What is the blog about?

The Open Knowledge Foundation blog is the place to find out about what’s going on across the digital commons, and to share your news with the rest of the world. We feature stories about how people are helping to open up more of the world’s public information and how this information is being used to change the world for the better.

We have a large global readership – from policy-makers in Reykjavik to hackers in Mexico City – and a growing community of contributors.

Tell us your stories!

If you have a story to share, or a suggestion for something you think we should be covering, we’d love to hear from you. We’re particularly interested in:

  • How civil society organisation are using open data to address local and global issues
  • Opinion pieces about new challenges or opportunities for citizens and civil society organisations using data
  • Reports about new developments related to open data, open content, and the public domain
  • Interviews and features about Open Knowledge Network projects and collaborations
  • Regular updates from our Local Groups and Network Chapters

The OKFN blog is primarily in English but we can provide support for non-English writers. Get in touch with us at blog@okfn.org for further details on translation.

Writing guidelines

We’ve come up with a few guidelines to help you make your post great:

  • Keep it snappy. 800-1000 words is plenty. Assume that your reader has limited time and limited attention. Think about what it is you want to tell people, and make sure you get into it your first or second paragraph. We can link through to a longer post if you’ve edited it down. (Occasionally we do run longer pieces – so let us know if you think you really need more words!)
  • Write for a general audience. Limit the use of acronyms and jargon. Remember the main blog is directed at a wider readership than just the open data community.
  • Keep it fairly simple, chatty, and exciting. For more specialist and technical posts, one of our other blogs may be a more suitable fit.
  • Why should people care about your blog post? Tell us about what makes your story different. To keep your posts interesting, be sure to explain the particular challenges you have faced, the social problems your work is addressing and the overall vision that you have – the things that distinguish your experiences from those of others around the world. Anecdotes and stories are great to help with this.
  • It is not an advertisement. While we definitely want to help share the news on cool new projects, try to avoid sending us stuff which is simply self-promotion. New releases and launches may be newsworthy, but make sure there is relevance, substance and value in what you are presenting for our audience.
  • Include pictures! All of our posts must have pictures to accompany them, and we’re grateful for any help with sourcing striking images related to what you’re writing about. A photo, a screenshot, an illustration or a graphic – whatever it is, images will help to make your words say more.

Blog post checklist and contact us!

Email the communications team at blog@okfn.org with a draft with the information from the checklist below and we will advise further on whether the post is a good fit for our blog, any further suggestions to improve the piece and when you can expect this piece to go live.

  • 800 – 1000 words
  • Engaging and descriptive title that communicates the underlying point of the piece
  • At least two images to accompany the piece. If you are struggling to find images, you can use CC Search to find a related CC-BY or public domain image for the post topic
  • Full author name, email address and short bio (if not already on file). We also ask you to please set up a gravatar account with your email address and add a photo or avatar.
  • Run your work through a grammar checking app like Grammarly to identify grammar errors or share with other team members before sending to Communications. This will reduce the amount of copy-editing we have to do, speeding up the whole process.
  • Please include a note saying you agree to let us publish your contribution under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license. Example note: I hereby consent to you publishing my contribution under a Creative Commons Attribution license. If you would prefer a more restrictive license please provide a brief explanation.

Is our main blog the right place to submit something?

The Open Knowledge Foundation blog is mainly for succinct posts on aspects related to open data and civil society likely to be of interest to a broader audience. However if you want to expand your post, or write about something more niche, one of our other blogs may be suited to your article.

The following topic-specific blogs are always particularly keen to hear from guest contributors:

  • School of Data, our one-stop-shop for all your data-wrangling needs, where you can publish cool stories about what you’ve done with data.
  • Open Knowledge Network chapter and local group-run blogs

All contributions are openly licensed by default

By default and unless otherwise noted, everything that we publish on our blog is openly licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license. Please do feel free to share and remix our content! Be sure to also provide attribution and author acknowledgement where appropriate.

If you wish to contribute to the blog but do not wish to release your post under the terms of this license, then please get in touch with us.