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World Wide Web faces real dangers as it turns 30

- March 12, 2019 in Featured, Internet, Open Knowledge International

This article was originally published in The Scotsman. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the world wide web has transformed modern life, but more work must be done to ensure it continues to be a force for good, writes Catherine Stihler. At the giant research laboratory in a suburb of Geneva, the innovative ideas produced by the scientists were stored on multiple, incompatible, computers. It was the year 1989, and one British worker at CERN decided to write a short document called “Information Management: A Proposal”. Tim Berners-Lee wrote: “Many of the discussions … end with the question – ‘Yes, but how will we ever keep track of such a large project?’ This proposal provides an answer to such questions.” In simpler terms, his theory addressed this idea: “Suppose all the information stored on computers everywhere were linked.” This vision of universal connectivity was produced 30 years ago today, and by 1991 it became the World Wide Web. Within just a few years, the web became something that wasn’t restricted to computer scientists alone, with the computers in libraries, universities and eventually people’s homes, fundamentally changing our lives. Over three decades, there has been a long list of extraordinary achievements, culminating in a world where we can now access the web from phones in our pockets, the TVs in our living rooms and the watches on our wrists. To mark the 30th anniversary, web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee is taking a 30-hour trip, starting at CERN in Switzerland, travelling via London and finishing in Lagos. Throughout, he will be participating in a #web30 Twitter feed that will highlight significant moments in the web’s history. Former Vice-President Al Gore will recall the passing of the High Performance Computing Act in 1991, also called the Gore Bill, which promoted cooperation between government, academia, and industry. It helped fund work which led to the creation of the Mosaic web browser – a key moment as browsers are how we access the World Wide Web. In 1995, Microsoft launched Internet Explorer – a platform still familiar to millions of people around the world. There will also be a fun side to the celebrations, such as the moment the world was first introduced to ‘grumpy cat’. For me, as chief executive of Open Knowledge International, there are several key moments that I believe deserve to be remembered. Our role is to help governments, universities, and civil society organisations reach their full potential by providing them with skills and tools to publish, use, and understand data. We deliver technology solutions, enhance data literacy, provide cutting-edge research and mobilise communities to provide value for a wide range of international clients. In 2005 we created the Open Definition, the gold standard for open data which remains in place to this day. Two years later, our founder Rufus Pollock launched the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network, or CKAN as it is known. It’s a registry of open knowledge packages and projects — be that a set of Shakespeare’s works, the voting records of MPs, or 30 years of US patents. It is now used across the world, including the data.gov.uk site where you can find data published by central government, local authorities and public bodies in the UK to help designers build products and services. Another key moment which deserves to be celebrated came in July 2009 when a set of principles to promote open science were written down in a pub called the Panton Arms in Cambridge – the Panton Principles. Among those present was Rufus Pollock. When open data becomes useful, usable and used – when it is accessible and meaningful and can help someone solve a problem – that’s when it becomes open knowledge. It can make powerful institutions more accountable, while vital research can help us tackle challenges such as poverty, disease and climate change. All this would not have been possible without the invention of the World Wide Web. Today, however, we are at a crossroads. While the web has been a force for good, it has also allowed for the spread of fake facts and disinformation. Political earthquakes around the globe have led to the rise of populism, and people are uncomfortable about the amount of power held by some giant tech companies like Facebook and Google. The challenge for the next 30 years is to build a digital economy for the many, based on the principles of fairness and freedom. The web provides the opportunity to empower communities, and we must seize that opportunity and ensure that digital advances are used for the public good. So attempts to build a more closed society must be addressed. One example of that will come later this month when the European Parliament votes on a controversial copyright crackdown that threatens the future of the internet. If passed, it could lead to the automatic removal of legal online content which will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. That’s why one of Open Knowledge International’s five demands for candidates standing in this year’s European elections is a public pledge to oppose the contentious ‘Article 13’ of these copyright reforms. We also want candidates to support improved transparency measures at social media companies like Facebook to prevent the spread of disinformation and fake news; champion ‘responsible data’ to ensure that data is used ethically and legally; back efforts to force governments and organisations to use established and recognised open licences when releasing data or content; and push for greater openness in their country, including committing to domestic transparency legislation. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention has transformed our world, but the task is to ensure that it continues to transform our world for the better – and that falls to all of us. Let’s make the next 30 years of the digital era one of fairness, freedom and openness for all.

