Open Knowledge Foundation

Open Knowledge Foundation is a global, non-profit network that promotes and shares information at no charge, including both content and data. It was founded by Rufus Pollock on 20 May 2004 and launched on 24 May 2004 in Cambridge, UK. It is incorporated in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee. Between May 2016 and May 2019 the organisation was named Open Knowledge International, but decided in May 2019 to return to Open Knowledge Foundation.


The aims of Open Knowledge Foundation are:
In November 2018 Catherine Stihler was appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge Foundation. She joined the organisation in February 2019.
Between 2015-2017 Pavel Richter took on the role of CEO of Open Knowledge Foundation. Pavel was formerly Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland.
The Open Knowledge Foundation Advisory Council includes people from the areas of open access, open data, open content, open science, data visualization and digital rights. In 2015, it consisted of:
As of 2018, Open Knowledge Foundation has 11 official chapters and 38 groups in different countries.
It also supports 19 working groups.
Many of Open Knowledge Foundation's projects are technical in nature. Its most prominent project, CKAN, is used by many of the world's governments to host open catalogues of data that their countries possess.
The organisation tends to support its aims by hosting infrastructure for semi-independent projects to develop. This approach to organising was hinted as one of its earliest projects was a project management service called KnowledgeForge, which runs on the KForge platform. KnowledgeForge allows sectoral working groups to have space to manage projects related to open knowledge. More widely, the project infrastructure includes both technical and face-to-face aspects. The organisation hosts several dozen mailing lists for virtual discussion, utilises IRC for real-time communications and also hosts events.


Open Knowledge Foundation is an active partner with organisations working in similar areas, such as open educational resources.
Open Knowledge Foundation has produced the Open Knowledge Definition, an attempt to clarify some of the ambiguity surrounding the terminology of openness, as well as the Open Software Service Definition. It also supported the development of the Open Database License.
Outside of technology, Open Knowledge Foundation plays a role in advocating for openness broadly. This includes supporting the drafting of reports, facilitating consultation and producing guides.
Rufus Pollock, one of Open Knowledge Foundation's founders, and current board secretary sits on the UK government's Public Sector Transparency Board.


The foundation places a strong interest in the use of open source technologies. Its software projects are hosted on GitHub, which utilises the Git version control software. Some of the projects are listed below:
Much of the collaboration with other related organisations occurs via events that the foundation hosts. Its premier event is the Open Knowledge Conference, which has been held occasionally since 2007. Other events have been organised within the areas of data visualisation and free information network infrastructure.
Annually, Open Knowledge Foundation supports International Open Data Day

Panton Principles and Fellowships (Open data in Science)

The Panton Principles in 2010 had large contributions from Open Knowledge people and in 2011 Jonathan Gray and Peter Murray-Rust successfully obtained funding from OSF for two fellowships, held by Sophie Kershaw and Ross Mounce. In 2013 OKF obtained sponsorship from CCIA for 3 fellowships, which were awarded to Rosemarie Graves, Sam Moore and Peter Kraker.


Open Knowledge Foundation also supports Apps for Europe, and D-CENT, a European project created to share and organise data from seven countries, which is running from October 2013 to May 2016.