The biggest news this week here at Horizon has been the announcement of funding for a new Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training! The new CDT will focus on the theme of “My Life in Data” and will train a community of 80 future leaders to develop the technologies and applications of our ‘digital identities’ in a way that ensures their transparent use across the economy and wider society. The Centre brings together leading figures from computing and engineering as well as the social sciences, business and humanities, and is co-funded by over twenty industry, third sector and international partners.
- Nominet Trust have published a state-of-the-art review looking at Big Data and Social Organisations. The review says that if social organisations can realise the potential of Big Data then new practices and interventions that offer radically different approaches to addressing some of the most persistent social challenges can be created.
- The BBC signed Memorandums of Understanding supporting free and open internet technologies with The Open Data Institute, The Open Knowledge Foundation, The Mozilla Foundation and The Europeana Foundation. These agreements will enable closer collaboration between the BBC and each of the four organisations on a range of mutual interests, including the release of structured open data and the use of open standards in web development.
- Horizon partners Nottingham City Council have launched a new version of Open Data Nottingham which is the portal for all of Nottingham City’s open data. The site contains over 80 data sets, all released under an Open Government Licence, and new content is added regularly but data users are invited to get in touch if a data set they wish to access is unavailable.
That’s all for this week! However if you are interested in the new Horizon Centre for Doctoral Training or in Open Data Nottingham please get in touch via the comments or on Twitter!
This week’s open data post focuses on how you can get involved with open data – including undertaking data exploration, using applications powered by personal data, and hearing about the impact open data can have on the future of key industries.
- The Open Data Research Network, in collaboration with the Web Foundation and the Open Data Institute, recently published the Open Data Barometer 2013 Annual Report. The Open Data Barometer takes a multidimensional look at the spread of Open Government Data policy and practice across the world. It has also been visualised by the Open Data Institute.
- The midata Innovation Lab has launched five new prototype applications which allow people to use their personal data in innovative new ways. The applications which address the issues of energy support for vulnerable people, personal finance management, healthcare and lifestyle changes, caring for vulnerable people, and moving home are available via the midata Innovation Lab website.
- The Open Data Institute are hosting their inaugural research afternoon entitled “Show me the future of… Food and Open Data” on the 28th November 2013. The event will feature several leading researchers discussing the future of food and how open data has the potential to transform the sector
If you’re interested in learning more about how to use open data why not attend one of Ordnance Survey’s free Open Data Masterclasses – limited places are still available for the 2013 Masterclass series.
Lots of the Horizon team have been at this week’s Digital Economy All Hands event which took place at the incredible MediaCityUK in Salford. The theme was “Open Digital” so it was unsurprising to hear plenty about open data – including a fascinating final keynote speech from Dame Wendy Hall entitled “Lets Be Open About This” which looked at the importance of openness in the development of the world wide web and the potential of open data for the future. Dame Wendy also talked about the “Age of Data” and the importance of linked open data and big data.
Some other interesting developments in the open data arena this week have included:
- The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in partnership with the Information Economy Council have published their data capability strategy for the UK entitled “Seizing the data opportunity”. Neil Crockett of the Connected Digital Economy Catapult has welcomed the strategy as a “strong and important milestone” for the UK data community
- The Open Data Institute have published their Annual Review looking back on their first year of operation following The ODI Annual Summit last week . Highlights include the recruitment of 40 members – including Horizon – as well as support for a dozen start-ups and the establishment of a global network. Not bad for a years work!
- The Connected Digital Economy Catapult have announced a number of new projects including the Greater Manchester Data Synchronisation Project - a partnership with FutureEverything and the Future Cities Catapult that will develop a programme of work to overcome a number of challenges around the areas of capacity, support and dissemination in the coordinated release of city datasets.
- The Open Government Partnership conference took place in London on the 31st October and 1st November. If, like me, you didn’t manage to attend the conference the Cabinet Office have pulled together a handy summary of key news and announcements.
That’s it for this week but don’t forget to follow Horizon on Twitter for more regular updates and news about all aspects of the Digital Economy!
