The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, February 2013

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We’re fresh back from our biannual summit, which brought together members from Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups and Working Groups around the world. It was truly inspiring to hear about the vision and dedication of people in so many disparate geographical and thematic corners, all working towards a shared vision of future in which open knowledge empowers people everywhere to build to worlds they want to see. We’ve been working on making it easier for you to get involved – Find out below how you help us cultivate the digital commons.

We can only ever report on a fraction of what’s going on across the network in this newsletter – to really keep up-to-date, why not follow us on twitter, on google+ or on facebook?

The OKFN is a not-for-profit organisation – all our community services are provided openly and for free. We rely on the generosity of our institutional and individual supporters. Please visit okfn.org/support to find out more about becoming an Open Knowledge Foundation supporter.

##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 public domain works from galleries, libraries, archives and museums.

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:

We want to see a stronger and more connected network to support the digital commons – find out how we can help each other more in this blog post!


##Open Economics WG

One Working Group which has been going from strength-to-strength is Open Economics. The first International Open Economics Workshop took place on the 17th and 18th December at Emmanuel College in Cambridge. Forty academic economists, data publishers and funders of economics research, researchers and practitioners came together to build an understanding around the value of open data and open tools for the Economics profession and the obstacles to opening up information, as well as the role of greater openness of the academy. You can find out exactly what went on here.

A brilliant example of what a more open approach to economics might look like was offered by the new open database of sovereign credit risk. Its makers need you to join in with enhancing the quality of openly published financial datasets, with the ultimate aim of developing a credible, transparent and collaborative alternative to the credit ratings status quo. The power weilded by credit rating agencies has been much bemoaned throughout the economic crisis – let’s start to do something about it.


##Our news in brief…

  • After Hans Rosling’s landmark talk at OKFest 2012, it was fascinating to hear more from him about his call for opening up carbon emissions data. We’re really looking forward to seeing some action in this sphere – join our new Open Sustainability Working Group if you’d like to get involved.

  • There’s been a tonne of activity in the OpenGLAM world. From the USA, we got the good news that the Digital Library of America is recommending an open CC0 license. This was sadly followed by that the Bibliotechque nationale Francaise (BnF) is making moves to privatise sections of the public domain. We strongly condemn this course of action, and will be working with our Communia partners to persuade them against it.

  • We are super proud to announce that the new version of the U.S government’s data.gov portal will be moving over to our open source CKAN software: https://blog.okfn.org/2013/02/01/us-data-gov-ckan/. We think there are now probably around 100 CKAN powered sites – but since anyone anywhere can launch their own version, we don’t really know! It’s fantastic to see our product becoming an international standard for open data management.

  • Our Belgian group have been busy bees: find out more about their work on Open Transport and Apps4Europe here

  • How open are your country’s finances? Explore the Open Budget Survey 2012 with our interactive tool.

  • What does the history of Open look like? We want your timeline submissions for our Open Book project.

  • And whether you made it to Helsinki or not, check out the OKFest 2012 after package, with tonnes of stuff to keep you talking till we see you for this year’s event!

##Ideas and musings

Here’s a little taster of what we’ve been thinking about on the blog. Do get in touch if you have something to say!


##Upcoming events

And finally, here’s a couple of dates for your diaries. Hope to see you soon!