Latest  News

World Bank joins open data initiative

World Bank fileAs part of the open data initiative, the World Bank launched, a Web site that provides free, open and easy access to statistics and indicators about development. Visitors to the site can easily find, download, manipulate, use, and re-use the data compiled by the World Bank, without restrictions.

The open data initiative is part of the World Bank’s decision to be more accessible, and the new data site provides user-friendly access to key development indicators in four languages: English, Spanish, French and Arabic.

This new open data initiative coincides with the release of the World Development Indicators (WDI) 2010, one of the Bank’s most popular statistical resources. In addition to providing open access to the WDI, which provides data for nearly 1000 indicators, the Bank’s data initiative also opens up access to the Global Development Finance, Africa Development Indicators, Global Economic Monitor, and indicators from the Doing Business Report. [22apr10]

Istanbul workshop: new venue & web live streaming

UPDATE: Presentations and papers are available on the workshop webpage.

Since many people were unable to reach Istanbul due to the present flight disruption over Europe, the workshop has been limited to Monday 19 April only and a video streaming service has been set up.

Most importantly, since live streaming has become an almost crucial need, we have changed the event venue: the Sozbir Hotel internet connection has been deemed not reliable enough.

The workshop is being held at the Ozyegin University, on the Asian side. A map with directions is available here.

The video stream is currently online at:

Please be aware that simultaneous connection is limited to 25 users and you need to have the latest version of java installed on your PC.

Here you can test your java installation and, if needed, upgrade it: [19apr10]

LAPSI Project launches

LAPSI (Legal Aspects of Public Sector Information) is a new 30-month project funded by the European Commission aimed at building a network covering high-level policy discussions and strategic action on all legal issues related to access and the re-use of PSI in the digital environment.

Information generated and collected by public sector entities carries great potential for improving EU economies and societies, if only current legal barriers to access and re-use were removed. Therefore the project will address implementation and deployment issues, designing of incentives for public bodies and private players, special consideration of infra- and supra-national levels of access and re-use policies and practices, and a strategic vision for out-of-the box thinking for the next steps ahead in policy making. [15apr10]

COMMUNIA 2010 Conference website

The website for the COMMUNIA 2010 Conference is now fully operative, including a draft programme, useful information and an announcement list subscription:

University and Cyberspace
Reshaping Knowledge Institutions for the Networked Age
28-30 June 2010, Torino, Italy

Co-organized by NEXA Center for Internet & Society at the Politecnico di Torino and Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the event is the third and final Conference of our COMMUNIA Project.

Please SAVE the date and spread the word! [6apr10]

8th Communia Workshop: 19-20 April 2010, Istanbul (Turkey)

The 8th COMMUNIA Workshop - Education and the Public Domain: The Emergence of a Shared Educational Commons - will be held in Istanbul (Turkey) on Monday 19 and (possibly) Tuesday 20 April 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: The workshop venue HAS BEEN MOVED to Ozyegin University, on the Asian side of Istanbul.(See below for more logistics details). A map and instructions on how to reach Ozyegin University are available here. If you reach Sozbir Hotel (the previous workshop venue) on Monday by 9:15 a bus will take you to Ozyegin University; otherwise, please take a taxi, it is a fairly short ride from Uskudar Ferry Terminal/Sozbir Hotel.

Pre-registration is required: COMMUNIA members please use this form.

Istanbul city lights at night - By: Ali KILIC - License: Creative Commons License (By ND 3.0)

Prof. James Boyle, renowned scholar of the public domain, will provide a keynote speech titled: "The Glorious Open Educational Revolution! (And why it hasn't happened yet)".

Indeed: why is it taking so long to have a worldwide, vibrant open commons of educational material? Important successes have been scored, to be sure, but all in all far less than we could have expected ten years ago, considering the nature of education and the general inclination of educators towards openness.

What have been - and are - the main obstacles on the way to implementing something apparently so natural? What can we do to remove them, both by smarter operation on the ground and by appropriate policy changes?

What are the benefits of unleashing the full potential of the open education?


Panton Principles for Open Data in Science

"Science is based on building on, reusing and openly criticising the published body of scientific knowledge.
For science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that science data be made open."

This is the initial statement launching a new initiative, The Panton Principles, authored by Peter Murray-Rust, Cameron Neylon, Rufus Pollock and John Wilbanks at the Panton Arms on Panton Street in Cambridge, UK - with input from the Working Group on Open Data in Science.

Everybody is encouraged to read and endorse the principles, whose conclusion is quite simple: "Data related to published science should be explicitly placed in the public domain".

Read the full Panton Principles for Open Data in Science. [24feb10]

Any bright ideas to use open government data?

«In several countries more official data are being issued in raw form so that anybody can use them. This forces bureaucrats and creative types to interact in new ways.» That's the central issue in a story about data and transparency in the digital age, published recently by The Economist. The article introduces the initiative launched last month: «the plan is to post a growing supply of facts that citizens or private institutions can sift through and play with as they choose.»

And while governments of America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand have all produced collections of machine-readable data, the American open-data projects seem more prone to a wider use: [15feb10]

7th Communia Workshop (1-2 Feb. 2010, Luxembourg)

Digital Policies: the Public Domain and Alternative Compensation Systems


Under the title "Digital Policies: the Public Domain and Alternative Compensation Systems", the 7th COMMUNIA Workshop will take place at the National Library of Luxembourg, in Luxembourg, on Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd February 2010.

Presentations slides, abstracts, policy recommendations, as well as for some speakers transcripts or papers, are available from this website download section and also from each of the titles in the programme below. A programme document available here collects abstracts and initial position statements submitted by chairpersons and speakers before the workshop.


The Public Domain Manifesto

Developed within the COMMUNIA network during the last two years, we are pleased to announce the official launch of The Public Domain Manifesto. The document outlines a series of general principles (opening with: the Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception), then addresses various issues relevant to today’s cultural landscape finally provides some recommendations aimed at protecting the Public Domain and ensuring that it can continue to function in a meaningful way. While these recommendations are applicable across the spectrum of copyright, they are of particular relevance to education, cultural heritage and scientific research.

The Public Domain as aspired to in our Manifesto has a broad range to include cultural material that can be used without restriction, in the absence of copyright protection; shared material released under alternative licensing options such as Creative Commons licenses; and a variety of fair use and "open access" policies. These sources need to be actively maintained in order for society to reap the full benefit of our shared knowledge and culture, even more so with the wider penetration of digital technologies. It is therefore our hope that The Public Domain Manifesto could be embrace by the civil society at large as a tool to maintain and promote this precious common goods for citizens across the world and for future generations to come.

The document is available in several languages and includes a list of initial signers (both individuals and organizations). Everyone is encouraged to sign it, to follow our Facebook page and... to spread the word (here is our PDF Press Release)![24jan10]

UK government datasets now freely available for re-use screeshot «Making public data available for re-use is about increasing accountability and transparency and letting people create new, innovative ways of using it. Government data should be a public resource. By releasing it, we can unlock new ideas for delivering public services, help communities and society work better, and let talented entrepreneurs and engineers create new businesses and services.» With these words Sir Tim Berners-Lee announced today the launch of, a collection of over 2,500 UK government datasets - now freely available to the public for consultation and re-use.

The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN, a COMMUNIA member) worked closely with the Cabinet Office team to make a reality - the repository is even using CKAN, the OKFN open source registry of open data. More details - including a selection of the great media coverage about the launch - are available on this OKFN page. [21jan10]

Members map
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Presentations, papers and other material related to COMMUNIA events are available in the download page

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