Introducing “A free, libre and open Glossary”

The following guest post is by Chris Sakkas. A few months ago, we ran into a problem at work. ‘Let’s open source this,’ my boss said, and then ran a conventional brainstorming session. I am constantly frustrated by people misusing terms like free, libre and open that have well-established definitions. I decided to spend an […]

We Need an Open Database of Clinical Trials

The award winning science writer and physician Ben Goldacre recently launched a major campaign to open up the results of clinical trials. The AllTrials initiative calls for all clinical trials to be reported and for the “full methods and the results” of each trial to be published. Currently negative results are poorly recorded and positive […]

“Carbon dioxide data is not on the world’s dashboard” says Hans Rosling

Professor Hans Rosling, co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundation and Advisory Board Member at the Open Knowledge Foundation, received a standing ovation for his keynote at OKFestival in Helsinki in September in which he urged open data advocates to demand CO2 data from governments around the world. Following on from this, the Open Knowledge […]

Did Gale Cengage just liberate all of their public domain content? Sadly not…

Earlier today we received a strange and intriguing press release from a certain ‘Marmaduke Robida’ claiming to be ‘Director for Public Domain Content’ at Gale Cengage’s UK premises in Andover. Said the press release: Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is thrilled to announce that all its public domain content will be freely accessible on the […]

Let’s defend Open Formats for Public Sector Information in Europe!

Following some remarks from Richard Swetenham from the European Commission, we made a few changes relative to the trialogue process and the coming steps: the trialogue will start its meetings on 17th December and it is therefore already very useful to call on our governments to support Open Formats! When we work on building all […]

Following Money and Influence in the EU: The Open Interests Europe Hackathon

This blog post is cross-posted from the Data-driven Journalism Blog. <img alt=”” src=”” style=”float: left;width: 250px;height: 375px;margin-left: 5px;margin-right: 5px” />Making sense of massive datasets that document the processes of lobbying and public procurement at European Union level is not an easy task. Yet a group of 25 journalists, developers, graphic designers and activists worked together […]

US Doctor Data to be “Open Eventually”

Here’s an interesting project using slightly unorthodox means to get data out into the open: crowdfunding the purchase of US healthcare data for subsequent open release. The company behind the project is NotOnly Dev, a Health IT software incubator who describe themselves as a “not-only-for-profit” company. Earlier this year they released a Doctor Social Graph, […]

Reputation Factor in Economic Publishing

“The big problem in economics is that it really matters in which journals you publish, so the reputation factor is a big hindrance in getting open access journals up and going”. Can the accepted norms of scholarly publishing be successfully challenged? This quotation is a line from the correspondence about writing this blogpost for the […]

CC license version 4.0: Helping meet the needs of open data publishers and users

Over the last few months, Creative Commons has been working on the next version of its license suite, version 4.0. The goals of version 4.0 are wide-ranging, but the overall objective is clear: update the licenses so they are considerably more robust, yet easy to understand and use, for both existing communities and new types […]

UK Open Standards Consultation

The following post is cross-posted from Jeni’s blog – Over the last few months, the UK Government has been running a consultation on its Open Standards policy. The outcome of this consultation is incredibly important not only for organisations and individuals who want to work with government but also because of its potential knock-on […]

Launching the Open Data Census 2012!

To take part in the Open Data Census 2012, please visit: As government officials, civil society leaders and open data experts gather in Brazil this week for the Open Government Partnership, it is clear that Open Government Data has become a major topic on a global scale. In September last year, 8 governments founded […]

Being Open About Data

A more detailed version of this post can be found on the Finnish Institute blog. The Finnish Institute in London has recently completed a five-month research project on the British open data policies. The report looks at how the open data ecosystem has emerged in the UK and what lessons can be drawn from the […]

#ogdcamp opening talk from Neelie Kroes

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Here is the video and full text for Neelie Kroes’s address at Open Government Data Camp 2011. Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, Opening up public data will foster the participation of citizens in political and social life, increase the transparency of […]

Open content film blocked by YouTube in Germany

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Cartoonist, animator and activist Nina Paley recently got in touch with me after her talk at OKCon 2011, saying that her openly licensed film Sita Sings the Blues has been blocked by YouTube in Germany: GEMA has blocked Sita Sings the […]

