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Open Knowledge and MyData – same roots, shared values

- August 8, 2019 in Featured, finland, mydata, network, personal-data

The origins of MyData can be traced back to the Open Knowledge Festival held in Finland in 2012. There, a small group of people gathered in a breakout session to discuss what ought to be done with the kind of data that cannot be made publicly available and entirely open, namely personal data. Over the years, more and more people who had similar ideas about personal data converged and found each other around the globe. Finally, in 2016, a conference entitled MyData brought together thinkers and doers who shared a vision of a human-centric paradigm for personal data and the community became aware of itself. The MyData movement, which has since gathered momentum and grown into an international community of hundreds of people and organisations, shares many of its most fundamental values with the open movement from which it has spun off. Openness and transparency in collection, processing, and use of personal data; ethical and socially beneficial use of data; cross-sectoral collaboration; and democratic values are all legacies of the open roots of MyData and hard-wired into the movement itself. The MyData movement was sustained originally through annual conferences held in Helsinki and attended by data professionals in their hundreds. These were made possible by the support of the Finnish chapter of Open Knowledge, who acted as their main organiser. As the years passed and the movement matured, in the autumn of 2018, the movement formalised into its own organisation, MyData Global. Headquartered in Finland, the organisation’s international staff of six, led by general manager Teemu Ropponen, now facilitate the growing community with local hubs in over 20 locations on six continents, a fourth Helsinki-based conference in September 2019, and the continued efforts of the movement to bring about positive change in the way personal data is used globally. The MyData 2019 Conference will attract some 800-1000 people from around the world. It is an associated event of Finland’s EU Presidency organised in Wanha Satama in central Helsinki. The conference provides three days of interactive sessions, networking opportunities and inspiration that will contribute to rebuilding trust for a human-centred data economy. Over 100 speakers will be presenting in the following tracks: Making Identity Work, Ecosystems and Operators, Governance, Cities, Empowerment through Agency, Crossing the Chasm, MyAI, Health, Design and more! The Next Generation Internet Forum is organised at the opening day of MyData 2019. 

Join MyData 2019 conference with a special discount code!

If you want to learn more about MyData, join the MyData 2019 conference on 25-27 September 2019. As we love making friends, we would like to offer you a discount code of 10% for business and discounted ticket. Use MyDataFriend and claim your ticket now via The normal price tickets are valid until 1 September.

Open Knowledge Japanの7周年と再スタート

- July 10, 2019 in Featured, mydata, News, OKJP, オープン・ナレッジ, オープンデータ

Open Data Open Minds 2019年7月1日、私たちオープン・ナレッジ・ジャパン(OKJP)は、前身である任意団体の設立から7周年を迎えました。 7年前、私たちは国内でおそらく初めての行政オープンデータの活用を謳ったハッカソンを開催していました。7年というのはそれなりに長い時間ですが、この7年間で政府のオープンデータカタログサイトができ、データの公開が進んでいます。また、573もの地方自治体がオープンデータの提供を行うようになりました。官民データ活用を進める法律もできました。毎年、オープンデータデイには世界で最も多くのイベントが開催され、さまざまなアプリやサービス、活用事例が日々生まれています。さらに今年は首相が世界に向けて “Data Free Flow with Trust”を提唱するようになりました。とても大きな進展です。 OKJP 改めて、私たちの掲げているミッションを確認します。「データの活用を通じて人の行動やシステムの挙動が、より洗練され事実に基づいたものとなり、経済、人々の生活、民主主義、学術研究などの質が向上した社会を実現する」です。データを活用し社会をよりよくしていきたい、という理想に向けた道のりの、まだ途中に私たちはいます。 近年、OKJPは個人中心のパーソナルデータ活用を進める「MyData」の運動と、行政と市民が協働によって地域のガバナンスを改善していく「チャレンジ!オープンガバナンス(COG)」の活動を強く支援してきました。おかげさまでどちらの活動も活性化しており、それぞれ新たに一般社団法人が立ち上がりました。OKJPとしては今後も、MyData とCOGの活動を応援していきます。 そして、改めて原点に立ち戻り、「オープンデータトーク」や「オープンデータデイ」などOpen Data / Open Knowledge を志向した活動をリブートしていきます。しばらく募集をしていなかった賛助会員の募集も再開します。ぜひ、この機会にオープン・ナレッジ・ジャパン(OKJP)の活動にご参加ください。2019/7/29(月)夜に社員総会も予定しており、賛助会員のみなさまからのご意見をもとに今後の活動方針を決めて参ります。募集要領は会員募集ページをご参照ください。 さらなるご支援と協働をよろしくお願いいたします。 一般社団法人オープン・ナレッジ・ファウンデーション・ジャパン
(Open Knowledge Japan: OKJP)
代表理事 庄司昌彦

