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Open Knowledge Festival – the story so far…

- July 16, 2014 in OKFestival

It is hot hot hot here in Berlin, and the Festival is in full swing! In every corner, little groups are clustered, sharing ideas, plotting, and putting faces to profiles. From graffiti walls to linked budgets, from destroying printers to building a social contract for open data – the only problem is that you can’t be in five places at once! Last night we proudly announced our School of Data Fellows – 12 amazing individuals from around the world, who will work with civil society and journalists in their regions to bring the power of open data to their work. You can read all about them here. Today we heard inspiring keynotes from Patrick Alley, founder of Global Witness, and Beatriz Busaniche, founder of Wikimedia Argentina. We also heard from the awesome Ory Okolloh, activist, lawyer and blogger from Kenya, before dispersing into a whirlwind of workshops, talks and connecting. Here are a few photos from the past couple of days. We’ll bring you more tales from Berlin soon, and you can keep up to date on twitter, storify and through the Festival website. IMG_0152

The Tragic Consequences of Secret Contracts

- April 14, 2014 in Campaigning, Featured, Stop Secret Contracts

The following post is by Seember Nyager, CEO of the Public and Private Development Centre in Nigeria, one of our campaign partners in the Stop Secret Contracts campaign procurement montior Every day, through secret contracts being carried out within public institutions, there is confirmation that the interest of the public is not served. A few days ago, young Nigerians in Abuja were arrested for protesting against the reckless conduct of the recruitment exercise at the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) that led to the death of 19 applicants. Although the protesters were later released, the irony still stings that whilst no one has been held for the resulting deaths from the reckless recruitment conduct, the young voices protesting against this grave misconduct are being silenced by security forces. Most heart-breaking is the reality that the deadly outcomes of the recruitment exercise could have been avoided with more conscientious planning, through an adherence to due process and diligence in the selection of consultants to carry out the exercise. A report released by Premium times indicates that the recruitment exercise was conducted exclusively by the Minister of Interior who hand-picked the consultant that carried out the recruitment exercise at the NIS. The non-responsiveness of the Ministry in providing civic organizations including BudgIT and PPDC with requested details of the process through which the consultant was selected gives credence to the reports of due process being flouted. The non-competitive process through which the consultant was selected is in sharp breach of the Public procurement law and its results have undermined the concept of value for money in the award of contracts for public services. Although a recruitment website was built and deployed by the hired consultant, the information gathered by the website does not seem to have informed the plan for the conduct of the recruitment exercise across the country which left Nigerians dead in its wake. Whilst the legality of the revenue generated from over 710,000 applicants is questioned, it is appalling that these resources were not used to ensure a better organized recruitment exercise. This is not the first time that public institutions in Nigeria have displayed reckless conduct in the supposed administration of public services to the detriment of Nigerians. The recklessness with which the Ministry of Aviation took a loan to buy highly inflated vehicles, the difficulty faced by BudgIT and PPDC in tracking the exact amount of SURE-P funds spent, the 20 billion Dollars unaccounted for by the NNPC are a few of the cases where Nation building and development is undermined by public institutions. In the instance of the NIS recruitment conducted three weeks ago, some of the consequences have been immediate and fatal, yet there is foot dragging in apportioning liability and correcting the injustice that has been dealt to Nigerians. On the same issue, public resources have been speedily deployed to silence protesters. procurement monitor2 It is time that our laws which require due process and diligence are fully enforced. Peaceful protests should no longer be clamped down because Nigerians are justified for being outraged by any form of institutional recklessness. The Nigerian Immigration Service recruitment exercise painfully illustrates that the outcomes of secret contracts could be deadly and such behaviour cannot be allowed to continue. We must stop institutional recklessness, we must stop secret contracts. Ms. Seember Nyager coordinates procurement monitoring in Nigeria. Follow Nigerian Procurement Monitors at @Nig_procmonitor.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, April 2014

- April 2, 2014 in Featured, Newsletter

Hi!