Happy Hallowe’en! There’s nothing spooky about open data but it has been an action-packed week of open data activity and announcements ahead of the Open Data Institute Annual Summit and the 2013 Open Government Partnership Conference. Some key announcements are below:
- The Global Open Data Initiative have this week launched their Declaration on open data. The declaration, entitled “A Citizens’ Call to Action on Open Data” calls for increased action by governments around the world to move towards ‘open data by default’ in order to improve the quantity and quality of open data as well as to increase transparency and accountability
This really is only a snapshot of all that is going on at the moment in the field of open data – if you don’t believe me try searching for #opendata on Twitter! If there’s anything you think I’ve missed from this week’s post or that you’d like to see on future post please let me know in the comments.
There are lots of interesting opportunities coming up in the open data world over the next few weeks and months – from free online courses to exciting events:
- The European Journalism Centre have announced a free online data journalism course, due to start in early 2014. The five-module introductory course gives participants the essential concepts, techniques and skills to effectively work with data and produce compelling stories under tight deadlines
- The Global Open Data Initiative have published a draft Declaration on Open Data. Feedback is invited by the 8th November 2013
- The Open Data Institute and Nesta have announced the finalists for the Crime and Justice Open Data Challenge competition. The three finalists – Stolen Bike UK, Total Car Check and Deaf Justice – have each been awarded £5000 to develop their ideas
- The Open Data Institute are holding their Annual Summit on Tuesday 29th October, confirmed speakers include Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt
Finally, the Horizon team are currently gearing up to attend DE2013: Open Digital which is taking place at MediaCity in Salford on the 4th – 6th November – if you’re planning on attending do stop by our stand and say hello!
Last week Horizon hosted it’s very first “Digital Economy Thought Leadership” event. The aim of these events is to get a group of leading academics together with representatives from industry and civil society to discuss a topic which is expected have a significant impact on society and the digital economy. We decided to use the midata programme as the focus for the initial event as not only does it present a huge opportunity for the way in which we use personalised services but midata raises a lot of questions which can be related to Horizon’s research around privacy and personal data.
It was clear from the discussions which took place at the event that programmes like midata are seen as an exciting opportunity to empower consumers and can provide significant value to businesses through the development of new products and services which use personal data. It was also very clear that for the full benefits of midata to be realised both consumers and businesses need to be thinking much more about the privacy of personal data, moving towards a model of privacy by design. We had some really interesting debates about the next generation of personal data storage systems which keep information distributed and access it via algorithms. This allows users to maintain privacy and control over their personal data, allowing specific people to access specific data by prior agreement. A topic which also came under frequent discussion was the difficulty of informed consent when it comes to long, complex terms of service and privacy agreements, particularly in the online space, as well as the issue of third party data access.
The workshop produced lots of really exciting project ideas including:
- Collective insight stores which enable consumers to pool their data in a privacy preserving way to recreate the insights held by large companies, create personalised recommendations and work collectively
- Customer service “cookies” which helps customers manage their personal data to improve the service they receive
- An automated system which generates personalised terms and conditions based on a customer’s privacy needs and a business’s data use requirements
- A system which enables consumers and banks to understand at the point of sale which merchants might not be legitimate
- An electronic payments system which protects consumer privacy
We are currently engaging with workshop attendees to discuss these projects in more detail and decide which ideas we might like to take forward as research or proof of concept projects. If any of the ideas above are of interest and you’d like to engage with us as we develop these projects please get in touch – either leave a comment below, tweet us at @HorizonDER or e-mail us!
A number of other event attendees have also written about the event so if you’re interested in the subject do check out the following articles:
The biggest news in open data this week, at least from a Horizon perspective, is the announcement by Ordnance Survey of a new series of Open Data Masterclasses, again supported by Horizon. The series of seven Masterclasses will take place at venues around the UK and anyone interested should register as soon as they can as places are limited.
Some other interesting pieces of open data news include:
What do you think – have I missed anything out? Is anyone planning to get involved with the Open Data Challenge Series or the Garment Factories Data Expedition?
