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How could a global public database help to tackle corporate tax avoidance?

A new research report published today looks at the current state and future prospects of a global public database of corporate accounts. Shipyard of the Dutch East India Company in Amsterdam, 1750. Wikipedia. The multinational corporation has become one of the most powerful and influential forms of economic organisation in the modern world. Emerging at […]

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 Initiative: Open Data for Tax Justice #OD4TJ

Every year countries lose billions of dollars to tax avoidance, tax evasion and more generally to illicit financial flows. According to a recent IMF estimate around $700 billion of tax revenues is lost each year due to profit-shifting. In developing countries the loss is estimated to be around $200 billion, which as a share of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sign our petition asking the UK government to stop secret corporate lobbying

Today the Open Knowledge Foundation and the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency are co-launching a petition endorsed by a group of transparency and civil society organisations, asking the UK government to rewrite the lobbying bill to give citizens a proper register of lobbyists in the UK As we’ve written about before, the lobbying register proposed in […]

What needs to happen to enable citizens to Follow the Money around the world?

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. A few weeks back, we launched a new global “Follow the Money” network of organisations pushing for the transparency needed to enable citizens to hold decision-makers to account […]

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 […]

The role of data in European democracy

Cross-posted from the Digital Agenda for Europe Blog. This week campaigners and officials from over 60 countries around the world are meeting in London for the Open Government Partnership Summit to discuss how to make governments more open. A major focus will be how to make official information available and accessible for all. At the […]

Next Steps on “Follow the Money” – from OKCon to the Open Government Partnership Summit

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. Last month we announced the Open Knowledge Foundation and ONE’s plans to support and strengthen the community of activists and advocacy organisations working to enable citizens to follow […]

“Follow the Money” with ONE and the Open Knowledge Foundation

The following post is from Alan Hudson, Policy Director (Transparency & Accountability) at ONE and Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Ideas at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We want to see a world in which citizens are able to hold decision-makers to account for the use of public money, using information about where it comes […]

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 […]

The Data Journalism Handbook now available in French, Spanish and Russian

Last year the Open Knowledge Foundation worked with the European Journalism Centre to publish the Data Journalism Handbook, a free, openly licensed reference book showing journalists how to use data to improve the news. The fact that the book is openly licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike license has enabled various translation and localisation initiatives […]

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 Science Ministers Support Open Data in Science

As you may have seen, open data and transparency is set to be a major topic of discussion at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland next week. We were pleased to see a joint statement from the G8 science ministers released yesterday – expressing a strong commitment to open data in science. The third section […]

Happy 9th Birthday to the Open Knowledge Foundation!

If you’d like to give the Open Knowledge Foundation a birthday gift, please consider making a regular or one-off donation to support our work opening up knowledge around the world! Nine years ago today the Open Knowledge Foundation was born. We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in Cambridge in 2004. From government […]

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 […]

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 […]

Landmark ruling will enable more lifesaving generic drugs in developing countries

Earlier this week the Guardian and the BBC reported on a landmark ruling in India which will hopefully pave the way for greater access to lifesaving generic drugs in developing countries. The Indian supreme court has rejected a new patent on a “slightly altered” version of Glivec, a cancer treatment drug developed by the pharmaceutical […]

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 […]

Andrew Stott joins OKFN Advisory Board

We’re very pleased to announce that Andrew Stott, the UK’s former Director for Transparency and Digital Engagement who pioneered data.gov.uk, has joined the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Advisory Board. For those of you who aren’t familiar with him already from our events or from our open-government mailing list, here’s a brief bio: Andrew Stott was the […]