Blog

Who Will Shape the Future of the Data Society?

This piece was originally posted on the blog of the International Open Data Conference 2016, which takes place in Madrid, 6-7th October 2016. The contemporary world is held together by a vast and overlapping fabric of information systems. These information systems do not only tell us things about the world around us. They also play […]

New Report: “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”

Following on from our discussion paper on “Democratising the Data Revolution”, today we’re pleased to announce the release of a new report titled “Changing What Counts: How Can Citizen-Generated and Civil Society Data Be Used as an Advocacy Tool to Change Official Data Collection?”. Undertaken as a collaboration between Open Knowledge and the CIVICUS DataShift, […]

New Report: “Open Budget Data: Mapping the Landscape”

We’re pleased to announce a new report, “Open Budget Data: Mapping the Landscape” undertaken as a collaboration between Open Knowledge, the Global Initiative for Financial Transparency and the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam. The report offers an unprecedented empirical mapping and analysis of the emerging issue of open budget data, which has […]

New Discussion Paper: “Democratising the Data Revolution”

“New technologies are leading to an exponential increase in the volume and types of data available, creating unprecedented possibilities for informing and transforming society and protecting the environment. Governments, companies, researchers and citizen groups are in a ferment of experimentation, innovation and adaptation to the new world of data, a world in which data are […]

New research project to map the impact of open budget data

I’m pleased to announce a new research project to examine the impact of open budget data, undertaken as a collaboration between Open Knowledge and the Digital Methods Initiative at the University of Amsterdam, supported by the Global Initiative for Financial Transparency (GIFT). The project will include an empirical mapping of who is active around open […]

Joint Submission to UN Data Revolution Group

The following is the joint Submission to the UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution from the World Wide Web Foundation, Open Knowledge, Fundar and the Open Institute, October 15, 2014. It derives from and builds on the Global Open Data Initiative’s Declaration on Open Data. To the UN Secretary General’s […]

Why the Open Definition Matters for Open Data: Quality, Compatibility and Simplicity

The Open Definition performs an essential function as a “standard”, ensuring that when you say “open data” and I say “open data” we both mean the same thing. This standardization, in turn, ensures the quality, compatibility and simplicity essential to realizing one of the main practical benefits of “openness”: the greatly increased ability to combine […]

A Data Revolution that Works for All of Us

Many of today’s global challenges are not new. Economic inequality, the unfettered power of corporations and markets, the need to cooperate to address global problems and the unsatisfactory levels of accountability in democratic governance – these were as much problems a century ago as they remain today. What has changed, however – and most markedly […]

Draft Open Data Policy for Qatar

The following post was originally published on the blog of our Open MENA community (Middle East and North Africa). The Qatari Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (generally referred to as ictQATAR) had launched a public consultation on its draft Open Data Policy. I thus decided to briefly present a (long overdue) outline of Qatar’s […]

Britain ‘shines light of transparency’ on secret lobbying. Just kidding.

The following article is cross-posted from OpenDemocracy. David Cameron’s lobbying bill exposes the hollowness of his muscular claims about cracking down on crony capitalism. Britain’s democracy remains under corporate capture. Image: Government wants to register Lobbying Agencies alone (Alliance for Lobbying Transparency) Today the government’s proposed Lobbying Bill will go into parliamentary ping-pong between the […]

The Open Knowledge Foundation opposes copyright term extensions in TPP negotiations

The Open Knowledge Foundation has joined a group of civil society organisations and activists from around the world in an open letter opposing proposals to increase the duration of copyright as part of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. This follows on from another recent letter asking for greater openness around the TPP negotiations, which […]

Announcing Sunlight’s international lobbying disclosure guidelines

This is a cross-post by Julia Keserű, Lisa Rosenberg and Greg Brown from the Sunlight Foundation, originally published on the Sunlight Foundation blog. With more and more civil society organizations in the open government universe recognizing that “thorny issues” — such as political finance transparency or surveillance — need to be tackled somewhat more vehemently, […]

Open letter asking for greater transparency around Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations

The Open Knowledge Foundation has joined more than 30 civil society organisations and experts in signing an open letter asking leaders for greater transparency around the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. The controversial negotiations have been covered in The Guardian and The Washington Post over the past few days following the leaking of a draft chapter […]

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 […]

New partnership to map the public domain in France

Last night Aurélie Filippetti, the French Minister for Culture and Communication, announced a new partnership between the French ministry of Culture and Communication and the Open Knowledge Foundation France to take steps towards mapping the public domain in France. The ‘public domain calculator’ demonstrator project will develop a tool to help establish legal status of […]

UK takes lead on ending company secrecy at Open Government Partnership Summit

We will be updating this post throughout the morning, as further details are announced. For press contact, call +44 (0)1223 422159 or email press@okfn.org. This morning UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the UK’s support for public registers of beneficial ownership, or who really owns companies, at the Open Government Partnership Summit in London. In […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Using public data to flag tax avoidance schemes?

This post was jointly written by Jonathan Gray (@jwyg), Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Tony Hirst (@psychemedia), Data Storyteller at the Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data project. It is cross-posted from the School of Data blog. Today OpenCorporates added a new visualisation tool that enables you to explore […]

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 […]

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” — […]

Announcing the Global Open Data Initiative

The Global Open Data Initiative (GODI) is a new initiative led by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Institute, Fundar, Sunlight Foundation and the World Wide Web Foundation. It mission is to share principles and resources for governments and societies on how to best harness the opportunities created by opening government data. The initiative is intended […]

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 […]

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 […]

What We Hope the Digital Public Library of America Will Become

Tomorrow is the official launch date for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). If you’ve been following it, you’ll know that it has the long term aim of realising “a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all”. More specifically, Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University […]

Will Obama’s new $100m brain mapping project be open access?

On Tuesday President Obama unveiled a new $100 million research initiative to map the human brain. The BRAIN (Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative will “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that will enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits […]

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 […]

Help Us to Cultivate the Digital Commons!

At the Open Knowledge Foundation we work to cultivate a global commons of digital material that everyone is free to use and enjoy. This digital commons includes everything from open data about carbon emissions or spending from governments around the world; to open access research in the sciences, the humanities, and many other disciplines; to […]

Goodbye Aaron Swartz – and Long Live Your Legacy

Aaron Swartz, coder, writer, archivist and activist, took his own life in New York on Friday. Aaron worked tirelessly to open up and maximise the societal impact of information in three areas which are central to our work at the Foundation: public domain cultural works, public sector information, and open access to publicly funded research. […]

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 […]

COMMUNIA statement on open access to EU funded Horizon 2020 research

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s proposed new programme for research and innovation, which would run from 2014 to 2020. The programme would create an “Innovation Union” with a budget of €80million, bringing together current research and innovation funding available through a number of sources. On 28th November MEPs are set to vote on the proposals, […]

Hack4Health: London 2-4 November

In the first November weekend – 2-4 November – the UK Open Data Institute in London will host Hack4Health, organised by Coadec, Healthbox Accelerator, the Cabinet Office, NHS Hackday and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The event brings together entrepreneurs, developers and technical startups working on health and fitness data to create innovative solutions and products. […]

World’s first REAL commercial open data curation project!

The following post is by Francis Irving, CEO of ScraperWiki. Can you think of an open data curation project where the people who work on it come from multiple commercial companies? In the mid 1990s, as open source code began to boom, the equivalent was commonplace. Geeks working at ISPs would together patch the Apache webserver into shape. Startups like […]