Quite aside from the excitement of OKCon 2013 – more on that here - it’s been a stimulating and eventful couple of weeks for open data initiatives across the world. Highlights have included:
- The Open Knowledge Foundation announced a new partnership with the UK’s Open Data Institute and The World Bank to help policy makers and citizens in developing countries understand and exploit the benefits of open data
- The Nominet Trust are working with The Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust to launch Housing Data Everything, the largest-ever housing dataset. The project intends to revolutionise the use of data in social housing through increased transparency and improved services.
- Martin Tisne of the Omidyar Network wrote a really interesting piece entitled “What’s the point of Open Data?” which argued that data needs to not only be publicly available but also accessible to allow people to make best use of it
- The Vice-President of the European Commission, Nellie Kroes, gave an interview in which she talked about the benefits of open data
- ARM‘s Chief Technology Officer Mike Muller recently spoke to Gigaom about the opportunities for data privacy presented by the Internet of Things
Horizon Director Derek Mcauley has also written two really interesting pieces on various aspects of the ongoing personal data and privacy debate:
- Data where? Mac talks about the technical considerations behind personal data stores, cloud services and the internet of things
- The Government scheme that’s after your data: a piece for The Conversation which talks about the midata programme and the midata innovation lab in the context of customer engagement, consumer privacy and the technical and legal considerations which still need to be looked at to enable the midata initiative to be successful
So what do you think – can privacy, personal data and open data ever co-exist?
I spent last week at the 2013 Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) which took place in Geneva and was co-organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation and OpenData.ch, the Swiss Chapter of the OKFN. Some of the key highlights from the event, at least from the sessions I attended, included the following:
- The idea of empowerment through open knowledge and that the real power of open data is in how people use it – Rufus Pollock, Chair of OKFN
- The European Union is strongly in favour of open data and is not only making lots of their own data open through the EU data portal but is working towards presumptions in favour of open data both in law and in research – Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission
- Most people don’t care about open data but good quality data makes everyone’s lives easier and opening data helps improve the quality of that data – Chris Taggart, Open Corporates
- Demand for open data is widespread and people who have limited access to open data can still use it in innovative ways when given the opportunity – Sam Lee and Filipe Esteban from The World Bank who have undertaken open data activities with entirely offline communities in the developing world as a way of understanding demand for open data
- Did you know that all of CERN‘s research is available as open data? John Ellis’s talk on “Opening Particle Physics” was one of my favourite sessions at OKCon
- The Open Government Partnership may not be perfect but it provides an unparallelled opportunity for opening up governments worldwide and using open data for good – Rakesh Rajani, OGP Civil Society Chair
More details about the conference programme including recordings of sessions that were live-streamed are available via the OKCon website. The Open Knowledge Festival for 2014 was also announced at OKCon and will take place in Berlin from June 15th – 18th 2014.
All in all it was a really interesting event covering lots of different themes in the world of open data – from open government data to using open data for environmental purposes, education and much more besides. I’ll be writing some additional posts over the next few weeks about the sessions I attended on “my data and open data” and “how to run your own data expedition” as these are very relevant to a number of Horizon’s key areas of work so please watch this space!
It’s been another busy week in the open data world – see below for a round up of some key articles and calls for participation in a number of exciting initiatives:
- Lucy Chambers from the School of Data has written a really interesting piece on this year’s “School of Data Journalism” session at the 2013 International Festival of Journalism
- Data.gov.uk have produced a list of unpublished UK Government datasets and are asking for interested parties to review the list and provide feedback on what data should be prioritised for publication
- The Open Data Census is seeking volunteers from around the world to get involved with the latest census, due to be presented at the Open Government Partnership Summit in October
- The Information Economy Council is asking for views on a number of aspects of the Information Economy sector in the UK including data use
- Simon Whitehouse has written about the opportunities created by open data in criminal rehabilitation as part of the NESTA/ODI Open Data Challenge on Crime and Justice
- Slightly off-topic but definitely of interest given the ongoing concerns about the privacy of personal data is a recent blog from the Information Commissioners Office looking at encryption and data security
Next week I’ll be at OKCon, the 2013 Open Knowledge Foundation Conference, in Geneva so look out for updates about the conference both on this blog and the Horizon twitter account. In the meantime why not check out the latest Horizon newsletter for more on our research activities.