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Open Knowledge Belgium defines 5 priorities for the federal digital agenda

- November 10, 2020 in belgium, civic tech, Featured, federal digital agenda, General, Open Data, open knowledge belgium, priorities, prototype fund

1. The federal open data strategy

  The cabinet of Minister De Croo introduced a federal open data strategy in 2015 (1), setting out some generic guidelines. Unfortunately, these generic guidelines have had little impact in the following 5 years on the relevant policy domains, not on the Agency for Administrative Simplification (AAS) nor on BOSA Digital Transformation (managing the federal open data platform).(2) The content of the strategy was good and concepts such as ‘open by default’, ‘comply or explain’ as well as the focus on machine readability received the support of our open data community.(3) Open Knowledge Belgium would like to see concrete actions linked to the guidelines that have been defined. This is politically challenging, because the open data strategy transcends the boundaries of the federal public services. Three examples:
  • We have contacted Minister Van Quickenborne in response to the renewal of the website of the Official Gazette.(4) To make this machine-readable, agreements can be made about data models, identifiers used, and annotation of the website with semantic markup.
  • FPS Economy manages the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE). They are an important stakeholder to help shape the data model used  to describe legal entities in Belgium.(5) A European standard to describe companies already exists, but it requires expansion with code lists such as the NACEBEL codes.
  • SPF Mobility is currently working on the Belgian standard for public transport data and shared mobility (NeTEx Belgium). This should prepare us for Mobility as a Service, which promises to create a level playing field for mobility providers and route planners.
Whether we are looking at a data publication from FPS Justice, FPS Economy or FPS Mobility, we should find the same principles: an approved “open data” license, the use of Linked Data, alignment with the same base registers and the use of the same standardized code lists. Several European member states have already started working on a single overview of all “LinkedData” models, code lists, base registers, and application profiles in one location, with a steering body that oversees the interoperability between all datasets. Some inspiring examples:
  • Open Standards for Linking Organizations (OSLO) in Flanders.(6)
  • Finland with government-validated data models (7) and legislation as Linked Data.(8)
  • European Commission with ISA² core vocabularies, the SEMIC initiative , ELIs, …
  • The Netherlands with the NEN standards.(9)
  • France with ETALab publishing base registers.(10)
For Belgium, we also dream of such an overview page and steering body with representatives of the various policy areas. They approve specifications and datasets within the federal “knowledge graph”. Low hanging fruit is to elevate already existing datasets so that they comply with the data strategy: the list of addresses (BestAdd), the KBO, the Official Gazette, the NACEBEL codes, the list of municipalities and their boundaries (dataset by NGI), mobility data, and so on. This could be done by BOSA DT, where the team of Bart Hanssens already shares this vision.  

2. Appeals Committee for the Public Access Act

  There has not been an appeals committee to handle requests for Public Access for several years now. The previous government failed to put one in place. An appeals committee must be appointed as soon as possible to adhere to the Royal Decree of April 29, 2008 (11) on the composition and working method of the Committee for access to and reuse of administrative documents (Belgian Official Journal 8 May 2008). This committee must be authorized by Minister Verlinden in consultation with the Digital Agenda. For example, Belgium recently refused – as one of the only  European member states – to release its tender figures for the emergency purchases of Covid19 protective equipment, tests and respirators. (12) Nevertheless, everyone is convinced that transparency about spending public funds is a crucial element in creating public support.  

3. Open Data at KMI/IRM

  Historical weather data are not only key to studying climate change, they are also an interesting basic set to use in correlation with a lot of other data sets. Think for example of train delays or traffic jams due to weather conditions, crowd indicators (also useful in times of COVID-19) or the calibration of sensors in the public domain based on weather conditions (such as e.g., the ‘Telraam’ sensors that were financed by the Smart Mobility fund of Minister François Bellot or the air quality meters of Irceline). An important barrier to make these data publicly available is the KMI/IRM business model, stating that they should be self-sustaining through the sale of their data. The Cabinet of Demir communicated that this can be remedied by allocating an additional budget of €800.000 per year to the KMI/IRM. (13) We believe that this investment will be lower than the economic benefits for the Belgian economy. State Secretary for science policy, Thomas Dermine, is now responsible for this matter.  