Fighting for a more open world: our CEO’s keynote speech at Open Belgium 2019

- March 4, 2019 in Open Data, Open Knowledge, Open Knowledge International, Talks

On Monday 4th March 2019, Catherine Stihler, the new chief executive of Open Knowledge International, will deliver a keynote speech – Fighting for a more open world – at the Open Belgium 2019 conference in Brussels. Read the speech below and visit the Open Belgium website or follow the hashtag to learn more about the event. Catherine Stihler, CEO of Open Knowledge International Thanks to Open Knowledge Belgium for inviting me to speak today. It is great to be you with you all in what is my fourth week in my new role as Chief Executive of Open Knowledge International. This is the first time I have been in Brussels since serving for 20 years as an MEP for Scotland. During that time, I worked on copyright reform and around openness with a key focus on intellectual property rights and freedom of expression. Digital skills and data use have always been a personal passion, and I’m excited to meet so many talented people using those skills to fight for a more open world. It is a privilege to be part of an organisation and movement that have set the global standard for genuinely free and open sharing of information. There have been many gains in recent years that have made our society more open, with experts – be they scientists, entrepreneurs or campaigners – using data for the common good. But I join OKI at a time when openness is at risk. The acceptance of basic facts is under threat, with many expert views dismissed and a culture of ‘anti-intellectualism’ from those on the extremes of politics. Facts are simply branded as ‘fake news’. The rise of the far right and the far left brings with it an authoritarian approach that could return us to a closed society. The way forward is to resuscitate the three foundations of tolerance, facts and ideas, to prevent the drift to the extremes. I want to see a fairer and open society where help harness the power of open data and unleash its potential for the public good. We at Open Knowledge International 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 held accountable; and where vital research that can help us tackle challenges – such as inequality, poverty and climate change – is available to all. To reach these goals, we need to work to raise the profile of open knowledge and instil it as an important value in the organisations and sectors we work in. In order to achieve this, we will need to change cultures, policies and business models of organisations large and small to make opening up and using information possible and desirable. This means building the capacity to understand, share, find and use data, across civil society and government. We need to create and encourage collaborations across government, business and civil society to use data to rebalance power and tackle major challenges. We need tools – technical, legal and educational – to make working with data easier and more effective. Yet, in many countries, societies are shifting in the other direction making it harder and harder to foster collaboration, discover compromises and make breakthroughs. Freedom House has recorded global declines in political rights and civil liberties for an alarming 13 consecutive years, from 2005 to 2018. Last year, CIVICUS found that nearly six in ten countries are seriously restricting people’s fundamental freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression. And, despite some governments releasing more data than before,  our most recent Global Open Data Index found that only 11% of the data published in 2017 was truly open, down from 16% of the data surveyed in 2013. Our fear is that these trends towards closed societies will exacerbate inequality in many countries as declining civic rights, the digital divide, ‘dirty data and restrictions on the free and open exchange of information combine in new and troubling ways. Opaque technological approaches – informed by both public and, more often, private data – are increasingly being suggested as solutions to some of the world’s toughest issues from crime prevention to healthcare provision and from managing welfare or food aid projects to policing border security, most recently evidenced in the debate around the Northern Irish border and Brexit. Yet if citizens cannot understand, trust or challenge data-driven decisions taken by governments and private organisations due to a lack of transparency or the challenge of a right of redress to the data held on individuals or businesses, then racist, sexist and xenophobic biases risk being baked into public systems – and the right to privacy will be eroded. We need to act now and ensure that legislation emphasising open values keeps pace with technological advances so that they can be harnessed in ways which protect – rather than erode – citizens’ rights. And we need people in future to be able to have an open and honest exchange of information with details, context and metadata helping to make any potential biases more transparent and rectifiable. As Wafa Ben Hassine, policy counsel for Access Now, said recently, “we need to make sure humans are kept in the loop … [to make sure] that there is oversight and accountability” of