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 public domain works from galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
We want to change institutional policies so that public information, publicly funded research and public domain cultural works are common public goods that everyone can benefit from.
We want to change sociocultural norms and individual behaviour so that more people voluntarily open up and are willing to collaborate around the knowledge they create.
And finally we want to increase the impact of the commons on the world by encouraging more people to use open material to change the world for the better. We want to help more people to translate digital bits and bytes into knowledge, and knowledge into action.
In order to make progress towards these things we need a proactive global community to promote open knowledge around the world, across different domains, disciplines, fields and institutions.
We Need You!
In the last few months we’ve been looking at how we can better support local and domain specific affinity groups around the world. If you share our vision and want to work with us to realise it, then you can now:
- Join or start a Local Group: http://okfn.org/local/
- Join or start a Local Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/OpenKnowledgeFoundation/
- Apply to become an Local Ambassador: http://okfn.org/local/apply/
- Join or suggest a Working Group: http://okfn.org/wg/
- Join the new Taskforce: http://okfn.org/taskforce/
What Can You Do?
We’re always looking for energetic and talented people to help us to promote the idea of open knowledge, and to think of new ways of putting it to work to improve the world. Regardless of your background or expertise there are many different things that you can do to help. For example, you could:
- Help to organise or co-ordinate open knowledge events and activities in your country – or blog about open knowledge developments on behalf of your local group
- Start or contribute to a project that enables more people to use open material – such as OKF Deutschland’s Offener Haushalt or Offenes Parlament
- Help to map or evaluate open materials or open policies in your country – such as OKFN France recently did with their Open Data Census
- Join our community of coders around OKFN Labs who are building new open source tools for open knowledge like Crowdcrafting or Recline.JS
- Encourage institutions to open up their holdings, or engage with key stakeholders to create or strengthen open access or open government data policies and practises
- Help to pioneer or promote standards like the Panton Principles in different fields
- Create, translate or add to instructive or promotional materials like the Open Definition, the Open Data Handbook, or the Data Journalism Handbook
- Raise awareness of the digital commons through projects that curate or highlight different resources – like The Public Domain Review
Get In Touch
Whether you want to help build a useful website, help to run a campaign, or connect with other people interested in the digital commons in your field or in your region, please join and introduce yourself on the relevant local group or working group mailing list, or join the taskforce (or drop us a line if you’d like to help out with anything else).
Many of our key working group and local group coordinators will be convening in Cambridge next week to discuss and plot how we can continue to build a stronger and better connected global network to support the digital commons. More on this very soon!
Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at jonathangray.org and he tweets at @jwyg.