4. Open Data at NMBS/SNCB

  NMBS/SNCB has a long way to go when it comes to Open Data. A one-off progress was made in 2015, when Minister De Croo obliged them to set up a data sharing scheme. Little has changed since then. For example, we are still waiting for the data on platform changes, or, especially important during  COVID-19, the data concerning the crowds on the trains. Political pressure is needed to put this back on the agenda of the board of directors of the NMBS/SNCB. In the meantime, Infrabel is showing how things can be done. An open data team has been set up, and 78 data sets can already be found on FPS Mobility also worked hard to comply with the Intelligent TransportSystems Directive (MMTIS EU 2017/1926) and set up (14)  

5. A Belgian Prototype Fund

  Open Knowledge Germany, our sister organization in Germany, has instigated a lot of success stories with the Prototype Fund. (15) We have already invited the organizers of the Prototype Fund Germany to Belgium on multiple occasions to exchange ideas. Open Knowledge Belgium has plenty of experience when it comes to organizing hackathons as well as open summer of code. The latter is a 4-week summer programme in July, that provides students with the training, network and support necessary to transform open innovation projects into powerful real-world services. Despite the global pandemic, we organized an online edition with more than 80 students in 2020. We believe the Prototype Fund is a sequel to this concept, where professionals with a bright idea can build a prototype faster. We are keen to establish a Protoype Fund Belgium based on the German example. We believe the Federal Government is the ideal partner to stimulate this kind of Open Innovation during the post-Covid relance. The Prototype Fund could be an interpretation of what is stated in the coalition agreement as “There will be small-scale test projects on GovTech on which innovative start-ups and scale-ups can work“. However, it can also be approached from the broader social viewpoint of CivicTech, where civic participation and public benefit outweigh the business model. Or as the Swiss version of the Prototype Fund puts it: “Smart Participation as a right to collectively shape our future”. (16)   Footnotes
  1.​ -
  5.  The European “core vocabularies” can provide guidance in this case

Upcoming: Autumn general meeting

- November 9, 2020 in Events, Featured

Like every autumn, it’s time to prepare for next year. Our official general meeting will be held online 7th December at 4pm (official invitation will be sent later). In that meeting, the members will approve the action plan and budget for 2021, as well as select a new board to steer OKFI. Are you a member? You can check it in our public member roster: If you are not yet a member, you can still become one in time for the general meeting by applying before the 15th of November:  All OKFI friends are welcome to comment on our action plan draft, and to suggest improvements. Do so here:  We are also looking for candidates for OKFI board. Candidates should contact, preferably well before the general meeting so we can present all candidates to our members properly. The post Upcoming: Autumn general meeting appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

Applications to be the new CEO of Open Knowledge Foundation now open!

- October 27, 2020 in Featured, Interviews, Jobs, News, Press

We want openness of all forms of knowledge to ensure a fair, free future full of possibility for all, where shared knowledge contributes to happier and healthier lives. To this end, we are looking for a CEO who help us step up as global leaders.

We are looking for a leader who will spearhead and lead the team to spread the global message of openness and establish new rules to counter the unaccountable tech companies monopolising the digital age. This is a time to be hopeful about the future, and to inspire those who want to build a better society.

We will pursue our mission in the following ways:

  • People – support people and organisations to create a free, fair and open future
  • Places – extend our global reach into new geographies and industries, in particular, health, education and work
  • Policies – have policies and procedures that support our vision and make us fit for purpose
  • Partnerships – work in partnership with others who can help us achieve our vision, and secure funding and income that enable us to be sustainable

We will achieve all of this as the world struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, faces a new global recession and an ongoing climate emergency. There is a crossroad ahead, with a choice between two paths – open or closed. We can be the inspiration for others to follow and ensure society takes the most equitable route. It is an exciting time for our organisation.

Could it be an exiting time for you to join us to take your career to the next level?

For more information and to apply click here.

We will not accept speculative CVs sent to staff or any Board member via email. We can only accept applications from applicants directly via the portal. We expressly do not accept any agency terms and conditions unless contained in a separate agreement signed between us and the agency before the date this application went live on our website.