any systems using data to make decisions for public bodies. Moving on to another pressing issue, I am very concerned about the EU’s deal on copyright reform – which is due to go before the European Parliament for a vote this month – and the effects that this will have on society. The agreement will require platforms such as YouTube, Twitter or Google to take down user-generated content that could breach intellectual property and install filters to prevent people from uploading copyrighted material. That means memes, GIFs and music remixes may be taken down because the copyright does not belong to the uploader. It could also restrict the sharing of vital research and facts, allowing ‘fake news’ to spread. This is an attack on openness and will lead to a chilling effect on freedom of speech across the EU. It does not enhance citizens’ rights and could lead to Europe becoming a more closed society – restricting how we share research that could lead to medical breakthroughs or how we share facts. I know that there is a detailed session focused on copyright reform at 12:30pm in this room so please join that if you want to learn more. So what can we do about these issues? First, we are calling on all candidates in May’s European Parliament elections to go to pledge2019.eu to make a public pledge that they will oppose Article 13 of the EU’s chilling copyright reforms. This is an issue that is not going to go away, regardless of the plenary vote this spring. When the new Parliament sits, in July, the MEPs representing voters for the next five years will have an opportunity to take action. Second, in coordination with our colleagues at Mozilla and other organisations, we want tech companies like Facebook to introduce a number of improved transparency measures to safeguard against interference in the coming European elections, and I have written to Facebook’s vice-president of global affairs and my former MEP colleague Sir Nick Clegg to request more openness from the social media platform. Facebook have responded but you can add your voice to Mozilla’s ongoing campaign to keep up the pressure and make sure change happens. Third, we encourage you to visit responsibledata.io to join the Responsible Data community which works to respond to the ethical, legal, social and privacy-related challenges that come from using data in new and different ways. This community was first convened by our friends at the Engine Room – who have done great work on this issue – alongside our School of Data who were one of the founding partners. Fourth,  get everyone to use established, recognised open licences when releasing data or content. This should be a simple ask for governments and organisations across the world but our research has found that legally cumbersome custom licenses strangle innovation and the reuse of data. Fifth, when you are choosing MEP candidates to vote for in May, ask yourself: what have they done to push for openness in our country? Have they signed up to key transparency legislation? Voiced support for access to information and freedom of expression? If you’re not sure, email and ask them. We need a strong cohort of open advocates at the European Parliament to address the coming issues around privacy, transparency and data protection. At Open Knowledge International, we will help fight the good fight by continuing our work to bring together communities around the world to celebrate and prove the value of being open in the face of prevailing winds. Two days ago, with support from OKI, Open Data Day took place with hundreds of events taking place all over the world. From open mapping in South America to open science and research in Francophone Africa, grassroot organisations came out in growing numbers to share their belief in the value of open data. Our next big event is the fourth iteration of csv,conf, a community conference for data makers featuring stories about data sharing and data analysis from science, journalism, government, and open source. By popular demand, this year will see the return of the infamous comma llama. We are also very proud of the fantastic work by the Open Knowledge network teams around the globe to nurture open communities from Open Knowledge Finland’s creation of the MyData conference and movement to the investigations by journalists and developers enabled by Open Knowledge Germany and OpenCorporates’ recent release of data on 5.1 million German companies. And here in Belgium, it’s fantastic to hear about the hundreds of students who participated in Open Knowledge Belgium’s Open Summer of Code last year to create innovative open source projects as well as to be inspired by the team’s work on HackYourFuture Belgium, a coding school for refugees. To finish my speech, I want to echo Claire Melamed of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data: “People’s voices turned into numbers have power … and data has a power to reveal the truth about people’s lives even when words and pictures have failed.” So whether you’re interested in open government, open education or any of the other fascinating topics being explored today, I hope that you connect with people who will help you fight for openness, fight for the truth and fight for the rights of people in this country and beyond.