After last month’s launch-fest, March has been a thoughtful month, with reflective and planning pieces taking centre-stage on our blog. Of course OKFestival has been ramping up since its launch, giving more detail on topics and running sessions to help with submitting proposals; however we’ve also had more from the Community Survey results, as well as guest posts dealing with ‘open washing’ and exploring what open data means to different people. Keep checking in on the Community Stories Tumblr for the latest news on what people are doing around the world to push the agenda for Open Knowledge. This month’s updates come from India, Tanzania, Greece, Malta, Russia and Germany, and from OpenMENA (Middle East and North Africa) – the new group focusing on Open Knowledge in the Arab world. Also, congratulations to our very own Rufus Pollock, named a Tech Hero for Good by NESTA :-)

OKFestival 2014

Plans have been moving at pace over the last month. So many proposals came in, and so many people wanted more time to submit, we extended the deadline for proposals to March 30th. We’ll have to wait until May to learn if our proposals have been accepted, and later in May for the programme announcement, but many thanks to all who have proposed sessions – and good luck to you! It’s not long to go now, so don’t forget to buy your ticket… If you need distraction from the wait, check out this flash-back to last year: the 2013 Open Reader, a collection of stories and articles inspired by Open Knowledge Conference 2013.

Stop Secret Contracts

Last month we launched our campaign for a stop to secret contracts, asking various organisations to partner with us and asking you who care about openness to sign up to show your support. Spread the word to your colleagues, friends and family to show that we will not stand for corruption, fraud, unaccountability or backdoor deals. Signatures not enough? To get more involved please contact us and help us stop secret contracts. #SecretContracts

Coming Up

Easter Eggs 1 The School of Data heads to Perugia! Europe’s Biggest Data Journalism Event, from The European Journalism Centre, Open Knowledge and the International Journalism Festival, the School of Data Journalism takes place 30th April to 4th May. This event has an impressive programme with free entry to panel and workshops so check it out and register to save your place. OGP grows to 62 countries. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) will welcome 8 new countries during April: ‘Cohort 4′ consists of Australia, Ireland, Malawi, Mongolia, New Zealand, Sierra Leone, Serbia, and Trinidad and Tobago. And… Time-zone changes! It messes with schedules and deadlines, but adds to the fun of this time of year. All the best from Open Knowledge!

From Health in the UK to Education in Nigeria – Stop Secret Contracts

- March 24, 2014 in Campaigning, Featured, Open Government Data, Public Money, Stop Secret Contracts