Συν-δημιουργώντας το «σήμερα» και το «αύριο» της κοινωνικής καινοτομίας

- July 8, 2019 in Featured, Εκδηλώσεις

Η 10η Διεθνής Συνάντηση «Ζωντανών Εργαστηρίων» (Living Labs), έρχεται για πρώτη φορά στην Ελλάδα από το Εργαστήριο Ιατρικής Φυσικής του ΑΠΘ. Open Living Lab Days Conference 2019: 3-5 Σεπτεμβρίου 2019, Μέγαρο Μουσικής Θεσσαλονίκης (Κτίριο Μ2) Ποτέ ο σχεδιασμός καινοτόμων προϊόντων και υπηρεσιών που να καλύπτουν τις  καθημερινές ανάγκες των πολιτών δεν ήταν τόσο προσιτός από […]

Meet our 2019 Frictionless Data Tool Fund grantees

- July 4, 2019 in Featured, Frictionless Data

In order to facilitate reproducible data workflows in research contexts, we recently launched the Frictionless Data Tool Fund. This one-time $5,000 grant attracted over 90 applications from researchers, developers, and data managers from all over the world. We are very excited to announce the four grantees for this round of funding, and have included a short description of each grantee and their project in this announcement. For a more in depth profile of each grantee and their Tool Fund projects, as well as information about how the community can help contribute to their work, follow the links in each profile to learn more. We look forward to sharing their work on developing open source tooling for reproducible research built using the Frictionless Data specifications and software.   

Stephan Max

Stephan Max is a computer scientist based in Cologne, Germany, that is passionate about making the web a fair, open, and safe place for everybody. Outside of work, Stephan has contributed to the German OKF branch as a mentor for the teenage hackathon weekends project “Jugend Hackt” (Youth Hacks). Stephan’s Tool Fund project will be to create a Data Package import/export add-on to Google Sheets.
“How can we feed spreadsheets back into a Reproducible Research pipeline? I think Data Packages is a brilliant format to model and preserve exactly that information.”

Read more about Stephan and the Google Sheets Data Package add-on here.  

Carlos Ribas and João Peschanski

João Alexandre Peschanski and Carlos Eduardo Ribas work with the Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center for Neuromathematics (RIDC NeuroMat), from the São Paulo Research Foundation. They are focused on developing open-source computational tools to advance open knowledge, open science, and scientific dissemination. They will be using the Tool Fund to work on the Neuroscience Experiments System (NES), which is an open-source tool that aims to assist neuroscience research laboratories in routine procedures for data collection.
“The advantages of the Frictionless Data approach for us is fundamentally to be able to standardize data opening and sharing within the scientific community.”
Read more about Carlos, João, and NES here.  

André Heughebaert

André Heughebaert is an IT Software Engineer at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and is the Belgian GBIF Node manager. As an Open Data advocate, André works with GBIF and the Darwin Core standards and related Biodiversity tools to support publication and re-use of Open Data. André’s Tool Fund project will automatically convert Darwin Core Archive into Frictionless Data Packages. 
“I do hope Frictionless and GBIF communities will help me with issuing/tracking and solving incompatibilities, and also to build up new synergies.”
Read more about André and the Darwin Core Data Package project here.  

Greg Bloom and Shelby Switzer

Shelby Switzer and Greg Bloom work with Open Referral, which develops data standards and open source tools for health, human, and social services. Shelby is a long-time civic tech contributor, and Greg is the founder of the Open Referral Initiative. For the Tool Fund, they will be building out Data Package support for all their interfaces, from the open source tools that transform and validate human services data to the Human Services API Specification.
“With the Frictionless Data approach, we can more readily work with data from different sources, with varying complexity, in a simple CSV format, while preserving the ability to easily manage transformation and loading.”
Read more about Greg, Shelby, and their Tool Fund project here.  

More About Frictionless Data

The Tool Fund is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at Open Knowledge Foundation. This project, funded by the Sloan Foundation, applies our work in Frictionless Data to data-driven research disciplines. 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 Tool Fund projects will be running through the end of 2019, and we will post updates to the projects as they progress.