Building a more open world: thoughts from our new CEO Catherine Stihler

- February 11, 2019 in Featured, Open Knowledge International

This is my first week in my new role as Chief Executive of Open Knowledge International. Digital skills and data use have always been a personal passion, and I can’t wait to work alongside and meet so many talented people fighting for a more open world. It is a privilege to be part of an organisation that has set the global standard for genuinely free and open sharing of information, building on the vision of founder Dr Rufus Pollock who wants to create an open information age. There have been many gains in recent years that have made our society more open, with experts – be they scientists, entrepreneurs or campaigners – using data for the common good. But I join OKI at a time when openness is at risk. The acceptance of basic facts is under threat, with many expert views dismissed and a culture of ‘anti-intellectualism’ from those on the extremes of politics. Facts are simply branded ‘fake news’. The rise of the far right and the far left brings with it an authoritarian approach that could return us to a closed society. The way forward is to resuscitate the three foundations of tolerance, facts and ideas, to prevent the drift to the extremes. I want to help harness the power of open data and unleash its potential for the public good. In the last century, philosopher Karl Popper argued that openness to analysis and questioning would foster social and political progress. His vision can today be seen in the way that open data can enhance our 21st century life. There are cities in Europe using real-time sensor data to let motorists know the precise availability of parking spaces on streets and the location of buses in real-time. Open data can help the environment, by analysing usage trends in how we treat household waste, it can improve the health of a nation by predicting outbreaks of diseases, and it can allow authorities to respond to extreme weather events like snowstorms and floods in a more coordinated way. And it can benefit consumers as well. Last week at a technology conference in Edinburgh I met with a Scottish company called Get Market Fit, which has designed a free online tool called Think Check. It lets shoppers check whether a product or seller is all it seems and warn you if you’re being exposed to fakes, fraud or shopping scams. When open data becomes useful, usable and used – when it is accessible and meaningful and can help someone solve a problem – that’s when it becomes open knowledge. And it is not just about making our lives easier. Open knowledge can make powerful institutions more accountable, and vital research information can help us tackle challenges such as poverty, disease and climate change. If we know how governments spend our money — both their plans and the reality — they are more accountable to citizens. The poet Robert Frost, who spoke at President John F Kennedy’s inauguration, wrote about a man who said ‘good fences make good neighbours’. But the truth is that good neighbours don’t put up fences – they share knowledge across an open space. It is incumbent on us all to become good neighbours so that we can build a more open world.

Catherine Stihler appointed new CEO of Open Knowledge International

- November 30, 2018 in Featured, News, Open Knowledge International

Catherine Stihler has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge International. Catherine has years of experience in the creation and sharing of knowledge on the global stage. She will join the OKI team in February, and will stand down as an MEP at the end of January after an extraordinary career in EU policy-making spanning nearly 20 years. Catherine has served as an MEP for Scotland since 1999, where she lives with her husband and young children. In this role she has served as Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection committee and authored influential reports and opinions that have shaped EU policy. She is also the former Rector of the University of St Andrews – where she received an honorary doctorate earlier this year. She has worked on digital policy, prioritising the digital single market, digital skills, citizen online data protection, copyright reform to support internet freedoms, and the role of Artificial Intelligence and automation.

Catherine Stihler, photo by DAVID ILIFF, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Catherine Stihler said:
“I am relishing an exciting new challenge and opportunity with Open Knowledge International. “Digital skills and data use have always been a personal passion, and I am eager to assist groups across the world to create and share open knowledge, and encourage the next generation to understand that information is power which can be used to address poverty and other social challenges.”
Tim Hubbard, Chair of the Open Knowledge International board, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Catherine to our team. She has years of experience in shaping policy and using evidence and openness to help address global challenges such as climate change, internet freedoms and public health. “Catherine has demonstrated an ability to bring people together, building coalitions and trust in a world that really needs it. She has translated complicated and technical knowledge around digital skills, copyright and AI to help shape European policy, making a real and lasting difference for hundreds of millions of people.
“Her dynamism, energy and commitment will be invaluable for the open movement as we face the new challenges of the 21st century.”

Open Knowledge International needs a new CEO – Could this be you? Apply by 1 October