Today it was announced that fraud and error in the UK National Health Service are leading to the loss of around £7 billion each year. This could pay for about 250,000 new nurses, and comes at a time when the service is struggling more than ever under the pressures of austerity. One of the main ways that money is lost is overcharging and underdelivery by contractors. Outsourcing of health provision to unaccountable contractors is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and it provides fertile ground for fraud and corruption. And the public has no effective means of redress when things go wrong. In Nigeria, civil society groups are being denied access to crucial contracts being drawn up to bring about educational reforms. Nigeria has been found to be the country with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, and educational reform is undoubtedly needed. But information about the contracts involved is being masked by “commercial sensitivity.” The lack of transparency stifles participation, reducing the likelihood of genuine innovation. An inclusive education system which meets the needs of all Nigerians will not be achieved when the process is shrouded in secrecy. Across the world, contracting is the aspect of government which is most open to abuse. Governments hide behind claims of commercial sensitivity or national security to avoid exposing their contracts to public scrutiny. stopsecretcontracts logo This month we launched our Stop Secret Contracts campaign, calling on world leaders to open up the procurements process. At the most basic level, the contracting data must be made available to the public. This includes:
  1. The full text of contracts;
  2. Key documents such as pre-studies, bid documents, performance evaluations, guarantees, and auditing reports;
  3. Information about contract formation, such as planning process, procurement method, and evaluation criteria;
  4. Information about performance and completion, such as delivery schedules, status of implementation, payments and risk assessments.
But we also want to see stronger commitments towards participation and accountability, as laid out in the Open Government Guide. As contractors play a growing role in the delivery of public services everywhere, we must ensure that we do not lose democratic control over vital aspects of our societies. We need YOU to help us spread the word. We need you to sign the petition so that this issue is taken seriously by the G20 and OGP. Organisations who are working on this crucial problem need to be able to show that many voices are united behind them. Once you’ve signed, there’s more you can do to help. You could write a blog post – like our Bangladesh and Sweden Local Groups have done. You could follow @StopSecretContracts, and retweet interesting and relevant things using #SecretContracts. You could join the Open Contracting Partnership’s community of practice to get more involved with policy conversations. You could start contributing to the C20 Conversations, the civil society engagement process around this year’s G20 in Australia – especially in the governance group. You could check out the list of supporting organisations: if any of them are local to you, why not get in touch and see if you can help them push forward? There’s a whole load of resources available if you’d like to learn more about open contracting and why it matters. The Open Contracting Partnership have produced these Global Principles for Open Contracting, and the Sunlight Foundation has these complementary guidelines for open data in procurements. This report, Publish What You Buy makes the case for openness, and this entry in the Open Government Guide is a great starting point for understanding the issues and the kinds of political commitments we need to see. From next Monday we will be publishing a series of blog posts from different organisations who are supporting the Stop Secret Contracts campaign. If you have stories to share about the problems of secrecy in contracting, get in touch with contact@stopsecretcontracts.org

Rufus Pollock named Tech Hero for Good

- March 20, 2014 in News, Our Work

Rufus Pollock, Open Knowledge Foundation Nesta, the UK innovation charity, has announced it’s Ten Tech Heroes for Good – and Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Rufus Pollock, is on the list! We’re really proud that the achievements of Rufus and the Open Knowledge Foundation have been recognised in this way: focusing on the power of openness to achieve positive social change. As Nesta say in their blog: One of the truths we believe in at Nesta is: Technology won’t save us, people will. It’s a truth that’s often misunderstood by the tech evangelists, the singularity obsessives, and all the dystopian bandwagoners who think that technology is an alien force that we have to fight to control, otherwise it will eventually control us. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Technology is an enabling force that allows us to improve the world around us. It is part of our human fabric, not some alien species. That’s why we wanted to pick out some of the brightest and best talents around the UK and show the great ideas they’ve come up with that use digital technology as the enabling force to improve how we live. The selection panel was made up of Nesta experts, and set out to identify tech leaders with revolutionary ideas across the board. Rufus was recognised particularly for the groundbreaking work at CKAN, the open source platform which powers many open data portals around the world, including the UK government, the US government, and the EU Open Data Portal. CKAN is a key driver of collaborative and transparent government in the 21st century, providing the foundations of an open data ecosystem. WDMMG Bubbles Other Open Knowledge Foundation projects which received special mention were Where Does My Money Go?, our budget visualisation tool which was the starting point of our bigger OpenSpending project to map all government transactions around the world; Open Data Commons which provides the legal tools that enable the open publication of data; and Open Shakespeare, our free online database of all the Bard’s works. Other Tech Heroes celebrated in the Nesta list were Eben Upton, the inventor of the Raspberry Pi credit card computer; Iris Lapinski, CEO of Apps for Good, an open-source education technology programme; Linda Sandvik, co-Founder of CodeClub, a free national after-school programme teaching programing; Chris Lintott, founder of the Zooniverse citizen science platform; Sue Black, leading advocate for women in computing; Mohammad Al-Ubaydli, co-founder of Patients Know Best which is revolutionising patient-doctor relationships; Emma Mulqueeny, founder of Rewired Reality, bringing together skilled innovators with the organisations who need them; Raspberry PI Tom Farrand, co-founder of Good for Nothing, building communities to help grassroots innovators achieve social good; and Dominic Campbell, co-founder of Patchwork HQ, a tool to enable better coordination among social care professionals. Many of these projects include open source and open data elements, and all of them are using technology to empower people and create more just societies. We are really excited to be part of this movement.

