Introducing a new list just for open data on companies

The following is a guest post from Chris Taggart, co-founder of OpenCorporates.com and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Government Data

One of the key types of data that affects all our lives in a multitude of ways is that on companies and corporate entities. As companies have changed from being single entities to multifaceted, multi-jurisdiction webs understood by few people even within the company, open data is the only way we can map these entities and their relationships with the rest of the world.

And yet, despite it being mostly collected by governments for a statutory purpose, until recently there’s been very little open company data about. That’s rapidly changing thanks in part to OpenSpending and OpenCorporates, and other open data projects such as FarmSubsidy.org.

OpenCorporates [disclosure: I’m the co-founder and CEO] is quickly creating one of those key building blocks necessary to understand the place of companies in our lives – a URL/URI for every company in the world, with now over 20 million companies and nearly 30 jurisdictions.

OKF’s OpenSpending too has made great progress in mapping payments by governments to companies, building a platform that extends the original Where Does My Money Go, and now can include government spending of pretty much any type.

But still there’s a long way to go, and a lot of battles to be won, and a lot of knowledge that’s incomplete or missing, from finding the company registry for a given country to understanding company structures. Hence, the launch of a mailing list just about open company data: open-companies.

So if you’ve got questions about open data of companies, want to access it, or have expertise in understanding the structure, rules and accounts of companies, we’d love you to join this mailing list. So get on over to http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-companies, sign up, and let’s get chatting about how to solve the main problems around open company data.

Chris

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