- September 25, 2018 in job, Jobs, Open Knowledge International

The space around us is changing and Open Knowledge International needs a CEO who can help refine our identity and mission in this changing context. We are looking for someone who is entrepreneurial, creative and can work out what open means today, turning our mission into reality. You will be able to harness our activist ethos to deliver the services and products while ensuring the sustainability of the organisation and our mission. The application deadline closes this Monday, 1 October 2018. As the leader of our organisation, you will be in charge of directing our activities, shaping our fundraising and business development efforts, and nurturing our relationships with our funders, partners and communities, while welcoming and pursuing new opportunities and collaborations for open data. You will translate the open philosophy into concrete streams for our clients and operationalise that vision. You will help our funders, partners and clients understand what open means for them and what standards can do to make that a reality. You might be a senior leader within the open movement, in an organisation that promotes openness or in a data driven environment, with a strong desire and a passion to make a difference and are looking for the right vehicle to make that change. You have experience in operationalising the mission for organisations and are now looking for the opportunity to articulate the vision. Translating that vision in a changing context of user expectations, government and corporate ideologies and politics excites you. For more information on the role, click here.   About us Open Knowledge International (OKI) is a multi-award winning international not-for-profit organisation. We build tools and communities to create, use and share open knowledge — content and data that everyone can use, share, build on, and ultimately make informed decisions as a result. Ours is a mixed business model, undertaking both grant and commercial projects, and fundraising to cover our core work. Partnerships and networks are essential to our impact and we see ourselves as part of a global network of communities, organisations, advocates, government officials and activists. We are supported by a Board of Directors and staff who are passionate about what we do.   Why we do what we do Our world seems to be closing or threatening to close in a whole range of ways. Knowledge is a part of how power plays out, about who can own and use it and make an impact in the world. Open Knowledge International wants to be part of getting that right. OKI, as a part of the broader open movement and network of organisations has been focused on:
  • working with civil society organisations help find value of open data for their mission and work,
  • providing organisations with the tools and skills to effectively use data, and
  • help make government efforts around information sharing responsive to civil society needs.
We believe this is important, this matters; this is necessary for making the world a better place. If you are enthused about our mission and believe you can lead us into the next chapter of our journey, please get in touch before 1 October 2018.

Open Knowledge International needs a new CEO – Could this be you?

- August 1, 2018 in Featured, job, Jobs, Open Knowledge International

The space around us is changing and Open Knowledge International needs a CEO who can help refine our identity and mission in this changing context. We are looking for someone who is entrepreneurial, creative and can work out what open means today, turning our mission into reality. You will be able to harness our activist ethos to deliver the services and products while ensuring the sustainability of the organisation and our mission. As the leader of our organisation, you will be in charge of directing our activities, shaping our fundraising and business development efforts, and nurturing our relationships with our funders, partners and communities, while welcoming and pursuing new opportunities and collaborations for open data. You will translate the open philosophy into concrete streams for our clients and operationalise that vision. You will help our funders, partners and clients understand what open means for them and what standards can do to make that a reality. You might be a senior leader within the open movement, in an organisation that promotes openness or in a data driven environment, with a strong desire and a passion to make a difference and are looking for the right vehicle to make that change. You have experience in operationalising the mission for organisations and are now looking for the opportunity to articulate the vision. Translating that vision in a changing context of user expectations, government and corporate ideologies and politics excites you. For more information on the role, click here.   About us Open Knowledge International (OKI) is a multi-award winning international not-for-profit organisation. We build tools and communities to create, use and share open knowledge — content and data that everyone can use, share, build on, and ultimately make informed decisions as a result. Ours is a mixed business model, undertaking both grant and commercial projects, and fundraising to cover our core work. Partnerships and networks are essential to our impact and we see ourselves as part of a global network of communities, organisations, advocates, government officials and activists. We are supported by a Board of Directors and staff who are passionate about what we do.   Why we do what we do Our world seems to be closing or threatening to close in a whole range of ways. Knowledge is a part of how power plays out, about who can own and use it and make an impact in the world. Open Knowledge International wants to be part of getting that right. OKI, as a part of the broader open movement and network of organisations has been focused on:
  • working with civil society organisations help find value of open data for their mission and work,
  • providing organisations with the tools and skills to effectively use data, and
  • help make government efforts around information sharing responsive to civil society needs.
We believe this is important, this matters; this is necessary for making the world a better place. If you are enthused about our mission and believe you can lead us into the next chapter of our journey, please get in touch.  

Welcoming our new Open Knowledge International Board

- July 23, 2018 in governance, News, Open Knowledge International

We have a series of important announcements regarding our Open Knowledge International governance. With the organisation having been through significant developments over the past years, we are now at a point of stability, with good systems in place and great staff driving the mission. The current updates to our Board of Directors reflect the new energy and drive that will help us achieve the next steps in our journey.
First of all, we are delighted to welcome six new members to our Open Knowledge International Board of Directors. Following a great response to our call for new Board members, we are excited to have these new members to help us effectively challenge and support our ambitions:
  Vanessa Barnett is a commercial lawyer who helps clients who are using technology to innovate or disrupt established ways of doing things. She has supported clients from household-name global brands to nimble start-ups do this for over 15 years, across goods, services and digital.
    Irina Bolychevsky works as data consultant for W3C, Open Data Institute and the UK and Dubai governments. She co-founded redecentralize.org — a project to promote and bring together people working on and interested in decentralised digital technologies. She previously worked at OKI as Commercial Director and CKAN product owner.
  Entrepreneur & data specialist Vicky Brock is Founder of Get Market Fit and Founder and former CEO of Clear Returns. In November 2017 she was named Scotland’s Most Inspiring Business Person by Founders4Schools at the Entrepreneurial Scotland Awards.

