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Take part in EU Open Data Days, an event focused on the benefits of open data and its reuse in the EU

- March 31, 2021 in Open Government Data, Open Knowledge Foundation

Open Knowledge Foundation are partnering with the Publications Office of the European Union for EU Open Data Days, an event to bring the benefits of open data and its reuse to the EU public sector. Below you can find details about the event in a press release republished from the Publications Office.

Participate in the first edition of the EU Open Data Days from 23-25 November 2021. This unique event will serve as a knowledge hub, bringing the benefits of open data to the EU public sector, and through it to people and businesses.

This fully online event will start with EU DataViz 2021, a conference on open data and data visualisation, on 23 and 24 November. It will close with the finale of EU Datathon, the annual open data competition, on 25 November.

Speak at EU DataViz 2021

The EU Open Data Days organising team are looking for speakers to help shape a highly relevant conference programme. Are you an expert on open data and/or data visualisation? We encourage you to share your ideas, successful projects and best practices, which can be actionable in the setting of the EU public sector.

We welcome proposals from all over the world, and from all sectors: academia, private entities, journalists, data visualisation freelancers, EU institutions, national public administrations and more. For more information, visit the EU DataViz website.

Submit your proposal for a conference contribution by 21 May 2021 here.

Compete in EU Datathon 2021

Propose your idea for an application built on open data and compete for your share of the prize fund of EUR 99 000. Demonstrate the value of open data and address a challenge related to the European Commission’ priorities.

We welcome ideas from data enthusiasts from all around the world. Check the rules of the competition and to participate, submit your proposal for an application by 21 May 2021 here.

Follow us for more information

The EU Open Data Days are organised by the Publications Office of the European Union with the support of the ISA2 programme. Find out more on the EU Open Data Days website and follow updates on Twitter @EU_opendata.

Meet our panel of experts for the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest

- March 31, 2021 in Open Knowledge Foundation

The Net Zero Challenge is a global competition to answer the following question – how can you advance climate action using open data? Our aim is to identify, promote, support and connect innovative, practical and scalable projects.

Having selected our shortlist of projects competing for the $1,000 USD prize, we have now invited all the teams to pitch their projects to our panel of experts during a live streamed virtual event on Tuesday 13th April 2021 from 15:00 to 16:00 London time. Register now to watch the event.

Our panel of experts hail from four different organisations which are leading players in the field of using open data for climate action:

Mengpin Ge is an Associate with WRI’s Global Climate Program, where she provides analytical and technical support for the Open Climate Network (OCN) and CAIT 2.0 projects. Her work focuses on analysing and communicating national and international climate policies and data to inform climate decision making towards the 2015 climate agreement.


Natalia Carfi is the Interim Executive Director for the Open Data Charter. She previously worked as the Open Government Director for the Undersecretary of Public Innovation and Open Government of Argentina where she coordinated the co-creation of the 3rd Open Government National Action Plan. She was also Open Government coordinator for the Digital Division of the Government of Chile and for the City of Buenos Aires. She is part of the Open Data Leaders Network and the Academic Committee of the International Open Data Conference. Within ODC she’s been leading the open data for climate action work, collaborating with Chile and Uruguay.


Bruno Sanchez-Andrade Nuño is the Principal Scientist at Microsoft “AI for Earth”, building the “Planetary Computer”. He has a PhD in Astrophysics, and Rocket Science postdoc. Bruno has led Big Data innovation at the World Bank Innovation Labs, served as VP Social Impact at the satellite company Satellogic and Chief Scientist at Mapbox. He published the book “Impact Science” on the role of science and research for social and environmental Impact. He was awarded Mirzayan Science Policy Fellow of the US National Academies of Science and a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.


Eleanor Stewart is the Data Protection Officer & Head of Transparency at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, where she is she is responsible for driving the necessary institutional change within the department to achieve and maintain compliance with GDPR/DPA 2018, the release of its information and supporting the UK Governments international programmes and objectives in Transparency and Open Data through the Open Government Partnership and other initiatives as well as working to embed digital methodologies and processes in the day-to-day work of a foreign affairs ministry.

Please register here to watch the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest.

This is a virtual event taking place on Tuesday 13th April 2021 from 15:00 to 16.00 London time.


