be aiming for no more than 350 parts per million to avoid catastrophic runaway climate change. But what’s in […]

Announcing CKAN 2.0

CKAN is a powerful, open source, open data management platform, used by governments and organizations around the world to make large collections of data accessible, including the UK and US government open data portals. Today we are very happy and excited to announce the final release of CKAN 2.0. This is the most significant piece […]

Government Data Open and Machine Readable by Default Announces President Obama

There was big news for open data yesterday with a new Executive Order announced by President Obama. The order lays out the general principles that open, machine readable, data are the “new default”. (We note the Open Definition already includes machine readability in the definition of open data). There will a new Open Data Policy […]

Follow the Money, Follow the Data

The following guest post from Martin Tisné was first published on his personal blog. Some thoughts which I hope may be helpful in advance of the ‘follow the data‘ hack day this week-end: The open data sector has quite successfully focused on socially-relevant information: fixing potholes a la http://www.fixmystreet.com/, adopting fire hydrants a la http://adoptahydrant.org/. […]

Open Knowledge: much more than open data

We’ve often used “open knowledge” simply as a broad term to cover any kind of open data or content from statistics to sonnets, and more. However, there is another deeper, and far more important, reason why we are the “Open Knowledge” Foundation and not, for example, the “Open Data” Foundation. It’s because knowledge is something […]

What Do We Mean By Small Data

Earlier this week we published the first in a series of posts on small data: “Forget Big Data, Small Data is the Real Revolution”. In this second in the series, we discuss small data in more detail providing a rough definition and drawing parallels with the history of computers and software. What do we mean […]

Building the foundation for an Open Data Directory

Open (Government) Data as it is understood nowadays can still be considered a new concept. It started to gain traction worldwide since the Obama memo in early 2009 and the launch of data.gov a few months later. Following successful leading examples of the US and UK governments we have seen Open Data flourishing all over […]

Frictionless Data: making it radically easier to get stuff done with data

Frictionless Data is now in alpha at http://data.okfn.org/ – and we’d like you to get involved. Our mission is to make it radically easier to make data used and useful – our immediate goal is make it as simple as possible to get the data you want into the tool of your choice. This isn’t […]

Opening up the wisdom of crowds for science

We are excited to announce the official launch of Crowdcrafting.org, an open source software platform – powered by our Pybossa technology – for developing and sharing projects that rely on the help of thousands of online volunteers. At a workshop on Citizen Cyberscience held this week at University of Geneva, a novel open source software […]

Forget Big Data, Small Data is the Real Revolution

This is the first in a series of posts. The next posts in the series is What Do We Mean by Small Data There is a lot of talk about “big data” at the moment. For example, this is Big Data Week, which will see events about big data in dozens of cities around the […]

Reinhart-Rogoff Revisited: Why we need open data in economics

  This blog post is cross-posted from the Open Economics Blog. Another economics scandal made the news last week. Harvard Kennedy School professor Carmen Reinhart and Harvard University professor Kenneth Rogoff argued in their 2010 NBER paper that economic growth slows down when the debt/GDP ratio exceeds the threshold of 90 percent of GDP. These […]