  Jarmo Elukka Eskelinen is the Chief Innovation and Technology Officer of the Future Cities Catapult, which help firms develop the products and services to meet the changing needs of cities.       Joining our Board is Dr. Rufus Pollock, President & Founder of Open Knowledge International. He was a member of our Board from its founding in 2004 until 2013, and continued to act as Board Secretary until 2015.     Johnny West is director of OpenOil, a Berlin-based consultancy which uses open data and methodologies to build investment-grade financial and commercial analysis for governments and societies of their natural resource assets. He sits on the Advisory Board of FAST, the only open source financial modelling standard, and is an alumnus of the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship.
  Our long-time Board member Jane Silber has recently stepped down from her position. We would like to express our warm thanks for the great contribution she made to our organisation over the past years, and wish her well in her future endeavours. Helen Turvey continues her role as a much valued Board member. Joining in as Board Observer is Dietmar Walter on behalf of Viderum. As entrepreneurial Chairman, CEO, Non Executive Director and Business Advisor, Dietmar has a track record in setting up, growing and leading global tech, data analytics, software and market intelligence organisations, from start-up through to successful exit. He has held senior positions within the IT industry for the last 20 years and is currently a strategic advisor to several data analytics and software start-up companies. Andrew Clarke, our current Board Observer for Omidyar Network, will be leaving the Board in the near future. We are grateful to Andrew for supporting our Board, as well as supporting our organisation over the years.

Other changes – our new Chair and short term Executive Director

We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Tim Hubbard is the new Chair of the Board, having taken over from Karin Christiansen during the last Board meeting of 12 June 2018. Karin has recently taken on the role of Executive Director (hence the need to step down from the role of Non-Executive Board Chair). The leadership team, Mark Gibbs (COO) and Paul Walsh (CPO), requested that she step-in to assist with leading the organisation while we recruit a CEO. This is very much an interim measure until a CEO is hired. We will soon share more on the CEO vacancy. Finally, we are sad to announce that Mark Gibbs, our Chief Operating Officer since 2015, will be leaving OKI due to personal circumstances at the end of September 2018. He has kindly agreed to flexibility on this. This is much appreciated, as is the thoughtfulness and great work Mark has done for the organisation. He will be greatly missed. We look forward to having our new Board members serve in addition to their governance roles as advocates and ambassadors for Open Knowledge International’s mission – all information on the Board can be found on our Board of Directors page.

Board members wanted!

- February 15, 2018 in Featured, Open Knowledge International

Open Knowledge International (OKI), the international non-profit dedicated to realising open data’s value to society, is looking for people to join our Board of Directors. Background in brief below and full details here.

We want you!

We are seeking passionate people to join a committed and experienced team, to foster and promote our mission and achieve our goals. We are entrusted with holding the vision of the organisation and supporting the Executive Team to deliver with excellence. Our team provides independent advice, robust governance, and the ability to effectively challenge and support OKI’s ambitions. Our culture is dynamic, collegial, flexible and always open to new ideas. We are looking for up to three people to join our Board of Directors, and are particularly interested in those with expertise and experience in the following areas:
  • Board Level Experience or Experience as an advocate of the open movement, from grassroots to government
  • Finance
  • Advocacy
  • Media relations
  • Commercial
  • Fundraising
  • Research

Where we’re at

This is an exciting and important point in the journey of OKI and the Board. The organisation has been through significant development over recent years and we are now at point of stability, with good systems in place and great staff driving the mission. Taking the original vision of our Founder and President, Rufus Pollock, and the work done to build upon this by Laura James and Pavel Richter, and now under the leadership of Mark Gibbs and Paul Walsh, we are looking firmly to the future. We need a Board that can drive OKI to the next level of impact and inspiration, with a vision to match. We need people who care about open knowledge and can help OKI to push our agenda through the challenges faced in the world. We need steering and guidance, oversight of strategy and delivery, and those who can help ensure our impact as a organisation and our leading role in the open movement.

The mission?