Meet the projects shortlisted for the Net Zero Challenge

- March 24, 2021 in Open Knowledge Foundation

Earlier this week we announced the time and date for the Net Zero Challenge pitch contest, and invited you to register for the event here. We are now ready to announce the shortlist of projects that have made it to the second stage of the Net Zero Challenge When we launched the Net Zero Challenge in January, we were unsure how many individuals and organisations in the global open data community were already thinking about how open data could be used to advance climate action. We were overwhelmed with the response – and received almost 100 applications. It’s been hard to decide which ideas/projects should be shortlisted for the next stage. In the end, we made our choice by focusing on three key criteria: 
  • Whether the use of open data was well explained
  • Whether the results chain leading to climate action was strong
  • Whether the idea/project was scalable (from whatever stage it was already at)
The following five projects have been shortlisted: Snapshot Climate Tool [established project]  Provides greenhouse gas emission profiles for every local government region (municipality) in Australia.  CarbonGeoScales [established project]   A framework for standardising open data for GHG emissions at multiple geographical scales (built by a team from France).  Project Yarquen [project in development]  A new API tool and website to organise climate relevant open data for use by civil society organisations, environmental activists, data journalists and people interested in environmental issues (built by a team from Argentina).  Citizen Science Avian Index for Sustainable Forests [concept in development & prospective PhD]  A new biomonitoring tool that uses open data on bird observations to provide crucial information on forest ecological conditions (from South Africa).  Election Climate  [established project]   Analyses recognition of climate change issues by prospective election candidates in Brazil, enabling voters to make informed decisions about who to vote in to office.  During the pitch contest on 13th April, each of these shortlisted teams will have three minutes to pitch their project, in response to the challenge statement: How can you advance climate action using open data? Questions from our Panel of Experts (and the audience) will then be put to the teams. Pitches will be scored, and the winning team awarded $1,000 USD.Register now via Eventbrite to watch the pitch contest.

Launching the Net Zero Challenge: a global pitch competition about using open data for climate action

- January 28, 2021 in Net Zero Challenge, News, Open Knowledge Foundation

Net Zero Challenge logo Open Knowledge Foundation is excited to launch the Net Zero Challenge, a global pitch competition about using open data for climate action.  With a new administration in the USA and the COP26 meeting in the UK, 2021 will be a crucial year for the global climate response. Let’s see how open data can play its part.  Tell us how your idea or project uses open data for climate action – and you could win a $1,000USD in the first round of the Net Zero Challenge.  Full details about the Net Zero Challenge are available at This project is funded by our partners at Microsoft and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. We are extremely grateful for their support.  How are you advancing climate action using open data? To be eligible for the Net Zero Challenge, your idea or project must do one or more of the following:
  1. Understand climate risks
  2. Track climate progress
  3. Enable informed climate action, or
  4. Evaluate climate impact.
Some ways in which you might do this include:
  • Making climate relevant data easier to discover, view and understand by the general data user
  • Creating a useful passthrough tool or API for climate-relevant data in any country or jurisdiction
  • Organising climate data so that potential data users (including those who are less data-literate) can see what’s available, and make use of it
We are very open minded about your approach and methodology. What we care about is the outcome, and whether you answer the question. You might consider whether your idea or project is:
  • Technically achievable
  • ​Easy to use
  • Easily integrated or can be provided as a tool
  • Scalable
  • Good value for money
  • Published under an open licence which allows free use by others 
  • Explainable (this is the key test of the Challenge. Can you pitch your project in three minutes to a general audience?) 
How do I apply? Apply now by filling out this form. All applications must be received by 6pm Pacific Standard Time on Friday 12th March 2021. Late submissions will not be accepted.  Applications will be reviewed and a short list invited to pitch their idea to a panel of experts at a virtual pitch contest.   Pitches will take the form of a public three-minute presentation via video conference, followed by a question and answer session with our panel of climate data experts. ​ Pitches can be live, or prerecorded but the Q&A will be live.  Expert guidance for the Net Zero Challenge is provided by our advisory committee: the Open Data Charter, the Innovation and Open Data Team at Transport for New South Wales and the Open Data Day team at Open Knowledge Foundation.  Need more information? If you have any questions about the Net Zero Challenge, please check out the FAQs on the website. To contact the Net Zero Challenge team directly, email

Open Knowledge Justice Programme takes new step on its mission to ensure algorithms cause no harm

- January 27, 2021 in Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Justice Programme

Today we are proud to announce a new project for the Open Knowledge Justice Programme – strategic litigation. This might mean we will go to court to make sure public impact algorithms are used fairly, and cause no harm. But it will also include advocacy in the form of letters and negotiation.  The story so far Last year, Open Knowledge Foundation made a commitment to apply our skills and network to the increasingly important topics of artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms. As a result, we launched the Open Knowledge Justice Programme in April 2020. Our  mission is to ensure that public impact algorithms cause no harm. Public impact algorithms have four key features:
  • they involve automated decision-making
  • using AI and algorithms
  • by governments and corporate entities and
  • have the potential to cause serious negative impacts on individuals and communities.
We aim to make public impact algorithms more accountable by equipping legal professionals, including campaigners and activists, with the know-how and skills they need to challenge the effects of these technologies in their practice. We also work with those deploying public impact algorithms to raise awareness of the potential risks and build strategies for mitigating them. We’ve had some great feedback from our first trainees!  Why are we doing this?  Strategic litigation is more than just winning an individual case. Strategic litigation is ‘strategic’ because it plays a part in a larger movement for change. It does this by raising awareness of the issue, changing public debate, collaborating with others fighting for the same cause and, when we win (hopefully!) making the law fairer for everyone.  Our strategic litigation activities will be grounded in the principle of openness because public impact algorithms are overwhelmingly deployed opaquely. This means that experts that are able to unpick why and how AI and algorithms are causing harm cannot do so and the technology escapes scrutiny.  Vendors of the software say they can’t release the software code they use because it’s a trade secret. This proprietary knowledge, although used to justify decisions potentially significantly impacting people’s lives, remains out of our reach.  We’re not expecting all algorithms to be open. Nor do we think that would necessarily be useful.  But we do think it’s wrong that governments can purchase software and not be transparent around key points of accountability such as its objectives, an assessment of the risk it will cause harm and its accuracy. Openness is one of our guiding principles in how we’ll work too. As far as we are able, we’ll share our cases for others to use, re-use and modify for their own legal actions, wherever they are in the world. We’ll share what works, and what doesn’t, and make learning resources to make achieving algorithmic justice through legal action more readily achievable.  We’re excited to announce our first case soon, so stay tuned! Sign up to our mailing list or follow the Open Knowledge Justice Programme on Twitter to receive updates.