The Open Knowledge Foundation Newsletter, March 2014

- March 3, 2014 in Newsletter

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Hi!

What a month! February may be the shortest month (at least, for those using the Gregorian calendar), but we’ve sure made the most of it. It seems to be the month of “the launch”: the campaign to Stop Secret Contracts; OKFestival’s website, ticket sales and Call for Proposals; Open Data Day 2014; Brazil and Spain as the two newest Chapters; a revamped Public Domain Review; a local City Census to complement the Country Census and resulting Index; and the Impact Stories competition for the Partnership for Open Data! Also, Open Knowledge Central published the results of the Community Survey taken at the end of the 2013 (huge thanks to all of you who contributed) and we’re digesting to learn how we can support the amazing Open communities better. February is also known for St Valentine’s Day… If you are craving some romance in March, have a look at the ‘little book of love’, celebrated by the Public Domain Review. Like the sound of what we’re doing? The Open Knowledge Foundation 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.

OKFestival 2014 launched

We’re very excited to announce the Open Knowledge Festival 2014! This global, inclusive, and participatory event is taking place July 15th – 17th in Berlin, Germany. With the main themes of Knowledge, Tools and Society – the three main levers of change – this will be a platform for the change Open Knowledge is making around the world. As for what the content will be, that is up to you! This will be a crowd-sourced event, built by the community. Visit okfestival.org/programme/ to see what sort of proposals we are looking for. Early bird tickets are now available – get yours at okfestival.org/tickets/

Stop Secret Contracts

This month saw the launch of our new global campaign, Stop Secret Contracts. Together with over 30 civil society groups around the world, we are calling on world leaders to end secrecy in contracting. Millions of dollars of public money are lost every year to fraud, corruption and lining the pockets of unaccountable corporations. Citizens have the right to know who is doing business with their governments and on what terms. Transparency in government contracting is crucial to democracy. Sign up to the campaign to Stop Secret Contracts now.

Open Data Day 2014

This year’s Open Data Day was the biggest yet, with over 190 events taking place around the world. The global network gathered in person and remotely, with events from Nepal to Egypt, looking at everything from local government spending, to flood data, to mashing up public domain content into cool videos. Lots of stories are reported on the Open Knowledge Foundation Community Stories Tumblr, and there’s a round up post on the blog. We are proud to support Open Data Day, which has fast become a key date in the information activist calendar. The diversity of events produced across the world is a fantastic expression of the vibrant international movement which is building for open data.

New Chapters welcomed

The Open Knowledge ‘official’ network continues to grow, welcoming both Brazil and Spain as Chapters. They join Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Greece, Spain and Switzerland as the group of organisations under the umbrella of Open Knowledge Foundation, making a real difference for Open Data and Open Knowledge in their areas and world-wide. You can read more about the formalisation of Spain and Brazil, as well as what a Chapter is and how to become one, on our blog and Local Groups pages.

Impact Stories

How does Open Data and Open Knowledge affect you? This month, Partnership for Open Data launched the Impact Stories Competition. Prizes are available – 1000 USD for the winner, and 500 USD each for the two runners-up – submit your story now (before the 24th March) to be in with a chance of winning. Check out the blog post and website for more details, and share your stories with us.

