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Announcing the Frictionless Data Tool Fund

- February 18, 2019 in Frictionless Data

Apply for a mini-grant to build an open source tool for reproducible research using Frictionless Data tooling, specs, and code base

Today, Open Knowledge International is launching the Frictionless Data Tool Fund, a mini-grant scheme offering grants of $5,000 to support individuals or organisations in developing an open tool for reproducible science or research built using the Frictionless Data specifications and software. We welcome submissions of interest until 15 April 2019. The Tool Fund is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at Open Knowledge International. This project, funded by the Sloan Foundation, applies our work in Frictionless Data to data-driven research disciplines, in order to facilitate reproducible data workflows in research contexts. At its core, Frictionless Data is a set of specifications for data and metadata interoperability, accompanied by a collection of software libraries that implement these specifications, and a range of best practices for data management. The core specification, the Data Package, is a simple and practical “container” for data and metadata. With this announcement we are looking for individuals or organizations of scientists, researchers, developers, or data wranglers to build upon our existing open source tools and code base to create novel tooling for reproducible research. The fund will be accepting submissions from now until 15 April 2019 for work which will be completed by the end of the year. This builds on the success of the first tool fund in 2017 which funded the creation of libraries for Frictionless Data specifications in a range of additional programming languages. For this year’s Tool Fund, we would like the community to work on tools that can make a difference to researchers and scientists. Applications can be submitted by filling out this form by 15 April 2019 latest. The Frictionless Data team will notify all applicants whether they have been successful or not at the very latest by the end of May. Successful candidates will then be invited for interviews before the final decision is given. We will base our choice on evidence of technical capabilities and also favour applicants who demonstrate an interest in practical use of the Frictionless Data Specifications. Preference will also be given to applicants who show an interest working with and maintaining these tools going forward. For more questions on the fund, speak directly to us on our  forum, on our Gitter chat or email us at

Warming up to csv,conf.v4

- February 1, 2019 in #CSVconf, Events, Frictionless Data

On May 8 and 9 2019, the fourth version of csv,conf is set to take place at Eliot Center in Portland, Oregon, United States. csv,conf is a community conference bringing together diverse groups to discuss data topics, and features stories about data sharing and data analysis from science, journalism, government, and open source. Over two days, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about ongoing work, share skills, exchange ideas (and stickers!) and kickstart collaborations. This year, our keynotes include Teon L. Brooks, a data scientists at Mozilla, and Kirstie Whitaker, a research fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, with more announcements to come soon. If you would like to share your work, submissions for session proposals for our 25-minute talk slots are open from now until end of day, February 9, 2019. When csv,conf first launched in July 2014 as a conference for data makers everywhere, it adopted the comma-separated-values format in its branding metaphorically. However, as a data conference that brings together people from different disciplines and domains, conversations and anecdotes shared at csv,conf are not limited to the CSV file format. We are keen on getting as many people as possible to csv,conf,v4, and the conference will award travel grants to subsidize travel and associated costs for interested parties that lack the resources and support to get them to Portland. To that end, we have set up our honor-system, conference ticketing page on Eventbrite. We encourage you to get your conference tickets as soon as possible, keeping in mind that as a non-profit and community-run conference, proceeds from ticket sales will help cover our catering and venue costs in addition to offering travel support for speakers and attendees where needed. Additionally, Open Knowledge International will host a community event during the main csv,conf meeting where you can learn more about our Network and catch up with what the community has been doing. From the work on data literacy with School of Data, to the community involved on Open Data Day and initiatives on OpenGLAM, personal data and open education, we want to share with you the state of open knowledge in our Network.  We will be announcing more details about our community event soon! From the first three conferences held in the last four years, csv,conf has brought together over 500 participants from 30 countries. More than 300 talks spanning over 180 hours have been presented, packaged and shared on our YouTube channel. Many post-conference narratives and think pieces, as well as interdisciplinary collaborations have also surfaced from previous conferences. This is only part of the story, and we can’t wait to see and hear from you in Portland in May, and are excited for all that awaits! Csv,conf,v4 is supported by the Sloan Foundation through OKIs Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research grant, and the Frictionless Data team is part of the conference committee. We are happy to answer all questions you may have or offer any clarifications if needed. Feel free to reach out to us on

The commallama at csv,conf,v3 will return in this year!

Introducing our new Product Manager for Frictionless Data

- November 5, 2018 in Frictionless Data, Open Science

Earlier this year OKI announced new funding from  The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to explore “Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research”. Over the next three years we will be working closely with researchers to support the way they are using data with the Frictionless Data software and tools. The project is delighted to announce that Lilly Winfree has come on board as Product Manager to work with research communities on a series of focussed pilots in the research space and to help us develop focussed training and support for researchers. Data practices in scientific research are transforming as researchers are facing a reproducibility revolution; there is a growing push to make research data more open, leading to more transparent and reproducible science. I’m really excited to join the team at OKI, whose mission of creating a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few really resonates with me and my desires to make science more open. During my grad school years as a neuroscience researcher, I was often frustrated with “closed” practices (inaccessible data, poorly documented methods, paywalled articles) and I became an advocate for open science and open data. While investigating brain injury in fruit flies (yes, fruit fly brains are actually quite similar to human brains!), I taught myself coding to analyse and visualise my research data. After my PhD research, I worked on integrating open biological data with the Monarch Initiative, and delved into the open data licensing world with the Reusable Data Project. I am excited to take my passion for open data and join OKI to work on the Frictionless Data project, where I will get to go back to my scientific research roots and work with researchers to make their data more open, shareable, and reproducible. Most people that use data know the frustrations of missing values, unknown variables, and confusing schema (just to name a few). This “friction” in data can lead to massive amounts of time being spent on data cleaning, with little time left for analysis. The Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project will build upon years of work at OKI focused on making data more structured, discoverable, and usable.  The core of Frictionless Data is the data preparation and validation stages, and the team has created specifications and tooling centered around these steps. For instance, the Data Package Creator packages tabular data with its machine readable metadata, allowing users to understand the data structure, meaning of values, how the data was created, and the license. Also, users can validate their data for structure and content with Goodtables, which reduces errors and increases data quality. By creating specifications and tooling and promoting best practices, we are aiming to make data more open and more easily shareable among people and between various tools. For the next stage of the project, I will be working with organisations on pilots with researchers to work on reducing the friction in scientists’ data. I will be amassing a network of researchers interested in open data and open science, and giving trainings and workshops on using the Frictionless Data tools and specs. Importantly, I will work with researchers to integrate these tools and specs into their current workflows, to help shorten the time between experiment → data → analysis → insight. Ultimately, we are aiming to make science more open, efficient, and reproducible. Are you a researcher interested in making your data more open? Do you work in a research-related organization and want to collaborate on a pilot? Are you an open source developer looking to build upon frictionless tools? We’d love to chat with you! We are eager to work with scientists from all disciplines.  If you are interested, connect with the project team on the public gitter channel, join our community chat, or email Lilly at!

Lilly in the fruit fly lab