When we first read the results of the 2014 Open Data Index, we said we had big expectations for 2015. We couldn’t be more right: today, the federal ministerial council has, by recommendation of Minister De Croo and Secretary of State Francken, approved an ambitious federal open data strategy. Open by default: an important step to embed Belgium into the digital global ecosystem.
The highlights of what has been decided:
- State owned companies are included: the same strategy applies to e.g., Proximus, bpost or the Belgian railway company SNCB/NMBS.
- “Comply or explain”: all datasets and finalised documents have to be opened up by default. When something is kept private or is available under a non-open license, the data owner is obliged to provide an explanation.
- The default license is CC0 or licenses with no restrictions. This license has proven in the past to be the best open data license. More information on using CC0 for open data here.
- Data should be provided in a machine-readable fashion. This is great news for app developers, yet it’s even more exciting for developers of machines that automatically discover datasets and are able to reuse datasets without human intervention.
- All government services will have to appoint an open data champion, which is the contact point for the datasets within that organisation.
Open Knowledge Belgium, the board and its community members, are unanimous: we couldn’t be more excited. The strategy gives us the needed policy guidelines to build further on a more open Belgium.
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In February 2015, Open Knowledge Belgium will celebrate its third anniversary during the Open Belgium conference (http://2015.openbelgium.be). This is also the time that the official functions within the board of directors have been doing their work for 3 years now. We will be open to accept new people in the board of directors of the vzw/asbl.
More information about what you can apply for and how this election will work, can be found on the “Board of directors 2015-2018 application form“.
- apply until the end of December
- voting will happen during January
- 23d of February during the Open Belgium conference: the start of the new board
The board of directors at Open Knowledge Belgium consists out of: a president, a vice-president, a chief communication officer, a chief finances and all working group coordinators (which are elected through the working groups and not through this form). The 4 functions are voluntary (non-paid but much appreciated) positions. The goal of these 4 of the positions are to make the existence of the working groups as easy as possible. The current “staff” of Open Knowledge Belgium can be found on the staff page. A quick state of the vzw/asbl is summarized in these slides:
Being a board member at Open Knowledge Belgium implies holding a conference call each 3 to 4 months to hold a board meeting where financials and administration are discussed (funding, expenses, possible projects within working groups, etc.), and to reply in a timely fashion on the mailinglist of the board (currently ~5 mails/month) to give your input on on-going discussions.
CC-BY 2.0 OKFN on Flickr
Open Knowledge Belgium is an umbrella organisation for Open Knowledge initiatives in Belgium. Our most important asset are our working groups. Open Knowledge Belgium tries to support these working groups working around a certain open subject in a loose setting by providing them help with submitting projects, bringing them together on a yearly conference, providing them with technical tools to e.g., open up data (http://thedatatank.com), providing them the contacts to talk with ambitious students during summer of code and so forth.
Each of these working groups have a representative in in the general Open Knowledge Belgium board of directors. And we have a full-time community manager.
How are we funded? Find out in this presentation:
This presentation has been given on the 25th of September at the European citizen science conference at the European Commission, as well as at Waag society in Amsterdam before members of the Apps for Europe project.