We seem to be threatened with an increasingly closed world in a whole range of ways. Open Knowledge wants to be part of the solution. OKI shows the value of open data for the work of civil society organisations, provides organisations with the tools and skills to effectively use open data, and makes government information systems responsive to civil society. This is important; this matters; this is necessary for making the world a better place. The basics are done here: this is about supporting and challenging the Leadership team in getting the job done while navigating challenges as they arise. In addition to guidance around strategy, providing accountability, developing policy, fundraising and sustainability, etc, the Board will be looking at how we reframe ‘open’ in the current climate and looking at what’s ahead. OKI is a mixed business model, undertaking projects, utilising commercial opportunities and fundraising for core work. OKI is one organisation with a global network of communities, organisations, advocates, government officials and activists. OKI has a broad reach and is looking at how best to help people in particular sectors & domains – especially Civil Society Organisations – to use open knowledge (definitions, data and process, techniques and world views) to have impact in their fields. Questions to be considered include, ‘what is the right business model and strategy to deliver on mission?’, ‘what are the trade-offs in decisions around future focus?’, and ‘how do we support the Leadership to make the best decisions?’ We are looking for people who can help us figure out what approach we should be taking and then to help us do it. Throughout all this we expect Board members to be advocates and ambassadors for OKI, and we strongly welcome people who can aid us in diversity and inclusivity.

No Board experience? No Problem!

While leadership experience of non-profit or SME is essential for the board as a whole, it would be helpful to also include someone with no previous board experience: we want someone invested in the open movement, and have the capacity to support you in learning the ropes as a Board member. If you believe you have insight to offer and value to add to these kinds of discussions, then we warmly encourage you to apply.

Have a little time to spare?

We are asking for roughly 4 to 5 hours per month, which includes attendance at bi-monthly meetings held in London, for 2 years initially.

Meet the Team

Karin Christiansen
Board Chair Karin Christiansen has been Chair of Open Knowledge since September 2013. Karin is currently doing strategy, leadership and operational consultancy work including at the Open Data Institute. Prior to that she was the General Secretary of the Co-operative Party. She was the founder/CEO of Publish What You Fund, the global campaign on the transparency of aid. Before setting up Publish What You Fund, Karin worked as a Policy Manager at ONE and for many years as Research Fellow at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure. She joined ODI having worked as an Economist at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture. Prior to that, Karin worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 2011 Karin was named as one of the Devex London 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders. Jane Silber
Board Member Jane Silber is the former CEO of Canonical. Canonical produces Ubuntu, the leading open source platform for client, server and cloud computing. Before becoming CEO in 2010, she served as Canonical’s COO from the company’s founding. Jane has over 20 years of business development, strategic leadership, operations and software management experience. An experienced Board member, she currently sits on the boards of Canonical, The Sensible Code Company and Haverford College. She holds an MBA degree from Oxford University, an MSc degree in Management of Technology from Vanderbilt University, and a BSc degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from Haverford College. Helen Turvey
Board Member Helen Turvey (King) is CEO of the Shuttleworth Foundation. She originally joined the Shuttleworth Foundation to define international relations for the organisation, before moving into her present role where she is responsible for all of the Foundations strategic and operational elements. Helen was educated in Europe, South America and the Middle East. With 15 years worth of experience working with international NGOs and agencies, she is driven by the belief that open technologies, content and processes have vast benefits and value to offer education, economies and communities in both the developed and developing worlds. Dr. Tim Hubbard
Board Member Tim Hubbard is Professor of Bioinformatics and Head of Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at King’s College London. He is also Head of Genome Analysis at Genomics England, a company established by the UK government to execute the 100,000 Genome Project, which aims to mainstream the use of whole genome sequence analysis for treatment in the UK National Health Service (NHS). From 1997-2013 he worked at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute where he was one of the organisers of the sequencing of the human genome. In 1999 he co-founded the Ensembl project to analysis, organise and provide access to the human genome and from 2007 led the GENCODE project to annotate the structure of all human genes. He is an advocate of the benefits of open access and open data release for science and society as a whole and has served on multiple national information access advisory boards including Europe PMC (PubMedCentral) the repository for open access publications. He received his BA from Cambridge University (UK), and PhD from Birkbeck College, University of London (UK).

Interested?