We need international open government data principles

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We need a set of international open government data principles. Why? Because as the ‘open data‘ meme travels around the world – unlocking information from local, regional and national public bodies as it goes – we want to make sure that […]

Notes from Open Metadata Workshop, The Hague, 15th June 2011

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Last week I went to an excellent workshop on open metadata organised by Europeana. The workshop drew together directors from libraries, archives and cultural heritage organisations across Europe – such as the British Library, the Deutsche National Bibliothek, the UK National […]

When Washington DC took a step back from open data & transparency

The following is a guest post from Chris Taggart, co-founder of and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Government Data. When the amazing Emer Coleman first approached me a year and a half to get feedback on the plans for the London datastore, I told her that the gold standard […] to promote free public data

The following guest post is from Regards Citoyens, a French organisation that promotes open data. Three months ago, the French Prime Minister announced officially the creation of the EtaLab governmental team, dedicated to the future On Friday May 27th, two official texts have been published: a decree (fr) that defines new juridic rules regarding […]

Guardian piece on open data in science

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Guardian recently published an interesting article on open data in science, including interviews with OKF Co-Founder Rufus Pollock and other leading voices from the world of open science. Here’s Rufus: “The litmus test of openness is whether you can have […]

Where does Italy’s money go?

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Over the past 48 hours or so we’ve been busy loading 12 years of Italian spending data into Open Spending. Further details on the project and the data are below. This project was put together by Stefano Costa, Friedrich Lindenberg, Luca […]

Keeping Open Government Data Open?

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. An unprecedented amount of freely reusable government information is currently being released by public bodies around the globe. This is being consumed and reused by numerous stakeholders – including civic developers, data literate citizens, data journalists, NGOs, researchers, and companies. There […]

Opening up linguistic data at the American National Corpus

The following guest post is from Nancy Ide, Professor of Computer Science at Vassar College, Technical Director of the American National Corpus project and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Linguistic Data. The American National Corpus (ANC) project is creating a collection of texts produced by native speakers of American English […]

What “open data” means – and what it doesn’t

The following post is from Melanie Chernoff, Public Policy Manager for Red Hat. It was originally published on Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal talked about the Open Data Partnership, which “will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people […]

New mapping tool from European Fish Subsidy project

The folks over at Fish Subsidy (who are also behind the amazing Farm Subsidy project) have just released a new mapping tool to help people find out how €3.4 billion of European fisheries subsidies is spent: This is a great example of reusing European public data to make it easier to understand for citizens, journalists […]

Open Licenses vs Public Licenses

The following post is from Jordan Hatcher, a Director at the Open Knowledge Foundation and founder of the Open Data Commons project. It was originally posted on his blog. Let’s face it, we often have a definition problem. It’s critical to distinguish “open licenses” from “public licenses” when discussing IP licensing, especially online — mostly […]

Pollen data in the New and Old World

The following guest post is from Stefano Costa at the University of Siena. He is Founder of the IOSA initiative and Coordinator of the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Working Group on Open Data in Archaeology. Stefano wishes to thank Thomas Kluyver and David Jones for their help in reviewing the post. Since the 19th century, the […]

The open spending data that isn’t

The following guest post is from Chris Taggart of OpenlyLocal, who advises the Where Does My Money Go? project on local spending data, and is a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Working Group on Open Government Data. This is a cross-post — Chris’ original post here. When the coalition announced that councils would have […]

The cake test of freedom

At last week’s Jornadas SIG Libre in Girona, Ivan Sanchez of the Spanish OpenStreetmap community told me about the cake test of data freedom. What is the cake test? Easy: geographic data, or a map, is open only if someone can make you a gift of a cake with your map on it. The cake […]

Open data in France: the state of play

The following guest post is from Regards Citoyens, a French association of citizens with a shared interest in opening up information about the functioning of democratic institutions in France. France is lagging behind… There is no doubt about it: compared to other countries, France is definitely late in opening up its data. For a country […]

Climate Change, Climate Sceptics and Open Data

With the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen starting on Monday, it is of vital important that there is consensus on the scientific evidence about climate change, in order to inform debates about the best course of action for the international community. Sharing the same basic picture about the climate, global warming and the […]

