Our Impact

An overview of the achievements and impact of the Open Knowledge Foundation since 2004.

Context: the Opportunity and Challenge

A revolution in technology is happening and it’s changing everything we do.

Never before has so much data been collected and analysed. Never before have we had the ability to freely, easily and quickly share information across the globe.

Governments and corporations are using this data to create knowledge about our world, and make decisions about our future.

But who should control this data and the ability to find insights and make decisions? The many, or the few? This is a choice that we get to make. The future is up for grabs.

Do we want to live in a world where access to knowledge is “closed”, and the power and understanding it brings is controlled by the few? Or, do we choose a world where knowledge is “open” and we are all empowered to make informed choices about our future?

Here at the Open Knowledge Foundation, we believe that knowledge should be open, and that everyone – citizens, scientists, entrepreneurs, activists – should have access to the information they need to understand and shape the world around them.

What We Do

The Open Knowledge Foundation is a worldwide network of people passionate about openness. We use advocacy, technology and training to empower citizens and organisations to use the data revolution for good – to drive transparency and accountability, to accelerate innovation and research and to create fair and sustainable societies.

We get governments and corporates to open up essential data – making it free for anyone to use, share and build on. We create tools and skills to turn data into insight, because it’s insight – not just data – that empowers citizens, researchers and organisations to understand and change the world.

What We Have Achieved – an Overview

Since 2004 the Open Knowledge Foundation has played a pioneering and central role in creating and driving forward open data and open knowledge around the world.

We have encouraged, pressured, and supported governments, companies and researchers to make their data open. We have empowered people to use that open data and turn it into insight and knowledge, giving people access to the information they need to understand and shape the world around them.

Where people needed skills, we trained them. Where people needed tools, we made them. Where people needed support and leadership, we provided it.

Through our events and worldwide network we have been a key driver and convener at the heart of the growing global “open” movement. We were one of the very first organisations working in open data and today we are the largest international community active in this area.

“The single best connection to all things Open, irrespective of field or geography”

– Mike Linksvayer, VP, Creative Commons

We are proud of our track record of success, and during the tenth anniversary of the Open Knowledge Foundation, we invite you explore the impact case studies linked below to best understand how the Open Knowledge Foundation has made the world a better place.

Some highlights

  • Our world-leading open source CKAN software is used to publish more than 1 million open datasets. There are hundreds of deployments around the world including by the world’s leading “open” governments, including the USA, UK and Brazil who use CKAN to power their open data portals and publish their open data.
  • Our Open Definition provided the first definition of open data in 2005 and has become and remained the key internationally-recognised “standard” in the area.
  • Our Open Data Handbook is the definitive guide to open data, and is now published in more than 15 languages
  • Where Does My Money Go is the most successful platform for visualising financial information, empowering citizens to understand where their tax money gets spent, and has been used by everyone from governments to activists in dozens of countries.
  • OpenSpending is the largest open database of public financial information in the world.
  • Our School of Data has trained thousands of people in person on 4 continents and online to use data for good.
  • We have run the world’s largest open data events including the first international open government data event in the world in 2010, and the Open Knowledge Festival in 2012 which saw more than 1000 participants from 50 countries come to Helsinki.

Our Impact in Numbers

1 million open datasets published with our tools 400 datasets, 15 million transactions in our open database of public finances 40 Countries
with Open Knowledge Foundation groups actively working for openness
45,000 downloads of our open source CKAN data portal software 70+ countries being tracked on their open data status by our Open Data Index More than 1000 people trained in data skills by School of Data in 2013
20+ countries where “Where Does My Money Go” sites are making Government finances understandable and visible 2 million people introduced to the importance and beauty of the Public Domain via the Public Domain Review Dozens of innovative technical tools developed and supported by our Open Knowledge Foundation Labs

Our Impact in Detail

Open Knowledge Foundation

Where governments, companies and research institutes have chosen to share information, the Open Knowledge Foundation helps them make their data “open”.

Where the benefits of being “open” have not yet been embraced, the Open Knowledge Foundation campaigns to make data “open”.


Open data itself is of little value.

It needs to be turned into knowledge and insight and put in the hands of those who can use it to solve real world problems.

Once data has been opened, the Open Knowledge Foundation empowers people to use that open data and turn it into useful open knowledge and turn the insights it yields into real world impacts.


All the activities around leadership function at both stages of the theory of change. Leadership of ideas and of the movement were required to accelerate the movement, in both opening up data and turning open data to open knowledge.


We are technologists, with a track record of success creating crucial open data technologies. We are also a community innovation hub providing legal, technical and social support to sustain and scale community-initiated technology projects, in both software and data.


We provide materials and hands-on training to journalists, civil society organisations and policy makers to help them use the data revolution to innovate, understand, and improve the world.


The Open Knowledge Foundation is a global network, catalysing and supporting the open movement in six continents.