Reflections on the state of MOOCs, from the eMOOC2019 Conference

- June 10, 2019 in Featured, guestpost, MOOCs, oer, open-education

By Fabio Nascimbeni & Valentina Goglio
Couple of weeks ago, we attended the eMOOC2019 conference in Naples, an international event gathering the major global MOOCs providers such as Coursera, edX and FutureLearn, aiming to advance the international debate on MOOCs and online learning in general.                               Our main takeaway is that MOOC as a concept is evolving, and not towards an open future, for at least two reasons. First, despite the rhetoric put forward by the major global MOOCs providers, who still speak of “MOOC revolution” and of “MOOCs transforming access to education”, the feeling is that MOOCs are losing their first O (the one of Open). The new “usage models” adopted by the main international providers tend in fact to restrict the open and free use of their MOOCs resources in different ways. Let alone that MOOCs content are very rarely released as OERs, we have been getting used to MOOCs whose content is available only when the course is actually running, and now we have to face the fact that once we subscribe to a course we have access to its content only for a limited period of time. The first one to introduce a paywall for graded assignments was the for-profit platform Coursera in 2015, then joined by FutureLearn in 2017, which further restricted free access to course materials to 14 days after the end of the course. The latest to join the group is the non-profit platform EdX, whose course materials will not be freely accessible after the end of the course, starting from early 2019 (source: Class Central) Second, as demonstrated by the micro credentials hype coupled with the massive entrance in the MOOC market by the Australian recruitment company SEEK (that invested some 50M$ in FutureLearn and more than 100M$ in Coursera), MOOCs are transforming into “off the shelf skills development courses” with a clear employability target. As Mark Brown noted in the OpenupEd Trend Report on MOOCs, the recent wave of MOOCs is moving toward MOOCs for credit and Continuing Professional Development. The new hot topic are micro-credentials: professional short degrees that pile up single MOOCs or online university courses to form a short and consistent series on a specific topic. Not surprisingly, opportunities and limitations associated to such resources targeting professionals and other medium-high skilled workers were discussed, during the eMOOC2019 conference, in three parallel sessions and one plenary round table. Gone are the days of the MOOCs revolution in a lifelong and informal learning sense. We know MOOCs started as a phenomenon connected to Open Education, and many of us have witnessed the turn that this kind of online courses have taken from the first open and connectivist experiences (of Downes and Siemens, among others) towards more content-based and structured courses with an increasing employability and market value, but “clockwork MOOCs” are not easy to digest. On the positive side, the eMOOCs conference also showed some more open approaches to MOOCs, such as the one by, the MOOCs platform of the hosting organisation Università Federico II of Naples, or the Open Knowledge POLIMI which provides all video lectures freely available on their dedicated Youtube channel. It is possibly in these national experience where we can still find some of the original breadth of MOOCS. For the rest, quoting the inspiring presentation of Monty King on postcolonial aspects of MOOCS: “the empire MOOCs back”. — About the authors Fabio Nascimbeni works as assistant professor in the International University of La Rioja, and is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), where he collaborates with the CEST – Centro de Estudos sobre Tecnologia e Sociedade. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Distance and eLearning Network (EDEN), of the Editorial Board of the EURODL Journal, as well as of a number of Scientific Committees in the field of learning innovation. He is active in the field of innovation and ICT for learning since 1998, by designing and coordinating more than 40 research and innovation projects and promoting European and international collaboration in different areas, from school education to higher education to lifelong learning. Further, he has coordinated a number of international collaboration actions in fields spanning from Science and Technology, ICT research, information society development, educational research, specifically focusing on Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia. His main research interests are open education, learning innovation, e-learning, digital literacy, social and digital inclusion, social networking. He can be followed as @fabionascimbeni on Twitter. Valentina Goglio is Marie Slodowska-Curie Fellow at the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society at the University of Turin (IT). Valentina does research in Economic Sociology and Sociology of Education. Her current project is on diffusion of MOOCs and their social implications for access and returns to education. (this post was originally published in the blog)

Για ένα δίκαιο, ελεύθερο και ανοικτό μέλλον: γιορτάζοντας τα 15 χρόνια του Open Knowledge Foundation

- May 23, 2019 in Featured, Featured @en, News, ανοικτά δεδομένα, ανοικτή γνώση, Νέα

