[okfn-advisory] Advising Open Knowledge in 2015

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Jan 28 12:15:47 UTC 2015

Thank you Rufus,

I don't want to get into a design-by-email

In retrospect what could and IMO should have happened would be:
* AC receive regular (occasionally confidential) updates on OKF. These
would have advised that a report was going to be written and estimated the
* then: an advice that the report had been submitted
* advice that certain section of the report had been embargoed by the

This is normal business and I would have been quite happy with this and
accepted it and kept the information confidential. Instead there were
rumours and uncertainty for many months.

A more recent example. By chance I have learnt that the OKF has a proposal
on Open (Clinical) Trials - with Ben Goldacre. This is excellent. However
in our ContentMine project we have independently made contact with Ben and
others and so see the proposal that has been submitted by OKF. I've spent
20 years in pharma, drug regulatory, electronic healthcare and would have
been happy to be involved - as it is I had only learnt by casual

I am not asking that AC is necessarily consulted about all early projects
at OKF or that OKF proactively take detailed account of the skills and
expertise of the AC.. However at present I know virtually nothing of what
the OKF is doing. I would expect that an AC would get regular formal
updates of lists of projects - at least titles and funders - when we may be
able to help with contacts, advice, moderation, encouragement, etc. We
cannot be expected to glean this from the website/s.

So in simple terms.

* Keep AC *regularly* up to date with OKF activities. Most of this will be
semi-public and almost all will be no more than staff-confidential.
* Ask AC if it has expertise in areas where OKF is likely to run projects,
hire people, etc...
* Specifically ask about critical foreseen events in OKF development.

Then we can possibly contribute.

And decide whether the AC is just for Rufus, or whether it's for the wider
OKF and Board. If it's just for Rufus I don't think it's useful. So I'd
like this discussion to go to the Board.


On Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 11:43 AM, Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org>

