[okfn-advisory] Revitalising Open Knowledge and role of the Council

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Wed Apr 11 14:55:10 UTC 2018

Thanks Laura,
You've said most of what I wanted to say, but here's a bit more...
* if you are happyish with where you are at, describe it to the world
carefully (we cannot do that for you). You will benefit from a clearer
message.  Ask where you want it to go in (say) 2 years' time and also where
you don't want to go. If you don't want to do Open Definition, Open GLAM,
Public Domain, OKFest, etc. then decide clearly and retire them. The on-off
nature of OKFest over the last year confused everyone. Last autumn I took
the message that OKI would love to do it but it coudn't find funding. Today
suggests that actually you don't want to do it. No problem , IF you make
this clear. If you want to be "C21Semantic data" use that sort of language
if it represents the core for the next few years. I don't think OKI is
currently doing Open Knowledge as I understand it, it's doing Open Data. Do
you want to do Knowledge? If so you'll have to work hard to redefine it in
* if you want us to push other initiatives than Frictionless and Fiscal
Data these will be need to be carefully thought out. As I mentioned, Sander
said last year that OKI wanted to get back into Open-Science and I assumed
he would want me to advise. I think that would be a poor idea because (a)
there are others in the field and (b) I don't think there is the core that
would drive it. If you want to do Open-Science-Data that could make sense,
but you would have to be clear why.
* if you are not happy, then it didn't come across today.

I am still not clear why you want an Advisory Council. It shouldn't be:

* we lost touch, there used to be a board so let's reinstate it
* we need to show we have Advisers (this is a ritual that most orgs go

And if and when you are clear you need one I think you should pick a new
board from scratch. For example it might be better to have Peter Kraker
(Panton Fellow and Open Knowledge Maps) than me. I am in principle willing
but only if you make a compelling case to me , which so far hasn't appeared.

I don't even know whether has any form of gathering. And do the members,
whatever a member is, contrinute to the discussions of what OKI is? Is it a
bottom-up or top-down org? If there is a large component of "where can we
get funding to keep going?" it's probably mainly top-down. If it's "how can
we change the world and get a community of practice?" it's bottom-up. Of
course it may be some middle ground but they are useful extreme models.

I'm being matter-of-fact because orgs that don't rexamine themselves will
continue to hit problems due to lack of communal vision. This has happened
to PLOS which has totally lost the plot. Other orgs have gone over the the
dark side.

Maybe today is all you needed from us - I don't know.


[1] I coined this term in ca 2006 and the OKF printed OPEN DATA stickers :-)

On Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 2:31 PM, glyn moody <glyn.moody at gmail.com> wrote:

> Good points, good questions...
> On 11 April 2018 at 14:29, Laura James <lbjames at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Mark, Paul,
> >
> > Thanks for speaking with some of us today, and recognising how things
> have
> > been, externally, in the last 3 years.  Also thanks to other Council
> members
> > for insightful questions.
> >
> > I think you should consider what you, as the leadership team, need or
> want
> > from advisors such as ourselves. Both from what you said, and reading
> > between the lines, you face fairly significant challenges, and so must
> > prioritise with care. Attending to the Council may or may not be a
> priority.
> >
> > The Council is a mixture of more and less active 'open' leaders and
> experts,
> > and Chapter representatives.  You owe the latter some time and
> > consideration, I think. The rest of us - most of whom joined before 2013
> -
> > may or may not be useful or relevant to the current state of the open
> > knowledge landscape, and/or the challenges you face. If we are not all
> > useful, I am not sure that you should feel a duty to 'repair
> relationships'
> > with us - this is hard and time-consuming work. (Speaking for myself,
> but I
> > am fairly certain also for some others, we would understand if you chose
> to
> > focus elsewhere, if we are not what you need.) Also, are there other key
> > people who are not on the Council, who could provide sage advice?
> >
> > If you want to work more with us, I am left with some thoughts/questions:
> >
> > You described the projects underway, but not the rationale for them. Are
> the
> > current projects what you want to be doing, or simply legacy you are
> stuck
> > with? Is there strategy behind their selection, or is it just 'whatever
> we
> > can get funded'? Are there things you want to be doing, but need
> assistance
> > to secure funds or partnerships? If so, could some of us help? (Some
> Council
> > members, if willing, may be able to help repair damaged relationships
> with
> > key funders or stakeholders, as they can lend reputation and confidence.)
> >
> > You described advocacy around open as being the work of individuals now
> > around OKI and the network, rather than a core task. If this is still of
> > importance, even if distributed and informal, what are the key issues or
> > messages? If Council members wish to help, how can they get involved, who
> > should they connect with? (Many Council members are open advocates of
> old,
> > and this may be an area where we can assist informally with little
> > investment from OKI, but to some good effect.)
> >
> > If the strategy is in flux, and you are reassessing the landscape and
> > potential gaps or opportunities, that might be something concrete some of
> > the Council could assist with, collectively or individually.  As noted
> > today, the movement has evolved and changed. Reclaiming the centre may
> well
> > be impossible, but there are likely still some gaps where an organisation
> > with good staff and long standing reputation may be able to add value.
> >
> > Good luck. Open Knowledge is a challenging thing to shepherd and support.
> >
> > Laura
> >
> >
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> --
> Best wishes
> Glyn
> http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com
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Peter Murray-Rust
Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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