Σύνταξη: Ισίδωρος Πάσσας 20 Μαΐου 2019, από την Catherine Stihler Η κα Catherine Stihler, CEO του Open Knowledge Foundation, στο τελευταίο της επετειακό άρθρο, γιορτάζοντας τα 15 χρόνια του Open Knowledge Foundation, στο blog του Ιδρύματος, παρουσιάζει το όραμα του Ιδρύματος για τα επόμενα χρόνια. Η κα Stihler ξεκινά το άρθρο κάνοντας μία σύντομη ιστορική […]

For a fair, free and open future: celebrating 15 years of the Open Knowledge Foundation

- May 20, 2019 in Featured, News, Open Knowledge Foundation

Fifteen years ago, the Open Knowledge Foundation was launched in Cambridge by entrepreneur and economist Rufus Pollock. At the time, open data was an entirely new concept. Worldwide internet users were barely above the 10 per cent mark, and Facebook was still in its infancy. But Rufus foresaw both the massive potential and the huge risks of the modern digital age. He believed in access to information for everyone about how we live, what we consume, and who we are – for example, how our tax money gets spent, what’s in the food we eat or the medicines we take, and where the energy comes from to power our cities. From humble beginnings, the Open Knowledge Foundation grew across the globe and pioneered the way that we use data today, striving to build open knowledge in government, business and civil society – and creating the technology to make open material useful. We created the Open Definition that is still the benchmark today – that open data and content can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose. With staff on six continents, we became known as Open Knowledge International and launched projects in dozens of countries. As we celebrate our 15th anniversary today, our world has changed dramatically. Large unaccountable technology companies have monopolised the digital age, and an unsustainable concentration of wealth and power has led to stunted growth and lost opportunities. When that happens it is consumers, future innovators and society that loses out. We live in powerful times, where the greatest danger is not the chaos but to rest in the past. So as we reach an important milestone in our organisation’s own journey, we recognise it is time for new rules for this new digital world. We have decided to re-focus our efforts on why we were created in 2004, ‘to promote the openness of all forms of knowledge’, and return to our name as the Open Knowledge Foundation. Our vision is for a future that is fair, free and open. That will be our guiding principle in everything we do. Our mission is to create a more open world – a 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. We understand that phrases like ‘open data’ and ‘open knowledge’ are not widely understood. It is our job to change that. The next 15 years and beyond are not to be feared. We live in a time when technological advances offer incredible opportunities for us all. This is a time to be hopeful about the future, and to inspire those who want to build a better society. We want to see enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; where powerful institutions are comprehensible and accountable; and where vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all. Our work will focus on health, where access to medicines requires new thinking, and on education where new EU-wide copyright law impacts on both academic research and on people’s ability to access knowledge. We will also concentrate on employment, including tackling the growing inequality from working patterns and conditions, and the ability for creators and innovators to be fairly compensated. This reaches to the heart of a fair, free and open future where there is opportunity for all. We have also set out five demands for this week’s European elections and will push for MEPs from across Europe to prioritise these when the European Parliament returns in summer. Firstly, we will fight the introduction of Article 17 of the EU’s copyright reforms which threatens to restrict the sharing of data and other content on the internet for half-a-billion people in Europe. We also want to see improved transparency measures at social media companies like Facebook to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news. We recognise the concerns that people have about the misuse of data, so we will champion ‘responsible data’ to ensure that data is used ethically and legally, and protects privacy. We also want to persuade governments and organisations to use established and recognised open licences when releasing data or content; and we will aim to build a network of open advocates in the European Parliament who will push for greater openness in their own nations. We live in a knowledge society where we face two different futures: one which is open and one which is closed. An open future means knowledge is shared by all – freely available to everyone, a world where people are able to fulfil their potential and live happy and healthy lives. A closed future is one where knowledge is exclusively owned and controlled leading to greater inequality and a closed future. With inequality rising, never before has our vision of a fair, free and open future been so important to realise our mission of an open world in complex times.