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. 

The UK must not be left behind on the road to a more open society

- August 3, 2020 in Open Data, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Legislation, Policy

The United Kingdom still doesn’t have a National Data Strategy. The idea has been stuck in development hell for years, and the delay has already had an impact. Had a strategy been in place before the coronavirus pandemic, there would have been rules and guidelines in place to help the sharing of data and information between organisations like, for example the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS. A recent opinion poll for the Open Knowledge Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of people in the UK believe a government data strategy would have helped in the fight against COVID-19. Just over a year ago, we submitted a written submission to the UK Government’s consultation on the National Data Strategy, which can be read here. We stressed that the UK National Data Strategy must emphasise the importance and value of sharing more, better quality information and data openly in order to make the most of the world-class knowledge created by our institutions and citizens. Without this, we warned, businesses, individuals and public bodies would not be able to play a full role in the interconnected world of today and tomorrow. Allowing people to make better decisions and choices informed by data will boost the UK’s economy through greater productivity, but not without the necessary investment in skills. Our proposals included:
  • A data literacy training programme open to local communities to ensure UK workers have the skills for the technological jobs of the future.
  • Greater use of open licences, granting the general public rights to reuse, distribute, combine or modify works that would otherwise be restricted under intellectual property laws.
With a clear commitment from the Government, the UK has an opportunity to be at the forefront of a global future that is fair, free and open. Inevitably, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the work of government. But a parliamentary question from Labour MP Ian Murray, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, has revealed the government still ‘aims’ to publish the strategy in 2020. It’s disappointing that this is not a cast-iron commitment, although it is certainly a target that we hope will be achieved, not least because at the end of this year the Brexit transition period comes to an end and there are serious question to be addressed about the post-Brexit landscape in the UK. Last year, an updated directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information was entered into force by the European Commission. As part of this directive, EU member states – which at the time included the UK – agreed that a list of ‘high-value’ datasets would be drawn up to be provided free of charge. These high-value datasets will fit into the following categories:
  • Geospatial
  • Earth observation and environment
  • Meteorological
  • Statistics
  • Companies and company ownership
  • Mobility
A research team is currently working to create this list of high-value datasets, with the aim of publishing a draft report by September 2020. An Implementing Act is due to be placed before the European Commission for approval in 2021 and EU Member States have until July 2021 to make sure that these datasets are available as open data and published via APIs. What we don’t know is if the UK Government will adopt these same datasets to help business and civil society create new opportunities post-Brexit, and in a COVID-19 landscape. Another parliamentary question from Ian Murray asked this, but the answer doesn’t commit the government to following suit. The question was answered by the Minister of State for Media and Data, but it was announced earlier this month that the Prime Minister has taken away responsibility for the government use of data from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and handed it to the Cabinet Office. What happens next will therefore be of huge interest to all of us who work to promote open data. This week the European Commission published a roadmap on the digital economy and society. It is vital the UK is not left behind on the road to a more open society.

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.

OpenSpending stewardship moving to Datopian

- July 9, 2020 in Datopian, News, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Spending, OpenSpending

  OpenSpending is one of the longest running projects both at Open Knowledge Foundation and within the open data ecosystem in its entirety. Starting life in 2009 as Where Does my Money Go?, OpenSpending has played a vital role in the publication of open budget and spending data by governments world over.  Over the past five years, much of the work around OpenSpending has been in collaboration with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT). Via this collaboration, the Fiscal Data Package – a data standard for a wide range of public financial data – has been adopted by multiple countries, which use OpenSpending as a platform for publishing data in the Fiscal Data Package format. Given Datopian’s long-standing association with OpenSpending and Fiscal Data Package, it was agreed that Datopian would take on the stewardship of OpenSpending going forward with Rufus Pollock, the original creator of OpenSpending, in the lead. Datopian will be consulting with the community to plan the evolution of the platform over the next few weeks and will also continue to provide updates on progress with GIFT, including they ways in which they plan to increase the adoption of Fiscal Data Package and aid governments to publish timely financial data.  For now, existing users and community members can reach out to the Datopian team via a new discord channel,  where they will be happy to chat and answer any questions.This post has been republished from