Full details and application process may be found here on our jobs page. Please note that a Board member is a Non-Executive and unpaid position. UK-based applicants are preferred but candidates based within UTC -1 and +4 will also be considered. The closing date for applications is 30th March 2018, to on-board new Board members in time for our June meeting. If you have any questions then do reach out via hr-team@okfn.org. If you believe in our mission, and are working in a CSO or similar sector where you are using open to further your work, come join us – and help us make your work easier. We would love to hear from you!

新しいオープン・ナレッジ・ネットワークの支部が日本とスウェーデンで始動

- September 22, 2016 in chapter, Featured, News, OKI, Open Knowledge International, opendata, OpenGovernment, オープンガバメント, オープンデータ, 支部

(訳注:この記事は Open Knowledge International ブログ記事の日本語訳です) 今月はオープン・ナレッジ・ネットワークの2つの新しい支部が始動しました。日本支部とスウェーデン支部です。支部はオープン・ナレッジ・ネットワークの中でいちばん発展した形で、ファウンデーションからは法的に独立しており、了解覚書によって提携します。現在の私たちの全支部一覧はこちらを参照してください。その構成のより詳細な情報はネットワーク・ガイドラインを参照してください。 オープン・ナレッジ・ジャパンは古参の団体のひとつです。2012年に立ち上がり、政府・自治体におけるオープンデータの利用について数多くのプロモーションを行ってきました。また日本におけるオープンデータ・デイの盛り上げを全国60以上の地域イベントとともに牽引しています。これは私たちの東アジアにおける最初の支部になります。 オープン・ナレッジ・スウェーデンは、1766年に最初のFOI(情報の自由)法を実装した土地柄ですが、依然としてそのプラットフォームであるFragastatenを通じてアクティブにプロモートしており、遺産の領域でアクティブなハックを行っています。彼らは現在EUが資金提供したプロジェクト「Clarity- Open EGovernment Services」の一部です。彼らはちょうどOKawardを開始したばかりです。これは、公共や企業のセクターからのオープン・ナレッジの貢献者への認知を高める、この地域最初の賞となるでしょう。彼らは北欧諸国ではお隣のフィンランドに次いで2番目の支部になります。
オープン・ナレッジ・ファウンデーションのグローバルネットワークは、スコットランドからカメルーン、中国からチェコ共和国まで、今や40ヶ国以上の団体を含んでいます。これらの団体のうち11箇所が今や支部として提携しています。専門の市民アクティビスト、オープンネスの専門家そしてデータ探索者といった人たちが実践するネットワークはオープン・ナレッジ・インターナショナルのミッションの、そしてオープン運動の森の中心に位置しています。 オープン・ナレッジ・インターナショナルのCEOであるPavel Richter は次のように述べています。「オープン・ナレッジの地域組織、とりわけ私たちの支部は、世界のオープン・ナレッジ運動の進め方をリードしています」「東アジアの、そして北欧諸国2番目の支部ができたのは、オープンネスへの需要が依然存在していることを示しており、新しい支部がどのように私たちの運動をリードするか、楽しみにしています」

日本でのオープンデータ・デイのイベントの中から。クレジット: OKJP


オープン・ナレッジ・ジャパン(OKJP)代表理事、庄司昌彦より「オープン・ナレッジ・ジャパンは日本におけるオープンデータの活用とオープン・ナレッジの運動を21人の専門家と10の法人とともに牽引してきました。公式にオープン・ナレッジ・インターナショナルの支部となったことは大変光栄であり、この喜びを日本の活発なオープンデータ・コミュニティと共有したいと思います。私たちはアジアの他のオープン・ナレッジのコミュニティ、そして世界中の仲間とともに前に進んで行きたいと思います。」

オープンデータ・デイでのOK SE のメンバー。クレジット: se.okfn.org


オープン・ナレッジ・スウェーデンの議長、Serdar Temizより「オープン・ナレッジにおける変革者ネットワークの緊密な一部となれたことを嬉しく思います。OKIの支部になることは、大きな喜びと栄誉です。オープン・ナレッジ運動の最前線にいる組織の一部になれて喜びに耐えません。最初の2年間で、OKIがOKコミュニティにおける私たちの活動を認知し、数少ない公式の支部になれたことは私たちの励みとなります。」 原文(2016/9/21 Open Knowledge Foundation Blog 記事より):
Original post New Open Knowledge Network chapters launched in Japan and Sweden / Open Knowledge International, licensed under CC BY 4.0 International.