[@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

Rosie Williams budgetaus at hotmail.com
Mon May 4 00:41:16 UTC 2015

Hi guys,

I'm sad to hear from Cobi that the way forward earning money in open knowledge seems so grim. I'd think that for people with a professional history there would be opportunities opening up with government agencies as they begin to open up. In NSW there is a lot going on now (or will be). All NSW state agencies are looking at what they should be opening, the NSW State Library is opening the DX Lab incubator.

Which reminds me, the Digital Humanities Conference is being held in Australia this year http://dh2015.org/ although I guess that is largely confined to academics & students. There is some overlap with GovHack this year although I don't know the details. 

I do agree though that there is a problem with open data jobs generally in that with relevant incubators only just starting up, all the responsibility is put on the hacker to pursue their open data projects under their own steam. I think it is too much to put on an individual or small team to solve all the problems of a business or getting a project funded by government- at least without the help of a successful incubator. I'm currently getting help through NEIS and the Social Entrepreneurship Course at USyd.

Mind, I've long thought that the solution to all this is actually a Collaborative Research Centre in Open Knowledge/Open Data so that's my suggestion.

Thanks for the suggestions for the Shuttleworth Foundation and AMP funds. I'm going to apply to the AMP fund  :-)

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)________________________________________

 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 

Date: Fri, 1 May 2015 18:01:20 +1000
From: steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au
To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

I got chess eyes Cobi. They might look shifty sometimes, but that's me just looking a few moves ahead ;)
I think we'll see more people buying in than selling out. But in a thinly traded market we'll still see lots of spikes and dips for a while yet.
Good knowledge workers operate in a global community. It's certainly healthy to look at all opportunities to pursue your passion whether in AU or abroad. OK is a global network too, so lots of opportunity to connect with good people, ideas and projects.
And one more for Rosie, take a look at the AMP Tomorrow fund- for individuals to pursue their vision for positive change :)

On Friday, May 1, 2015, Cobi Alison Smith <cobi.smith at unimelb.edu.au> wrote:


I earn nothing working in/researching open technologies compared to when I worked as a management consultant (cue tiny violin) or even when I worked in a charity. 

But seriously, it's not sustainable. I was funded (a "volunteer" allowance) through AusAID most of 2013; that opportunity literally doesn't exist now. Half of last year I was on EU research & tech dev funding... obviously
 can't do that from Australia. After my PhD I have no idea what happens. 

It will be interesting if I have to decide between selling out (cue people like Steven rolling eyes, fair enough) or running away from Australia to live as a Buddhist nun. They're equally appealing at this point. Or move to another country again - brain
 drain - which is realistically most likely.

I've said this before but third time's the charm maybe... Rosie you should apply for a Shuttleworth Fellowship :) 

From: okfn-au [okfn-au-bounces at lists.okfn.org] on behalf of Rosie Williams [budgetaus at hotmail.com]

Sent: Friday, 1 May 2015 10:48 AM

To: okfn-au at lists.okfn.org

Subject: [@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

BudgetAus and the resulting input into budget transparency can be seen as an outcome of GovHack given that BudgetAus (as it was originally conceived and implemented) began by using the csv created during what I suspect was the original GovHack
 event. As a programming student I was seeking data with suitable copyright conditions for publication in my first database. That is how I happened across the concept of open data and came across the GovHack project created by theopenbudget.org.

In fact, that csv (containing data scraped from about half the federal portfolios) was my first ever look at a 'table' and from there I went on to create my own data set encompassing all portfolios and broken down to the finest grain to make the data searchable
 across all portfolios. At the time the existing app created during GovHack did not provide this. The team that did theopenbudget.org was then employed to create the CSV (according to BudgetAus specs) for last year's first ever publication of budget data in
 machine readable format.

The point of this all though in my mind, is the improvement to government accounting that has been put in motion as a result of these combined efforts:

- the first publication of budget data in usable formats including a machine readable version that made it possible to use the data in BudgetAus and other similar projects. Without the csv which contained all the data broken down to line item level, the
 data would only have been published in 173 separate excel files. 
- the budget office has been asked to publish MYEFO data in usable formats and broken down along the same lines as the data published on budget night ie broken down to line item level so that it can be integrated with existing data
- submissions have also been sought from people such as myself working with budget data into the PMRA and Joint Committee of Public Accounts & Audit on specifications for the publication of financial reporting including annual reports due to networks built
 among people working outside government on budget data.

These are not insignificant outcomes, however I suspect they would never have come about had I not worked constantly and continually on budget transparency through BudgetAus since it's inception. I have done this to date without any financial support and
 under the most difficult of conditions which brings the topic back around to sustainability of open data projects and the need for incubators and other support. Had I been in the position of most other people with similar skills, I'd have obtained a professional
 position & decided I could not afford time to work on a 'volunteer' project. None of the existing or potential outcomes would have occurred. This irony is not lost on me.

While budget transparency (and the expertise in government spending that I gained) is invaluable to our democracy - which is why the project received both government & media support, this value is not easily monetised. I have
 recently reconceived BudgetAus to be a more marketable product with a defined target market using grants and tenders data rather than the 'top down' data published on budget night in recognition of this observation.

For open data projects to survive beyond the hackfest stage, there either needs to be sufficient market value to them to attract backing or sufficient public engagement to underpin ongoing funding, infrastructure and labour. Code for Australia and the
 Open Data Institute in QLD are presumably striving to fill the void in supporting/incubating emerging open data projects. The NSW State Library DX Lab (launching in a few months) also aims to nurture open data projects. I think that if we want quality, sustainable
 open data projects then we need to build an ecosystem where open data projects need not rely so heavily on the volunteer labour of coders. 

Rosie Williams BA (Sociology)

 NoFibs.com.au - Open Data Reporter
 InfoAus.net - Founder and Developer 





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