accessible to everyone
Since 2004, the Open Knowledge Foundation has worked at the intersection of cutting-edge digital tools and a distributed network of communities and movements to serve the public interest with open knowledge. We create digital tools, equip people with skills, and expand digitally savvy networks that understand the transformative power of openness.
Confronting the multi-complex challenges that the planet is facing today, we're working for open knowledge to be a guiding principle in designing the infrastructures and organisations of the future, inspiring and guiding those who want to transform our digital and physical world by building a free, sustainable and inclusive future.
Our mission is to create a fair, sustainable and open digital future, advancing open knowledge as a design principle beyond just data. We will do it by guiding and supporting the creation of digital infrastructure, developing policies and methodologies, harnessing communities and advocating for literacies and standards in a sustainable, ethical and agile manner.
Our vision is that openness and open knowledge are adopted by every government, institution and movement to ensure access to critical information that will empower humans to solve the most pressing problems of our times, leading to a sustainable, fair and open future for all.
Our work in context
The world’s institutions are decaying rapidly by embracing a culture where knowledge is privatised, artificially restricted behind paywalls or secrecy laws, violently extracted from groups or even extinct due to neglect and austerity. The future world is being built by corporations in closed virtual reality spaces, blocking all possibilities of generativity and democracy from flourishing, or in closed rooms and opaque systems.
The root of the problem is an institutional architecture designed for that to happen, limited literacies and skills of people to act on the problem and no effective models and tools to replace the current systems. Our hope and focus will be to reverse it and push for openness as a design principle to build future institutions.
We believe it is time for new rules, models and tools that generate improved conditions for knowledge to be shared by all in a fair, free and open future. In the face of rising inequality, global threats to our shared environment, and fading social consensus, open knowledge is not simply the opposite of closed societies: it opposes misleading facts (about societal issues), illegible data (from scientific research), privatised information (held by tech platforms) and of course withheld documents (about government or corporate acts). Those elements can exist even in a technically 'open society'. Our mission is to enable a future where communities, tools and best practices exist to keep those threats to the health of our societies at bay. And do it as agile, scalable, and adaptable to local circumstances, as possible.
We convey movements and include everyone.
We build literacies.
We design technical and social infrastructure for our new digital future.
We do it from different continents and combine disciplines.
We do everything to be copied, scaled and adapted.
We put people and the planet first.
How we work together
We work as an agile organisation of 15-20 experts distributed across the world, combining foundation work and services. The services are not a separate organisation or division but vehicles to sustain our work, test our innovations and escalate the impact of our technical tools, models and policies across other organisations and institutions.
We work as an international network, conveying people to build a broader movement, expanding to cover institutions with aligned goals and movements, collectives and individuals who embrace and practice openness.
We also build partnerships, assisting institutions and organisations in adopting openness as technology tools, organisational models, and competency frameworks for their teams and beyond.