Stop Secret Contracts: new global campaign launched

- February 27, 2014 in Featured

Today we at the Open Knowledge Foundation are launching a new global campaign, Stop Secret Contracts. Secret contracting leads to fraud, corruption, and unaccountability. It means the loss of millions of dollars of public money every year. Join our call to world leaders to end secrecy in public contracting. Secrecy in contracting is leading to the loss of millions of dollars to corruption, mismanagement, and lining the pockets of unaccountable corporations. The global value of government contracts is estimated at $9.5 trillion, but even in countries with strong government transparency laws the contracting process is often opaque and unaccountable. In both Africa and the EU, estimates suggest that around $150 billion is lost annually to corruption and mismanagement. While these numbers are staggering, the real cost is counted in the teachers who can’t be paid, the hospitals which have no medicines, and the roads which can’t be built. In the Niger Delta, over 2 million barrels of oil are extracted every day, and yet not a single new road has been built in the region for over ten years. In post-invasion Iraq, an estimated $60 billion was lost in defence and reconstruction contracts – money which could have enabled Iraq to build enough hospitals for the entire country to have a first-class health service. Across the world, the public is losing out to private interests. Secrecy in contracting means a breakdown in public control over public money, which in its extreme forms endangers the health, futures, and lives of citizens. We must stop secret contracting now to restore trust and accountability between governments and the people. The campaign already has over 30 organisational signatories including Global Witness, Integrity Action, the International Budget Partnership, the Sunlight Foundation and Transparency International, and we’re expecting many more to join. With local organisations in countries from Hungary to Nepal to South Sudan, we will be targeting governments at both national and international levels to secure reforms. We need your support to show governments the importance of this issue. Rufus Pollock, Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation said: “Every year, millions of dollars of public money are lost to fraud, corruption, and payments to contractors that don’t deliver. Openness of key contracting information is essential to allow us to hold governments to account, and ensure that public money is used for public good.” Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of Global Witness, said: “One set of secret deals signed by the DRC government with obscure companies may have cost that state twice its annual education and health budget. Secrecy in how contracts are handed out and what they say robs citizens of the ability to know who got the contract, how they won and whether it was a good deal for their country” Rueben Lifuka, board member of Transparency International, said: “Secret contracts are never about public interest and only serve as conduits to satisfy the selfish interests of a few. Giving relevant information about public contracts to government entities, parliaments and civil society contributes to a more stable investment environment, and allows good governance and the rule of law to prevail.” If you support the aims of the campaign please sign the petition at StopSecretContracts.org. Help us make some noise about the campaign by tweeting on #SecretContracts or blogging about the issues. If you’d like to be more involved with the campaign, get in touch with contact [at] stopsecretcontracts [dot] org For more quotes and details, see our press release.

Open Knowledge Foundation Spain becomes an official Chapter

- February 25, 2014 in Featured, OKF Spain, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

We are really pleased to announce that Spain has become the latest Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Celebration of Light: Spain Last night, during the inaugural I OKFN awards, organised by Open Knowledge Foundation Spain, the group announced to a packed room of open data advocates, government representatives, and community members that they have become an official Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. The awards ceremony was established by Open Knowledge Foundation Spain to recognise the incredible efforts of individuals and groups around the world in open data, open knowledge and transparency. It therefore provided the perfect opportunity to recognise the incredible efforts of the group themselves, by announcing their transition to Chapter status. spain Getting to this point has taken a whole lot of work from a whole lot of people. With 50 paying members, and over 200 people on their mailing list, the organisation has deep community foundations. Around 1000 people have attended events organised by the Chapter in the last year, all of whom have helped bring them to this exciting stage. The group has developed amazingly fast, having only been established around a year ago, which is a testament to the immense dedication and determination of those involved. The Chapter is strongly committed to transparency and openness within its own organisational structures. They have developed a format – “transparencia radical” or “extreme transparency” – which lays out best practices and mechanisms for ensuring genuine accountability and openness, and which aims to be reproducible and applicable in many contexts. Their board meetings are also open – you can view the video from November’s meeting here – and they aim for real time accounting transparency. In sum, Open Knowledge Foundation Spain has genuine participation and openness baked into its core, in a way which will undoubtedly be inspirational for other groups around the world. Juan Lopez The new Chapter have tonnes of exciting stuff coming up over the coming months. They have built a dynamic data journalism community in Spain, and will be hosting a major data journalism event in May, Periodismo Datos, as well as bringing out a new edition of the Data Journalism handbook in April. They are keen to support and collaborate with other Open Knowledge Foundation groups, particularly those in Spanish-speaking countries. Having already translated and launched a Spanish language version of the School of Data, Escuela de Datos, they hope to continue strengthening and growing the movement for open knowledge abroad as well as at home. Do get in touch with them for more details. mar cabra Rufus Pollock, founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation, spoke to the attendees at the awards ceremony by video, saying: “This is a great moment. We are delighted to recognise Open Knowledge Foundation Spain in this way. It is a really significant recognition of their achievement, their sustainability, and what they’ve already achieved within the community. It is brilliant to see the interconnection and flow of ideas between the Chapters, and Spain will undoubtedly inspire many others.” Alberto Abella, President of the Open Knowledge Foundation Spain said: “Many thanks to the team and all the members of the Open Knowledge Foundation Spain. Without their strong co-operation and dedication this would not have been possible. And of course, the best is yet to come in 2014!” Images from top to bottom: Eduard Ereza and Jorge Martin, developers sued by local governments for using data from local webs to create apps; Juan Lopez de Uralde, Leader of the political party EQUO; and Mar Cabra, Vicepresident of Open Knowledge Foundation Spain.

