Welcome to the Open Knowledge Australia blog!

We will be using this blog to keep up to date on developments in Open Knowledge in Australia as well as notable developments overseas. This is the space where all members of Open Knowledge Australia can contribute to updating the public on relevant events, activities, initiatives, and research.

Global news

–       The first annual Open Government Partnership conference was held in Brasilia on 17-18 April 2012 and brought together over fifty governments as well as representatives of civil society and multilateral organisations. The aim was to showcase progress in open knowledge and formally present the commitments of the Open Government Partnership to encourage collaboration and exchange of best practice in the field of open government. Topics for discussion included leading open government, open data, and access to information processes as well as strategies for transparency and public engagement such as open data portals, e-petitions, and government-sponsored competitions. Videos of the proceedings are available here.

–       Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has been appointed to advise the UK Government on how to better engage with the public and open up policy-making. One of the initiatives Jimmy Wales will assist with is the Research Councils UK £2m Gateway to Research project. This project aims to enforce the government’s open access policy and implement sustainable methods to make all publicly funded UK research available online under a CC BY licence in a form able to be text-mined and re-used. The independent Working Group on Expanding Access to Published Research Findings is currently exploring how research can be made more accessible and will propose a programme of action for the government, research funders, publishers, and policy makers (further information on the group and minutes from their meetings are available here). A speech by the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willets, regarding this initiative is available here.

–       Recent developments in open licensing of data include the following:

  • The Austrian Government has released much of the data in its open data portal under a CC BY licence;
  • The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research has published its data collection about schools, students, and teachers under a CC BY licence (all data from Italy’s National Institute of Statistics is also already licensed under CC BY);
  • Harvard Library has released almost all of its catalog records into the public domain under its Open Metadata Policy; and
  • The World Bank has announced its Open Access Policy making CC BY the default licence for all of its publications, which can be viewed in its Open Knowledge Repository.

Local news

–       The Australian Government has recommended that public sector information be released free of charge under a CC BY Australian licence by default under the Australian Government Intellectual Property Manual.

–       The Brisbane City Council is running a hack::Brisbane competition, which allows anyone to use the Council’s datasets to create useful, new applications, websites, or tools. There is a $10 000 prize for the overall best app or website and for the app or website that best contributes to making Brisbane’s facilities and services more inclusive and accessible. The closing date is coming up on 18 May 2012 and there are already great submissions in the gallery. This builds on the Brisbane City Council’s HackFest last year, which was a mini-version of the current competition. One winning app allowed users to locate details of the closest public toilet, while the other winning app provided users with up-to-date information about nearby accessible venues. These competitions show what can be achieved with the 800 government datasets available at www.data.gov.au.

–       Gov2Qld held an event to discuss a vision for Open Data in Queensland. It was great to see that there is a community of committed and enthusiastic individuals from Government, education, not for profit, and private sectors, working towards opening up government and other data to benefit us all. There was consensus that opening up data means much more than dumping datasets online and that what might be most needed for open data to become a reality is a change in attitude. Developments which the group discussed included

  • The Wikidata project, which aims to create an editable, linked open data repository of facts about the world and sources for them;
  • The use of CC BY for materials of the Australian Electoral Commission and the World Bank;
  • The problems that arose from inadequate government data-sharing during the Queensland floods; and
  • Developments in the UK in the realm of open data and how Australia might be able to make similar progress in this field.

We look forward to discussing these developments and ongoing news with those interested in open knowledge in Australia.

If you know of any open knowledge developments which you would like to publish a blog post about; any relevant events, activities, or initiatives you would like to share; or even any relevant pictures that could be added to the site, please feel free to contact us here or join and contribute to the discussion list at http://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-au.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *