[open-development] Anyone interested? Creating an "Open Knowledge Index"

Guo Xu digitalepourpre at gmail.com
Sun Jul 3 01:21:56 UTC 2011

Dear list(s),

The OKCon has passed and generated many ideas for exciting future projects.

One of the promising ideas I discussed with several participants was
to compile an index to track progress in opening data - both over time
and across countries. This would serve several purposes:

1) Enable the public to make cross-country comparisons (i.e. which
country performs well?) and track longitudinal developments (i.e.
which country has improved on opening data?)
2) Serve as a useful tool for conducting open knowledge research (e.g.
correlating the index with socio-economic variables - does open
knowledge really foster innovation and growth?)
3) Ideally, increase impact of OKF in public - making the "Open
Knowledge Index" a citable measure of open government

There are many indices out there - for tracking democracy, corruption,
innovation and human development - so why not a measure to track
progress in opening government? Such an index (leaving aside
methodological problems for now) could greatly increase visibility of
OKF's work: A success case here is Transparency International - before
Ti published its corruption index, journalists had a hard time reading
and understanding all the reports - with the creation of the
Corruption Perception Index, Ti has become one of the most known NGOs
in fighting corruption.

So why not have an Open Knowledge Index, released annually in a report
and during the OKCon? This would greatly increase media attention!

I have some professional experience in creating indices (my research
institute has been compiling the German innovation index for a while
and we are currently drafting the funding proposal for an index of IT
infrastructure resilience). The Open Economics WG itself has developed
some experience with creating composite indices with the Yourtopia app
we submitted previously at the Apps4Development competition. I would
therefore volunteer to coordinate such an index within the Open
Economics group, mainly as an open academic project. The first step
would be to construct a prototype; in the longer run, we might also
consider applying for research grants in order to create the index

Just wanted to start a discussion and see who would be interested - we
are planning to discuss this in greater detail during our regular
Skype meetups.


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