Brazil becomes the Open Knowledge Foundation’s first Full Chapter in Latin America

- February 18, 2014 in Featured, OKF Brazil, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

We’re delighted to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation Brazil has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become a, full, official Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. You can read the official announcement on our press page, and here their coordinator, Everton Alvarenga, tells us more. In July 2011, during the Open Knowledge Conference in Berlin, the formation of a Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Brazil was proposed. It was exciting to see that global network of people opening up knowledge in several fields: government data, educational resources, scientific knowledge and cultural goods. In Brazil, several groups and individuals had already been doing amazing projects related to open knowledge (or “conhecimento livre”, as we translate it), from volunteers involved in the Wikimedia projects to members of the civil society trying to reform our outdated copyright law, from professors and students advocating for open educational resources to researchers trying to improve the access to scientific knowledge, and from developers and journalists starting to use modern tools to improve data analysis to create stories to developers and activists raising awareness of the importance of government date to be open and giving examples on how to use the available data. 2014-02-01 15.25.52 In the same spirit that guides the global Open Knowledge Foundation Network as a whole, the Brazil Local Group has been working for the last 2 years to form a local network supporting open knowledge, which we call “Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre”. We have brought together a national network aiming to connect all the amazing actors of the free culture movement and open movement in the country. We place a high value on our community roots, emphasizing decentralized collaboration. We firmly believe that all the fantastic groups and individuals building towards openness in Brazil will be stronger together, and our main task is to facilitate this, be it through projects aligned with our mission to open all forms of knowledge or supporting the communities part of our network. To make this possible, the hard work of many people was necessary. We have been participating in and organizing events to promote open knowledge in several ways: at the international and local level, and also in the context of Latin America. We are supporting an active open science working group, and supporting other civil society organization to understand the importance of open data, for example through our visualizations of budget data. Our group has also actively bringing the School of Data to Portuguese speakers and we are planning to continue with several activities in the following years. And there is more: with some of our partners, from academics to other civil society organizations, we have started to work as a hosting organization, making projects to happen in a more dynamic and less bureaucratic way. Being a very young organization, we are still building our governance with a focus on community-driven decision making whenever possible, and we are also working to have a channel for crowd-funded projects to achieve our goals. 2014-02-01 14.01.55 Going forward, we see big challenges and opportunities for Open Knowledge Brazil, the “Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre”. We see the OKF Brazil as a key driver for a truly participatory democracy in the country, with access to knowledge and openness in several sectors as a key to our development. One of main challenges will be to build an organization with sustainable projects and give continuity to several good initiatives from the civil society we have seen that ended in nothing, but we are willing to change that. And you all are very welcome to join our network through your collaboration or new projects we can make together!

