[foundation-board] Application for Chapter Status from Swiss Local group

Rufus Pollock rufus.pollock at okfn.org
Sun Apr 29 15:43:02 UTC 2012

On 27 April 2012 08:56, Jordan S Hatcher <jordan at opencontentlawyer.com>wrote:

> Hi Laura
> Many thanks for implementing this format.
> Comments inline.
> On 25 Apr 2012, at 13:51, Laura James wrote:


> Proposed name of chapter
> ******************************
> Opendata.ch
> I'm a bit confused by the selection of name.  If they are a chapter, then
> why  not an "Open Knowledge Foundation Switzerland" type name?

They selected the website name and organization name before this Chapter
process began (i.e. they are an example of an existing group becoming a
chapter). I would agree that we'd prefer the chapter itself be named Open
Knowledge Foundation Switzerland or some-such (they could keep website as
needed). We could clarify whether this sort of rename would be possible.

> How does having chapters with non-OKFN names fit into our overall chapter
> strategy?  It seems we are missing a key branding/awareness opportunity.
>  Also how does having an unrelated name impact our ability to have some
> amount of control (formally or informally) over the direction of the
> various chapters and the Open Knowledge Foundation name and work that we do
> here in the UK? (assuming we want control)

I'm not sure not sharing the exact name has much actual effect on control.
The MoU and their designation as the official chapter can still be


> - any other activities
> * Launched 6 inquires in the national parliament, see
> http://www.digitale-nachhaltigkeit.ch/2011/10/ogd-vorstoesse-make-open-data/
> * Achieved status of a "prioritized plan" for OGD in the national
> e-gov strategy, see
> http://www.news.admin.ch/message/index.html?lang=de&msg-id=44088
> * Initiated official OGD activities at the City of Zurich, continuous
> support of the project under the umbrella of http://www.ezuerich.ch
> * Creation of a manifesto explaining our goals, signed by several
> national policy makers: http://opendata.ch/manifest/
> * Speaking at events such as
> http://opendata.ch/2011/11/5-egov-symp11-benefit-of-open-government-data/
> * Organized
> http://liftconference.com/news/lift12-video-rufus-pollock-open-data-how-we-got-here-and-where-were-going
> * Media relations resulting in a fair amount of media attention, see
> http://opendata.ch/pressearchiv/
> * Lots and lots of meetings with policy makers and civil servants of all
> levels
> *
> Given their name and the above list of events, do they have any plans to
> do work across all areas of open knowledge or area they really focussed on
> open data only?

My feeling is that they are quite focused on Open Data but that has been
true of many groups who are getting involved. I don't think this would
prevent them working in other open knowledge areas as necessary. On this
point I'd be happy to let this pass if we asked them to be open to working
more broadly in the open knowledge space if needed in the future.

> If open data only, then will we be expecting to have a second Swiss
> chapter that covers other open knowledge areas of we get an application
> from someone else working on, say, Open Economics or Shakespeare, or
> something else?

I don't think so -- I'd also note that Open Economics is mainly open data
related :-)

> Brief outline of why the local group wishes to become a Chapter
> *******************************
> As discussed with Rufus et al: we are convinced that our common goal
> need a certain level of coordination across countries. OKFN provides
> the ideal way to achieve this.
> Surely they can coordinate with us without being a chapter?
> What benefits of being a Chapter, particularly one without a common name,
> are there for them and us?

For us is that we have an explicit group connected to us in Switzerland
working actively on the areas we care about. Being a chapter or official
local group is different from being simply comrades in arms. For them, (I
believe) it provides connection to the broader OKFN community, prestige of
being a chapter / local group, ability to learn (and to contribute back)
from OKFN central and other groups.

Outline of any specific plans the group has for its first year as a Chapter
> *******************************
> - Publish first comprehensive study on OGD in Switzerland
> (forthcoming, see
> http://opendata.ch/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/OGD-Studie_Schweiz_Orientierung_20120119.pdf
> )
> - Continue national/cantonal policy work
>  - help getting legislation passed on open weather data
>  - clarify legal situation regarding open public transport data (see
> http://transport.opendata.ch)
>  - launch initiative for open health data
>  - lots of lobbying for  federal open data initiative ("data.admin.ch")
> - National conference (with OKFN keynote speakers):
> http://opendata.ch/2012
> - Local hackday in Berne, 27 April, http://make.opendata.ch/bern/
> - Open Health Data Hackay: 28/29 September, Basel
> - Two hackdays in spring 2013, Geneva and Zurich
> - Overall: try to establish some professional structures
> Form of incorporation
> *******************************
> Association under Swiss law.
> Articles see
> http://opendata.ch/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Statuten_opendata_Version_1.00_19-Januar-2012.pdf
> Memorandum of Understanding
> *******************************
> We requested a small number of changes to the template provided by
> OKFN. See
> https://docs.google.com/a/opendata.ch/document/d/1rDwK8rKrF2t-EESZyS4yZRMaAeorqhsKdB8udwDfRJU/edit
> Clause 6 doesn't work because if you say that there is no consideration
> you run into problems of enforceability in English law.
> Clause 7 needs some tweaks to reflect that (at least in the future when we
> have such a policy/license) that use of the OKFN name is controlled by us
> and that they must terminate use of the name and logo if they cease to be a
> chapter.

I'd also be adverse to adding new clauses to the MoU for specific chapters.

> ****************************************************************************************************************
> Risk assessment of opendata.ch from Chapter Coordinator
> I'd say risk: very little, given that the group is already quite
> established (and is a good team of folk). The only worry I'd have is that
> they are reasonably independent of us - but given how things were in the
> region, I think integrating an existing group (opendataCH) into the OKFN
> network as a Chapter is a good idea (we won't have the same organisational
> problems with them that we've had with OKFN DE, for example, as this group
> are already operating autonomously).
> Given that they are so autonomous, what can we offer them realistically
> and what will we get out of it other than by working with them closely?

I've answered some of this above. I think the basic answer is that we do
provide a much greater network than they would otherwise have. Furthermore,
in the open data space we are looked to as leaders so association with
other helps them both in terms of pure espirt de corps and more generally.

I ask because in part they may be expecting different things from us long
> term as a chapter and it'd be good to feed this in to longer term OKFN
> plans -- the kind of incubation we usually offer other budding chapters
> doesn't seem to apply here.

True, although one of the big things they want is us to come out and meet
them and support their events (as with other chapters - e.g. i spoke at
their open data event last year, and may do this year).

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