This is a read only archive of See the shutdown announcement for details.

okfestival2014-socialsciences ---------------------
Status update
The proposal for the session has been submitted! The session is a kick-off session that will focus on creating a roadmap for increased theoretical understanding. Please join the online discussion that focuses on planning the session and its outcomes at
First Name*: Jussi
Last Name*: Nissilä
E-mail Address*:
Organisation: Open Knowledge Finland 
Twitter account: @jusnis
Blog/ Personal Website:
If your session will be co-facilitated with others, please note their names here: Looking for co-hosts for the session, please contact Jussi if you are interested!
Stream*: Society (because the session is in effect about bringing people together to affect change; could also be in “Knowledge”)
Session Title*: Towards Better Theoretical Understanding of Open Knowledge OR Open Knowledge Theory Alliance Kickoff Meeting
Session description* Max 1000 characters
The session kicks off the interdisciplinary Open Knowledge Theory Alliance, which connects theory-oriented practitioners and academics from various disciplines ranging from political science and philosophy to humanities and development studies. During the session we will create a roadmap for better theoretical understanding of open knowledge and a foundation for future collaboration, including a) identifying disciplines and research groups we must connect, b) planning common resources for sharing information from theories to publications and c) discussing new research that will change the way we understand open knowledge. We welcome all participants eager to understand open knowledge, its nature and application by scientific means. 
Session motivation* 
Why are you passionate about facilitating this topic?
I am passionate to organise the session because I believe we must understand better what open knowledge is about, and I trust academic knowledge and methods help us to do that. With the Finnish Institute in London and Open Knowledge Foundation, we published the Open Book a few years back. The book was a collection of insights from various researchers and activists  emphasising the practise of open knowledge. Now I believe is the time to synthesize what we really know about the phenomenon and to link this knowledge to the existing academic discourse, in order to learn more and to get the many new researchers involved in studying and working with open knowledge.
There are many academics and theoretically-oriented practitioners in the open knowledge community and many of them already study open knowledge as a phenomenon from a certain perspective. However, these people do not necessarily know what the others are doing, what sort of theories and methods they use to study the subject, or what existing publications or other information there is. The situation is worse when considering open knowledge across domains or topics and when considering the study of the open knowledge phenomenon across academic disciplines. I believe increased linkages between people and interdisciplinary dialogue will bring both personal benefits in terms of increased capabilities to do research and better understanding of the open knowledge phenomenon overall. Better understanding would hopefully also lead to increased importance of open knowledge in various sectors of the society. 
Session outcomes*
What will your session allow people to make, learn or do?
In essence, the session builds intellectual capital, which allows individuals and groups to do better research. The session aims for the following concrete outcomes: (1) identifying and connecting academic and theory-oriented practitioners for longs-term communication and collaboration, (2) planning an online resource (such as wiki) for collecting and sharing information related to theoretical understanding of open knowledge (disciplines, theories, publications, research groups etc), (3) planning of a publication featuring novel research on open knowledge and its theoretical foundations. Within the limited timeframe, we’ll discuss the issues through and build a roadmap for future collaboration, possibly continuing planning in informal sessions. 
How would the session be structured?* 
Format, interactivity, unique details. Find some tips at
The draft structure of the session is: a) short introduction to the session and its purpose by the session host(s), b) general discussion among the participants of the benefits of theoretical understanding and of the session goals, c) Workshopping the session outcomes, perhaps in groups or all together (depending of the time and the number of participants, possibly using the “world café” facilitation method or similar). 
Requested time slot: 60mins; additional sessions may be organised adhoc during the festival for in-detail planning
Organising the session is essential for the people to meet and in order to build a shared vision. The actual short-term outcomes are built gradually, so the planning work will be commenced online even before OKFestival 2014. The existing research networks (such as “Open Data Research Network”) and online communities (the newly established “Open Knowledge Theory Alliance” Google Community are used for this purpose. 
How does your session contribute to OKFestival’s narrative and aims?* 
Please find details about the festival's narrative at
The session is all about bringing minds to action, engaging academics and theory-oriented practitioners to collaborate and to work together towards the better understanding of the open knowledge phenomenon. The long-term plan is to identify and develop theories on open knowledge and its application beyond the Theory of Change. During the session the participants will jointly create a roadmap for building research-based theoretical understanding of open knowledge and therefore build a foundation that will last much longer than the actual session or the festival itself. We welcome all participants who feel that are interested of the academic perspective to open knowledge and aim particularly in mixing different people who study open knowledge from a different perspectives or disciplines therefore promoting inclusivity and diversity very concretely. 
Is this session appropriate and interesting for a younger audience (under 18)?*: Appropriate – yes. Interesting – maybe not. 
Would you prefer to facilitate your session in a language other than English? If so, what language?: English
Will your session involve physical movement?*: No
If so, how will you ensure that people with all levels of physical ability are able to participate?: n/a
Please indicate if you'd like support from the staff in planning: 
The session is submitted to the Society track, as the overall aim is essentially to engage the academic world to interact with the open knowledge community. This interaction will produce new knowledge about open knowledge, so the session could also be part of the Knowledge track, but in this case the knowledge is meta knowledge. Please contact the session host if you want to discuss the issue of the right track further. 
Existing databases, people etc. 
Please list sources that you think are somehow relevent or people you think we should engage in the network and the session.
Open Data and Transparency, Ben Worthy, Birbeck Uni
Open Development folks at OKCon 2013:
- Duncan Edwards, Institute of Development Studies:
- Matthew Smith, IDRC
Rufus Pollock's Theory of Change:
Digital Humanities
- Markus Kainu
Open Data Research Network 
( The main person, Tim Davies, is a regular (sometimes organiser) at OKFN events ) <- Happy to get involved and contribute
- Finnish Social Sciences Data Archive :
- Digital Humanities blog maintained by Timo Honkela ( University of Helsinki - Department of Modern Languages ) :
 Open UCT ( Michelle Wilmers and team - working on open educational resources, open access and open science in Africa