Open call: become a Frictionless Data Reproducible Research Fellow

- May 8, 2019 in Featured, fellowship program, Frictionless Data, grant, Open Science

The Frictionless Data Reproducible Research Fellows Program, supported by the Sloan Foundation, aims to train graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career researchers how to become champions for open, reproducible research using Frictionless Data tools and approaches in their field. Fellows will learn about Frictionless Data, including how to use Frictionless tools in their domains to improve reproducible research workflows, and how to advocate for open science. Working closely with the Frictionless Data team, Fellows will lead training workshops at conferences, host events at universities and in labs, and write blogs and other communications content. In addition to mentorship, we are providing Fellows with stipends of $5,000 to support their work and time during the nine-month long Fellowship. We welcome applications using this form from 8th May 2019 until 30th July 2019, with the Fellowship starting in the fall. We value diversity and encourage applicants from communities that are under-represented in science and technology, people of colour, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTI+ individuals.

Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research

The Fellowship is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at Open Knowledge International. Frictionless Data aims to reduce the friction often found when working with data, such as when data is poorly structured, incomplete, hard to find, or is archived in difficult to use formats. This project, funded by the Sloan Foundation, applies our work to data-driven research disciplines, in order to help researchers and the research community resolve data workflow issues.  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. The Frictionless Data approach aims to address identified needs for improving data-driven research such as generalized, standard metadata formats, interoperable data, and open-source tooling for data validation.

Fellowship program

During the Fellowship, our team will be on hand to work closely with you as you complete the work. We will help you learn Frictionless Data tooling and software, and provide you with resources to help you create workshops and presentations. Also, we will announce Fellows on the project website and will be publishing your blogs and workshops slides within our network channels.  We will provide mentorship on how to work on an Open project, and will work with you to achieve your Fellowship goals.

How to apply

We welcome applications using this form from 8th May 2019 until 30th July 2019, with the Fellowship starting in the fall. The Fund is open to early career research individuals, such as graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, anywhere in the world, and in any scientific discipline. Successful applicants will be enthusiastic about reproducible research and open science, have some experience with communications, writing, or giving presentations, and have some technical skills (basic experience with Python, R, or Matlab for example), but do not need to be technically proficient. If you are interested, but do not have all of the qualifications, we still encourage you to apply. If you have any questions, please email the team at, ask a question on the project’s gitter channel, or check out the Fellows FAQ section. Apply soon, and share with your networks!

Open Knowledge Night: Disinformation and fact checking with Faktabaari

- April 25, 2019 in Events, Featured

How can investigative journalism and data tools work together? If you’re interested in using data analytics skills, learning about tools used in journalism and data journalism, or just understanding how mis- and disinformation can be detected, this evening is for you!
OKFI and Faktabaari are organising this event together!
Date: Tuesday, May 7th
Time: 5pm onwards
Place: Päivälehden museo, Helsinki Sign up at (link to appear shortly) Starting this spring, fact checking service Faktabaari focuses more on carrying out investigations against online disinformation. To make it possible, tools are needed. Faktabaari has acquired Trendolizer for finding out what is trending on the web and for tracking sources. Trendolizer is a creation of Belgian fact checking wizard Maarten Schenk, also behind fact checking site Lead Stories. Faktabaari also has requested access for a platform of the European Observatory against Disinformation. The platform is based on Truly Media which is co-developed by ATC and Deutsche Welle and verification tool TruthNest. These kind of tools have been acquired primarily because of EU elections, but it is good to look beyond them. Fact check, investigative journalism and data experts will certainly have common interests, they just have to find them. Tentative program:
  • Short introduction to fact checking and related tools
  • Knowledge crystals as potential tools for crowdsourced fact checking
  • Data analytics and open data tools for fact checking
  • Networking and idea generation
The post Open Knowledge Night: Disinformation and fact checking with Faktabaari appeared first on Open Knowledge Finland.