Top 10 Greatest Hits of 2013!

- December 20, 2013 in Featured, Our Work

The year is drawing to a close. Before we tumble headlong into the new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on the incredible success of 2013. Here’s our Top 10 Greatest Hits of the last year, in reverse order…

Launch of data.gov

In May, one of the most significant CKAN instances ever was launched, in the shape of the new US government open data portal, data.gov. The total number of CKAN instances is unknown, as the software is fully open source, but at least seventy now exist around the world.

Open Economics

Opening economics makes for better research, as well as more just and sustainable outcomes. Great progress was made in the last year, including YourTopia Italy, an award-winning multidimensional index of social progress; the Failed Banks tracker, a visualisation of the big bank failures during the recent financial crash; and a set of Open Economics Principles, which have been widely endorsed by the economics community including the World Bank’s Data Development Group.

Crowdcrafting

Simulated Bubble Chamber Crowdcrafting is a free platform for creating projects which need lots of people to take small actions. Since its launch in April, the uptake has been inspiring: around 150 investigations are currently being hosted on the site, including FrackFinder, a project to track the growth of highly controversial “fracking” for gas in the north-eastern U.S.; TweetClicker, which identified tweets relevant to disaster response teams during the devastating cyclone Yolanda; and Antimatter, investigating how antimatter particles respond to gravity. The tasks are designed for anyone to contribute: check it out.

Spending Stories

Open Spending rounded off a great year with the launch of the Spending Stories app, which enables citizens and journalists to make sense of the numbers in the news. What does it really mean that the UK school meals programme costs £6million per year? For one thing, that it costs about one fifth of annual spending on the monarchy…

OKCon

This year’s OKCon saw 1000 of you join us for a profoundly engaging and passionate week of talks and workshops in Geneva. Inspiring talks from the likes of Jay Naidoo and Ellen Miller emphasised the social change potential of open data when applied to governance and development issues. Let’s make it 2000 for OKFestival in Berlin in 2014!

Open Data Index

This year saw the release of the Open Data Index, the product of an amazing community effort to assess the openness efforts of governments around the world. The Index will be a crucial benchmark in the coming years, enabling civil society to hold governments to account on their open promises.

Small Data

The big trend for Big Data is missing the more important revolution: #smalldata. As the cost of storage space plummets, there is a mass democratisation of data storage and processing. The real potential of the age of technology lies in the possibilities this creates for a decentralised, distributed ecosystem of data and knowledge – not in the centralisation and control of Big Data.

The Public Domain Review

Hailed as “magnificent…a model of digital curation” by the Guardian, the Public Domain Review has continued to build an incredible treasure trove of delights from across the public domain. The most popular posts this year were a dictionary of Victorian slang and illustrations from a Victorian book on magic, with the numerous other curios including a video of a dog’s head being revived. The Public Domain Review: making copyright questions cool.

School of Data

Open data alone does not empower people or produce change. Ordinary people need the skills to turn that data into knowledge: to use it to answer their questions and make the changes they want to see in the world. The School of Data has had an incredible year of sharing these skills across the globe, training over 1200 people from Nairobi to Bogota. There are now Portuguese and Spanish versions of the School as well, and altogether over 2000 have taken part in online trainings.

YOU!

ambassador mosaic
Some of our amazing ambassadors
The last year has seen an incredible expansion of our Local Groups Network, now at over 40 worldwide. We want to say Thank You so much to all of you, all around the world, for your hard work, creativity, and dedication. It’s brilliant to ring in the new year with the launch of the Brazil Chapter, the first Open Knowledge Foundation Chapter in Latin America, and we’re looking forward to seeing many more successful transitions over the coming years. We can’t wait to celebrate our tenth birthday with all of our fantastic community during 2014. Happy New Year everyone!