Οι δράσεις του Ιδρύματος Ανοικτής Γνώσης Ελλάδος σε μελέτη για τη δημοσιονομική διαφάνεια

- October 13, 2020 in Featured, Featured @en, Indigo, News, OpenBudgets, OpenSpending, δημοσιονομική διαφάνεια, Νέα

Η δημοσιονομική διαφάνεια και η ανάγκη εφαρμογής της σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο βρίσκονται στο επίκεντρο της πολυσέλιδης μονογραφίας της κας Αικατερίνης Σαββαΐδου , Επίκουρη καθηγήτρια της Νομικής Σχολής του Αριστοτέλειου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης, «Δημοσιονομική Διαφάνεια: Πρωτοβουλίες, πρότυπα και κώδικες – Εργαλεία αξιολόγησης της δημοσιονομικής διαχείρισης – Δημοσιονομικοί κανόνες και θεσμοί – Ελληνική δημοσιονομική μεταρρύθμιση», η οποία κυκλοφόρησε […]

Open Data Day 2021 will take place on Saturday 6th March

- September 22, 2020 in Featured, Open Data, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2021

Open Data Day 2021 We are pleased to announce that Open Data Day 2021 will take place on Saturday 6th March. Open Data Day is the annual global celebration of open data facilitated by the Open Knowledge Foundation. The Open Data Day website is Groups from around the world create local events on the day where they will use open data in their communities. It is an opportunity to show the benefits of open data and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. In March 2020, more than 300 events took place across the world to mark the tenth Open Data Day despite some events having to shift online due to event restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the generous support of our funders – Datopian, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Hivos, the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), Mapbox, Open Contracting Partnership and Resource Watch – we were able to give out more than 60 mini-grants to support the running of great community events on Open Data Day 2020.  Learn all about those events and discover organisations celebrating open data near you by reading our round-up blogpost. If you or your organisation would like to give financial support for Open Data Day or would be interested in sponsoring our mini-grant scheme, please get in touch by emailing We will announce more details about the 2021 mini-grant scheme in the coming months. For Open Data Day 2021, you can connect with others and spread the word using the #OpenDataDay or #ODD2021 hashtags. Alternatively you can join the Google Group to ask for advice or share tips. By March 2021, we hope that in-person events will be able to take place in many locations but we know that differing levels of COVID-19 restrictions will be in force in a number of countries so we are looking at how best we can support the organisation of more virtual events. Find out more about Open Data Day by visiting where you can also add your event to the global map, find recommended data resources and use a free logo generator to create a logo to help your city mark the event.

Συνεργασία Ιδρύματος Ανοικτής Γνώσης με την Εθνική Βιβλιοθήκη της Ελλάδος

- September 21, 2020 in Featured, News

Η προτυποποίηση δεδομένων στον χώρο των βιβλιοθηκών, είτε αυτή αφορά τα τεκμήρια είτε τον κατάλογο των Καθιερωμένων Όρων, είναι ένα θέμα που απασχολεί την παγκόσμια κοινότητα της βιβλιοθηκονομίας. Για το λόγο αυτό ήδη από τη δεκαετία του ‘60 αναπτύχθηκαν διάφορα πρότυπα, που ως βάση είχαν την προτυποποίηση κατά ISO2709 στο θέμα δομής και σύνταξης αρχείων, […]

Our Open Future

- August 19, 2020 in Featured, Join us, News, Open Knowledge Foundation

  Our world has been turned upside down. We stand at a crossroads with a choice between two futures. A closed future where knowledge belongs to the few; or an open future where knowledge is shared and used by everyone so that we can live happier and healthier lives. Our work has never been more important. And we’d like you to join us. The Open Knowledge Foundation has launched a new campaign for Our Open Future.  You can join the campaign here.  We will email you regular updates explaining why an open future has never been more important and how you can learn more about the key issues.  Watch our new campaign video:

Click here

   At the Open Knowledge Foundation, we want to build a fair, free and open future. To embrace an open future, we believe that more information should be open including information which can be released as open data. Open data is data which can be “freely used, modified and shared by anyone for any purpose”. But data on its own is often not enough to generate understanding. So open knowledge is what open data becomes when it’s useful, usable and used. This language is from the Open Definition which we created in 2005 and which is now translated into dozens of languages. In the years since the term was first used in 1995 and a decade since it broke onto the global stage, the idea of open data has spread around the world. Some countries have embraced it, some have balked at it and others have yet to embrace its true potential. We hope that this campaign will help more people understand why we believe in the idea of an open future. If you want to open up your data, visit our website to read a brief how-to guide or consult the Open Data Handbook for more in-depth advice. If you want to publish information under an open license for anyone to use, visit Creative Commons or our own Open Data Commons website to learn more about available open licenses. Our open-source technical tools like CKAN or DataHub can also be used to publish open data.   Sign up to Our Open Future to learn more about why we are running the campaign now and how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the future of openness. 