On the trail of OE policy co-creation

- April 24, 2019 in copyright, Events, Featured, oer, Policy

By Javiera Atenas & Leo HavemannWe’ve recently returned from the OER19 conference in Galway, Ireland, where we had the opportunity of running the third edition of the Open Education Policy Co-creation (OEPC) workshop, and the outcomes were very interesting! But let’s start from the beginning. This workshop was originally developed in the context of the OpenMed project, to support the project stakeholders to develop Open Education Policies following the Recommendations from OpenMed to University leaders and policy makers for opening up Higher Education in the South-Mediterranean by 2030. The workshop aimed to give the project stakeholders some basic policy co-design skills, and as well as an overview of the key techniques and elements needed to opening up the arenas to foster sustainable policies. In order to support these objectives the workshop is grounded on the participation and co-creation standard developed by OGP to foster the co-creation of national commitments, and uses a set of cards and a canvas (adapted from those developed by the UK Policy Lab) aligning the elements with those recommended by the Ljubljana Action Plan, and the JRC report, Policy Approaches to Open Education. The workshop elements aim at raising awareness of the international Landscape towards widening participation including a wide range of stakeholders, while, being resourceful, optimistic and flexible, to ensure that the policy design addresses the co-creation process in a specific context, involving a wide range of policy design partners to ensure the correct implementation, overseeing the opportunities and challenges of an OE policy, and the key elements these must comprise providing the evidence needed to support the stakeholders and to prevent risks of policy derailment.   The OE policy workshop fosters the assessment of data, research and experiences from national and international perspectives related to the socio-economic, political and cultural context in what is known as global policy convergence [Haddad & Demsky (1995); Thompson & Cook (2014)]

From Rome to Warsaw

We piloted the OEPC workshop at the OpenMed conference (Rome) with a group of stakeholders from Egypt, England, Italy, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine and Spain. Then, with Fabio Nascimbeni we re-tested the methodology at the OE Policy Forum (Warsaw), with stakeholders from Germany, Malta, Poland, Romania, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and The Netherlands. In both pilots, the participants agreed that core processes and partners for OE policy-making were co-design and collaboration, which should include not only senior management but academics, librarians and experts in copyright, as these could provide a wide range of perspectives related to their local contexts and needs. Also, the participants mentioned as stakeholders the need to work alongside with Open Science, Open Access and OE experts and policymakers to foster cohesion in Open Policies.

OpenMed Policy Forum

Regarding solutions and approaches, the participants mentioned the need to include experts in accreditation systems and copyright regulations, as these policy opportunities are key to foster sustainability in OE policy making, but also, are possible challenges and barriers for promoting the adoption of Open Educational Practices, alongside the lack of copyright and IP understanding, and scarce awareness of open practices amongst faculty, senior management, and policymakers, which prevent the acknowledgment of Open Practices for career progression, and, also diminish the chances for obtaining funding to implement OE policies. So, in order to enable an OE policy, the participants mentioned as key elements the recognition of Open Practices and accreditation of Open Learning were key, as these elements, can provide evidence to promote the adoption of Open Education alongside with international good practices, data on cost-benefits of OER, national educational data and performance data to showcase the impact of Open Education.

Centrum Cyfrowe – Open Education Policy Forum

According to the participants of the first two pilots, the main beneficiaries of an OE policy are learners and educators, however, families, general public, universities and governments can also benefit from Open Education by lowering costs of access to education while widening participation, although, the groups mentioned that it is key to be aware of the risks that an OE policy may face, are lack of political understanding of openness, as well as datafication and commodification of education and also, lobbying from commercial publishers and ed-tech vendors might severely impact upon  or derail an OE policy initiative.

From Warsaw to Galway

With all this information in hand, and after carefully updating the kit according to the feedback given by the pilot participants, we ran a new edition of our workshop, billed as Fostering Openness in Education: considerations for sustainable policy making at OER19, in which over 20 participants from Ireland, England, Scotland, Austria, The Netherlands, Australia and Spain participated. For them, in order to foster co-creation of OE policies, processes such as the involvement of communities of practices and use spaces in global conferences are key, and also, the use of consultations and roundtables to discuss the policy at different stages. When discussing the policy context, the participants mentioned the importance of acknowledging the voices of diverse groups to ensure inclusivity, considering the level of access to technological infrastructure. When talking about Policy Design Partners the participants agree that educators, policy makers, librarians, learning technologists and education experts need to be involved, while others mentioned the need to include learners. While discussing opportunities and challenges, the participants mentioned collaboration, innovation, chances to flourish and improvement of quality and access to education as key opportunities while, they highlighted as challenges, the commodification of education and conflicts of interest and agendas between negotiations between institutions and technology suppliers.

Pic by Virginia Rodés

In relation to the key elements of an OE policy, the participants highlighted transparent practices, and bench-learning from existing policies in order to include accreditation and recognition of Open Learning, and also, to have elements that enable  measurement of the impact of the policy, as impact data can be further reused by other institutions willing to develop their policies as evidence, including for example student success rates, uptake rates, learner engagement and amount of resources created and used. This evidence can provide data for recognition of educators’ good practices, towards benefiting two groups of key stakeholders learners and the society as a whole through the provision of Open Content. Finally, in relation to risks, the participants mentioned the lobby of commercial textbook publishers and from educational corporations taking advantage of Open Content to profit commercially.