> I am responding quickly on the specific item around the report.
> Sharing has been delayed because of discussion with funder about the
> report and especially its final version and overall sharing process. Since
> this is not fully resolved and ultimately requires Board level sign-off on
> final steps (which has not happened) this has been delayed.
> I would also acknowledge that progress on resolving those items has not
> always been a top priority given the press of other very important things
> to do.
> I would really like to be sharing this with you all but I am also mindful
> that this is not completely straightforward and that this is not my (or
> other team members) sole decision to make.
> Rufus
> On 28 January 2015 at 11:38, Daniel Dietrich <daniel.dietrich at okfn.org>
> wrote:
>> I couldn't agree more with what Peter just said. I still have not seen
>> Morris Lipson's report although I have asked for it several times
>> (Management team have only shared the section about Germany with us so
>> far). Could the management team (witch is Rufus at the moment I guess)
>> please share the full report with us? Many thanks!
>> All best
>> Daniel
>> --
>> Daniel Dietrich, co-founder & chairman
>> Open Knowledge Foundation Germany
>> www.okfn.de | info at okfn.de | @okfde
>> Office: +49 30 57703666 0 | Fax: - 9
>> Mobile: +49 176 32768530
>> > On 28 Jan 2015, at 12:23, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>> >
>> > I've been on the Advisory Council since OKF started (10+ years). I've
>> been proud to have this position and have promoted it and the OKF.
>> >
>> > The OKF needs an AC. However I have been disappointed that there is no
>> structure or activity or role for the AC.  It has much in common with
>> Editorial Boards of journals where often the sole role is to parade the
>> great-and-good to convince people how wonderful the journal is. When that
>> happens I (a) create a fuss (b) resign publicly.
>> >
>> > The role of the AC is to be proactively asked for advice, and to be
>> listened to on a very regular basis.  It may also be required to help with
>> unexpected issues (both positive and negative). Although it may only be
>> advisory it should be taken seriously.
>> >
>> > In my ten years I have only met as advisory council  at OKFests where I
>> happened to be present. Berlin (which was very good), Helsinki, a dinner
>> run by Laura at Geneva. But these were random.
>> >
>> > Over the last 5 years there has been massive growth in OKF and the
>> council has not been consulted. I would have regarded the following as
>> mandatory for a AC:
>> > * change of name and logo. In my view these have been a disaster but I
>> have not been given the formal chance to comment
>> > * Morris Lipson's report. This is probably the most in-depth assessment
>> of the OKF (I cannot write OK as it's ridiculous). I was interviewed and
>> felt it was extremely constructive but have had zero feedback. If there is
>> any single activity the AC should have been involved in it is helping to
>> plan the future of OKF. We knew by hearsay that there was a report - that's
>> all, but that we weren't considered  responsible/useful enough to know
>> anything about it. Yes it may have had sensitive parts, but we are
>> experienced people and can deal with such matters.
>> >
>> > Effectively - at present - the AC is irrelevant to OKF, except as a
>> list of great-and-good.
>> >
>> > So if it is to go forward it has to be rearchitected properly. A bit of
>> sticking plaster will only lead to the same problems.
>> >
>> > ***I would suggest that these views go to the Board - as it's their
>> responsibility for what the AC does or does not get involved in.***
>> >
>> > At the very least a new AC would have a timetable, regular formal
>> updates on what the OKF has done, is doing and wants to do.
>> >
>> > I still love OKF and always will and remain part of it...
>> >
>> > P.
>> >
>> >
>> > On Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 9:25 AM, Laura James <lbjames at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > All,
>> >
>> > I'm delighted to be joining the Advisory Council now that I've finished
>> work at Open Knowledge.  The Council (primarily through conversations with
>> individual members) was a valuable support whilst I co-led Open Knowledge
>> with Rufus, for which many thanks to you all.
>> >
>> > As we start 2015 and what I imagine will be a time of change and
>> evolution for the organisation, with a new ED coming in and continuing
>> rapid development in the open data sector, I hope the Advisory Council can
>> continue to be useful to Open Knowledge's leadership, both reactively and
>> proactively.
>> >
>> > Advisory Council members: what do you think the Advisory Council and
>> Open Knowledge should be doing in 2015? Are there issues or events that we
>> should be paying attention to?
>> >
>> > Rufus: what do you want and need from the Council this year? How can we
>> most effectively help you?
>> >
>> > The Council has, of late, mostly been consulted as individuals and this
>> email list has, perhaps, been underused.  Occasionally there's been a
>> suggestion of meetings, or a chair. I think it's worth considering how we
>> work, perhaps once we have an idea of what we want to do this year :)
>> >
>> > Best regards,
>> >
>> > Laura
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > okfn-advisory mailing list
>> > okfn-advisory at lists.okfn.org
>> > https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-advisory
>> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-advisory
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > --
>> > Peter Murray-Rust
>> > Reader in Molecular Informatics
>> > Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
>> > University of Cambridge
>> > CB2 1EW, UK
>> > +44-1223-763069
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > okfn-advisory mailing list
>> > okfn-advisory at lists.okfn.org
>> > https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-advisory
>> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-advisory
>> _______________________________________________
>> okfn-advisory mailing list
>> okfn-advisory at lists.okfn.org
>> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-advisory
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-advisory
> --
> *Rufus PollockFounder and President | skype: rufuspollock | @rufuspollock
> <https://twitter.com/rufuspollock>Open Knowledge <http://okfn.org/> - see
> how data can change the world**http://okfn.org/ <http://okfn.org/> |
> @okfn <http://twitter.com/OKFN> | Open Knowledge on Facebook
> <https://www.facebook.com/OKFNetwork> |  Blog <http://blog.okfn.org/>*
> The Open Knowledge Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation.  It is
> incorporated in England & Wales as a company limited by guarantee, with
> company number 05133759.  VAT Registration № GB 984404989. Registered
> office address: Open Knowledge Foundation, St John’s Innovation Centre,
> Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WS, UK.

Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/private/okfn-advisory/attachments/20150128/6729ce2b/attachment-0003.html>

More information about the okfn-advisory mailing list