[okfn-advisory] Open Knowledge International Advisory Council - reaching out

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Sat Feb 24 12:05:24 UTC 2018

Thanks Naomi,
Feel free to share with anyone relevant.

On Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 1:32 PM, Naomi Lillie <naomi.lillie at okfn.org> wrote:

> Dear all,
> May I introduce you to Mark Gibbs (COO) and Paul Walsh (CPO), in CC, who
> are undertaking the overall leadership of the organisation since Pavel's
> departure late last year.
> Paul and Mark are looking to reboot OKI - particularly our Advisory
> Council, where we are very keen to re-engage. They would like to reach out
> to you to look at how the Advisory Council can guide OKI through this
> period of change, refocusing on our vision and mission, and looking ahead
> to new opportunities.

I have valued my association with OKF (sic) very highly, both informally
and on Open Definition, Open Science and Open Access  and felt that OKFest
Helsinki 2012 was one of the high points in my Open life. I have given a
great deal of voluntary time to OKF. I know that OKF->OKI was a painful
process and wanted to help. When Omidyar required a review OKF (ca 2014??)
the reviewer spent a lot of time with me - which was useful. However
afterwards I expected that as a member of the Advisory Board I would get a
copy of the confidential report. In fact this was refused and I have never
seen what the recommendations were and have never been consulted since. I
talked (online) with Pavel to represent my concerns but it seemed clear
that I was not wanted.

I now have no idea what the formal mission of OKI is and what - at a less
formal role - it does on the ground. I still have random contacts with the
Open Access, Open Science and Open Definition lists and I think I am still
formally on the latter but haven't seen business recently.

> We wondered whether you would be interested in joining a call in March, to
> touch base and consider how we connect in future. Do let us know if you
> would be interested in this, either as a group or individually.

I am interested because of my past association and input.  I used to enjoy
very much going to OKF events both in UK and annually. But I don't know
whether OKI runs events in UK any more. I had mentally reserved this years
OKFest-redux to reconnect - meet people, get ideas - but that got
cancelled. I think that unless I actually meet people I probably don't have
enough input and output.

As some of you know I have set up my own non-profit, ContentMine, to
liberate public scientific knowledge from the unjust enclosures of the
megapublishers and universities (yes). In some since this is a microcosm of
part of OKI - working in a smaller area but based on Advocacy, Community
and Tools - very similar to OKI's mission. In fact we shared an H2020
project - FutureTDM - between OKI (Sander vdW) and ContentMine. It suffered
from the awful bureaucracy of Europrojects, and none of us felt happy. So I
am aligned at a general level.

I have seen many organsiations got through a "10-year glitch" - examples
are Wikipedia, PLOS, OKF, where the founders move on having created a
non-profit with high ideals but  a more business-focussed team and less
space for visionaries. They get involved the business process (necessary,
especially legal and financial) but they lose the dynamism of I the initial
vision - working in Rufus' basement or ContentMine working in Makespace
craft room. I loved the C4 space in London - where you could drop in and
meet people. I loved OKCon in London. I miss them. I think Wikimedia has
pulled through, I think PLOS has lost everything, I don't know about OKI.

Put another way - and perhaps harshly - what are the specific challenges
that OKI is involved in where I might be able to contribute? I am not
particularly good at running organizations so can't help with the general
process of how to run a non-profit with established staff, premises, etc.
If there are specific challenges that OKI is involved with I'd be
interested to see whether I had something to contribute.

I will certainly join the call. The clearer that I can see the immediate
challenges and the long term vision, the more useful I will be.



Peter Murray-Rust
Reader Emeritus in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dept. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
+44-1223-763069 <+44%201223%20763069>
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