Our Values

Open Knowledge

All our activities are connected to open knowledge. Whether we are convening communities, developing tools, creating open material, or seeing it used to effect change, open knowledge should be at the heart of what we do.

Respect and Tolerance

Respect and tolerance are pre-conditions for all our work, and essential to working as a collaborative community. Respect others and their capabilities and capacities. Recognise differences as a creative force: when discussed openly and without aggression, they allow us to find the best way forward.


To achieve our vision we cannot work alone. Collaboration, both across our network and outside it, is central to how we operate.

Pragmatic not fanatic

We are strong believers in “open” but our commitment is animated by a desire to make change, not to establish our moral superiority. Though we will never create closed knowledge we must recognise that others may do, and that, for example, being most effective may sometimes involve the use of non-open tools.

Making & Talking

We value making and talking equally and thrive on their creative tension. Advocacy through thought leadership, evangelism and convening ensures open material becomes available, is valued and is effectively used by others. Direct involvement in making use of open knowledge and making change with it (for instance, by building services or analysing data) ensures we remain aware and engaged with real challenges and real needs.


We want to see change in the world and we want to make this happen today not tomorrow. We are focused on important societal problems, challenges and opportunities. Our approach may be indirect – working to improve knowledge flow and use – but it is always in the service of solving real problems and addressing real needs.

Open Knowledge variety of stickers


Much of our work is done through volunteers in our active global network. Community activities are organised around individual working groups, regional communities and projects, each focused on a different aspect of open knowledge, but united by a common set of concerns, and a common set of traditions in both etiquette and process. This community is open to everyone and is organised as a meritocracy based on open discussion and tolerance.

Running through all of our activities is a strong emphasis on decentralised collaboration. In particular, a primary aim is to help others develop open material as well as creating it ourselves. We believe that the future lies in collaboration between a multitude of different groups and that no one group or organisation can, or should try to, “do it all”. It is when we work together that we are the strongest.

One of our major functions is acting as a hub for work on open knowledge, drawing together representatives from across the knowledge society – from academics, public servants and entrepreneurs to data experts, archivists and web developers.