Πρόσκληση – 29/07 | Εκδήλωση – Advocacy: Media & ΜΚΟ

- July 23, 2020 in Data Journalism, Featured, Εκδηλώσεις

-Ποια η σημασία των δράσεων συνηγορίας για τις ΜΚΟ; -Ποια είναι η συμβολή των ΜΜΕ και δημοσιογράφων σε ζητήματα συνηγορίας; -Ποιες οι σχέσεις ΜΜΕ και ΜΚΟ; -Ποια η χρησιμότητα των ανοικτών δεδομένων; -Παρουσίαση του έργου “Non-profits & Media advocating for good!” Με χαρά σας προσκαλούμε στην εκδήλωση ADVOCACY: MEDIA & ΜΚΟ η οποία θα πραγματοποιηθεί διαδικτυακά, μέσω […]

WANTED: Open Knowledge Foundation seeks visionary leader to steer the world towards a free, fair, and open society

- July 9, 2020 in Featured, Join us, News, Open Knowledge Foundation, Our Work

You are a charismatic, innovative champion of openness, and a strategist with leadership skills and experience of engaging highly motivated teams and funders. We are the Open Knowledge Foundation, building a better future where knowledge is shared so all can live happier and healthier lives. Together, we will spread the global message of openness and establish new rules to counter the unaccountable tech companies monopolising the digital age. We will tear down the artificial constructs built between communities that stem the tide of progress and create greater inequality. And we will address the future of AI and algorithms, intensify our work on frictionless data, and create fruitful, exciting partnerships with a growing list of global organisations. We will achieve all of this as the world struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, and faces a new global recession and an ongoing climate emergency. There is a crossroad ahead, with a choice between two paths – open or closed. We must be the inspiration for others to follow and ensure society takes the most equitable route. It is an exciting time for our organisation. As we say a warm goodbye to our current CEO Catherine Stihler, we are all reflecting on what we have achieved and where we can go next. Catherine moves on to pursue an open world in her new role as CEO of Creative Commons in August, while OKF seeks an inspirational individual to lead us on our ongoing journey. The process of recruiting a new CEO will commence over the next few weeks. An open future has never been more important – will you join us to create it?

Catherine Stihler to leave Open Knowledge Foundation to lead Creative Commons

- July 9, 2020 in Featured, News, Open Knowledge Foundation

Catherine Stihler OBE

Catherine Stihler. Photo: David Iliff / CC BY-SA.

Our Chief Executive Catherine Stihler OBE has accepted a new opportunity and will soon be leaving the Open Knowledge Foundation.

She goes with our very warmest wishes and we hope to continue a strong relationship with her in her new role as CEO of Creative Commons.

Catherine joined the Open Knowledge Foundation in February 2019 and has overseen a new chapter for the organisation to celebrate our 15th anniversary.

Under her leadership we have redefined our campaign for a fair, free and open future with a renewed mission to create an open world, where all non-personal information is open, free for everyone to use, build on and share; and creators and innovators are fairly recognised and rewarded.

As we work to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we face a new global recession and an ongoing climate emergency.

Our vision of a fair, free and open future has never been so important.

Vanessa Barnett, Chair of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said: “On behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation board, I’d like to thank Catherine for her work overseeing a positive new chapter for our organisation.

“She leaves with our best wishes and we look forward to collaborating with her in the future through our partnerships with organisations across the world which champion openness. “The strong team at Open Knowledge Foundation will continue to campaign and help deliver programmes for an open future: our work and distinct skill sets have never been more important than they are today.” Catherine Stihler said: “It was a huge privilege to join the incredible team at the Open Knowledge Foundation. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to work with so many talented people who campaign tirelessly for a more open world. “I wish the Open Knowledge Foundation every success in the future and look forward to watching the organisation continue to grow.” The process of recruiting a new CEO will commence immediately.