What’s the future for Open Knowledge?

By Alan Stanley (OKDS Senior Thematic Convernor) and Sarah King (IDS Communications Assistant)

Partners from the Open Knowledge Hub project will meet at IDS 21-23 October 2015 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 – something that IDS, as a long time advocate, welcomes.

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.

A meeting to be held at IDS from 21-23 October, will be the first time all the partners have gathered in one place and will present 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 falls 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’ which will be live streamed on the IDS website. It will be led by Evangelia Berdou, an IDS Research Fellow working at the interface of information communication technologies and development.

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