Open data on cities: an international round up

Over the last few months there have been lots of exciting announcements about open data from cities around the world. We decided to take a look at what is currently out there – in particular taking note of: Whether datasets are open as in the Open Knowledge Definition – i.e. whether they explicitly say that […]

Abusing “Open”: Macmillan’s Open Dictionary

Jonathan recently wrote about the availability of open dictionaries. In a recent comment to that post someone pointed us to Macmillan’s “Open” Dictionary (the reasons for the quotes will soon be apparent). With a sense of excitement I followed the link: “Could it be”, I thought, “That a mainstream dictionary producer has decided that open […]

Interview with Rufus Pollock on NetSquared

Jed Sundwall of Netsquared just published an interview with Rufus Pollock, co-founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The interview includes discussion about the distinction between price and value, about the Open Knowledge Definition, about CKAN, about decentralised approaches to working with large quantities of data, about packaging for knowledge and about ‘Shiny Front End Syndrome’. […]

Open organisations, need for two more definitions!

If starting a new, public interest, organisation, there are three obvious principles you might like to have. Finance – have all bank transactions automatically public in real time. Plus accounts. Software – all software made by the organisation to be open source. Information – voluntarily subscribe to some sort of FOI law. The software one […]

Beyond Strong and Weak: Towards a Typology of Open Access

Over the past week or so there has been a flurry of posts about ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ open access, including the following: Strong and weak OA, Peter Suber What’s in a Name? Strong and Weak Open Access, Glyn Moody The Two Forms of OA Have Been Defined: They Now Need Value-Neutral Names, Stevan Harnad Lower […]

Open Bibliographic Data: The State of Play

Given the public role of libraries and the fact that bibliographic metadata (i.e. the material in library catalogues) doesn’t seem that exciting from a commercial point of view you might think that, of all the types of data out there, it would be bibliographic data that would be the most open. You might even think, […]

A Traffic Data Odyssey

Recently, partly as an experiment regarding access to government data, partly out of genuine interest in the material itself, I looked into getting hold of some UK traffic count data — useful for, among other things, doing traffic analysis which is key to much road planning and policy (see e.g. this work by R J […]

On Getting Raw Data for Cancer Research

Andrew Vickers, a biostatistician at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, recently published an article in the New York Times about his experiences trying to get hold of raw data for cancer research: Cancer Data? Sorry, Can’t Have It. In it he describes various difficulties he has encountered trying to get hold of the […]

Big Art Mob, public art and open heritage resources

I’ve just been poking around at the Big Art Mob website which was launched by Channel 4 earlier this year and picked up a Royal Television Society Innovation Award earlier this month. It aims to “create the UK’s first comprehensive survey of Public Art” using user-submitted camera phone pictures and a Google maps API. Though […]

Keeping “Open” Libre

Last week I attended the Jornadas gvSIG, the developer/user gathering for the open source GIS project supported by the regional government in Valencia. There seems to be a very supportive climate towards free software and open licensed data in Spain. I was impressed to hear people from commercial consultancies and local government information and infrastructure […]

The IPCC Data Distribution Centre – environmental data licensing

We’ve recently started looking into how much environmental data made available on the web is open in accordance with the Open Knowledge Definition. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a Data Distribution Centre (DDC) – which is a good start to see what data is available. The DDC “offers access to baseline and […]

Gerald Aylmer Seminar 2007 – ‘Digital Horizons’

A few weeks ago, Rufus and I attended the annual Gerald Aylmer Seminar, jointly organised by the National Archives and the Royal Historical Society. The topic for the event was ‘Digital Horizons: how the digital revolution changes the relationship between historians and their historical sources’. Here are some belated jottings… Opening talk by Natalie Ceeney, […]

British History Online: Why the Restrictions?

British History Online is a site created and run by Institute for Historical Research (part of the University of London I believe) and the History of Parliament Trust and located at: (note the ‘’ domain name signifying the official academic status though rather unusually they do run ads). Their purpose is clearly stated on the […]

“Open-Access” Quantitative mRNA/Protein Dataset

The RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology in Japan have just released RefDic, “an open-access database of quantitative mRNA/Protein profiles specifically for immune cells”: A prepublication epub has been posted on pubmeb giving more information entitled Construction of an open-access database that integrates cross-reference information from the transcriptome and proteome of immune cells […]