From Galway to London

Following the Galway workshop, we have reviewed and compared the outcomes of the three workshops and found some fascinating stuff. Regarding processes in the Rome pilot, most of the discussion focused on the co-creation process, as for the participants, policy-making was most likely related to the governance processes and to senior management activities, as for the groups in Warsaw, it was key to connect OE with other educational reforms, and to align it with their Open Government Partnership strategies, while in Galway, the keyword was collaboration, as they saw the opportunity for fostering collective ownership when a policy is co-created. Regarding the policy context, for the groups in Rome, the need was related with the need of promoting innovation to enhance the quality of education in a context of overcrowded classrooms, while in Warsaw, lots of the discussion focused on the need of having content in national languages, and in Galway the key idea was inclusion and diversity, to provide learners with the content they need. When discussing Policy Design Partners the participants in Rome highlighted the importance of involving international OE experts and the group in Warsaw mentioned learning technologists and copyright experts while in Galway, librarians and academics were mentioned. In relation with to policy opportunities, the groups in Rome mentioned access to quality educational materials and opportunities for distance learning, while in Warsaw, OE policies were seen as a mean to defeat the EU copyright reform and in Galway, the concepts of co-creation and collaboration to foster bottom-up policies was seen as a great advantage. In regards with the challenges, in Rome, the biggest one mentioned was overcrowding of classrooms and little flexibility for open learning accreditation, while in Warsaw the EU copyright reform and the ruthless publishers’ lobby was seen as a major threat. For the groups in Rome, Warsaw and Galway, the key elements were accreditation of open learning, and recognition of open education practices for career progression. For the participants in Rome, the key evidence was good practices on the use and production of OER at an international level, while in Warsaw, it was important to provide data on cost-benefits of OER, and in Galway, success rates, uptake rates and learning engagement data as key to foster an OE policy. Finally, the key stakeholders for the group in Rome were learners, educators and universities while for the Warsaw group governments were also key, and for the participants in Galway, the group extended to the society as a whole. In regards with the risks, the group in Rome mentioned lack of political understanding of openness, while the participants in Warsaw, were concerned about the current wave of datafication, commodification and marketisation of education and furthermore, worried at the tactics used by publishers and ed-tech vendors/gurus, as this set of practices were of potential danger not only to OE but to education in general, and this concern was widely replicated in the Galway session. Is interesting to see that in some cases the groups see elements from different perspectives, and while for the groups in Warsaw and in Galway shared some concerns regarding datafication and copyright, the participants in Rome were more concerned by the lack of IT literacies. It is also interesting each group, without being connected, builds on top of each other, and that for all the international OE community it is key to foster sustainable OE policies that can provide evidence of good practices to promote the adoption of OE.

From London to Lisbon

Our next stop is Lisbon, we will be holding another  OE policy co-creation workshop at the CC summit, so join us Friday, May 10th from 3:30pm – 4:25pm.

Pic by Javiera Atenas


Next stops

If you think that your institution or a consortium of institutions may benefit from this open policy-making exercise, please get in touch with Leo Havemann <> or with Javiera Atenas <>  


Haddad, W. D., & Demsky, T. (1995). Education policy-planning process: an applied framework Fundamentals of educational planning—51. Paris: UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning. Retrieved from Thompson, G., & Cook, I. (2014). Education policy-making and time. Journal of Education Policy, 29(5), 700–715.   —

About the authors

Javiera Atenas: PhD in Education and co-coordinator of the Open Education Working Group, responsible for the promotion of Open Data, Open Policies and Capacity Building in Open Education. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Education Lead at the Latin American Initiative for Open Data [ILDA] as well as an academic and researcher with interest in the use of Open Data as Open Educational Resources and in critical pedagogy. @jatenas  
Leo Havemann: Is a Digital Education Advisor at University College London, and a postgraduate researcher in open education at the Open University. He is a co-ordinator of the M25 Learning Technology Group. His research interests include open educational practices, skills and literacies, blended learning, and technology-enhanced assessment and feedback. He has taught in HE in New Zealand and Australia, worked as a librarian in a London FE college, and worked in IT roles in the private sector. He has a Master’s degree from the University of Waikato. He can be followed as @leohavemann on Twitter.