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What's the future for Open Knowledge?

Eldis is joining partners from the Open Knowledge Hub project to share learning and explore the future role of Open Knowledge approaches in addressing development challenges.

Recent years have seen a rapid rise in demand for the adoption of open knowledge approaches by the development community. This is something that, here at Eldis, and at IDS more broadly, we have been advocating for some time and wholeheartedly support.

But through our long engagement in this area we also recognise that smaller knowledge providers and users, including many based outside Europe and North America, often lack the technical capacity and resources to engage effectively in this area. This in turn means that they might not benefit from the increased visibility and reach for their ideas that open knowledge approaches potentially offer. 

It was this concern that led to the creation of Open Knowledge Hub. The project, with initial funding from DFID, brought together a group of international partners to create a new collaborative 'hub' that pays particular attention to supporting the sharing of content from these smaller organisations. 

The Hub itself, OKHub.org, builds on emerging approaches from the Open Access and Open Data movements to share open-licensed metadata (bibliographic data and links) about research documents, organisations and other materials. The idea is that by pooling our technical expertise and sharing what we learn, project partners can support each other to collectively adopt these approaches - something that individually we would struggle to achieve.

The meeting, the first time all the partners have gathered in one place, will be an opportunity to reflect on the particular challenges of adopting open approaches in their region or sector, as well as looking at specific learning needs that have been identified throughout the project and planning for how to take the work forward.

The timing of the event, from the 21-23rd October falls nicely during Open Access Week, which aims to provide an opportunity for academics and the wider research community to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, share learning and raise awareness.

On Friday 23 October there will be a seminar titled 'Open Knowledge: Rethinking opportunities, costs and barriers' led by Evangelia Berdou, an IDS Research Fellow working at the interface of information communication technologies and development.

The seminar is on Friday 23 October 2015 12:00 to 13:30 GMT+1. The event will be live streamed here on the IDS website.

In the context of research , a number of definitions of ‘openness’ are usually drawn together and define the sharing of research knowledge in digital, online formats.

‘Open access’ literature is digital, online, free of charge and free of most re-use restrictions. Open Access publishing aims to remove price barriers and permission barriers that can restrict the availability of knowledge.

‘Open content’ describes any copyrightable work licensed in a manner that provides users with free and perpetual permission to re-use that material. For example under the suite of Creative Commons licences (could we include the CC logo here?).

‘Open data’ is data that is made available in a way that enables it to be used, redistributed and combined with other data by anyone, for any purpose – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and sharealike.