The objective of the project is to free important datasets about the Austrian federal state that matter to the general public. We do that because progress in open government data in Austria has been slow in the past years compared to other countries. Especially ministries and other institutions of the federal state have been rather reluctant to publish their data in open, machine-readable formats. If you take a look at data.gv.at, the official Austrian open government data portal, you will only find a few datasets from these important institutions but many more from provinces and municipalities.
Since 1945 every year in August, the Tyrolean mountain village Alpbach hosts the European Forum Alpbach – an interdisciplinary three-weeks congress with Austrian and international participants from all fields of society. In the last years and decades, the Forum Alpbach has attracted people like Theodor W. Adorno, Jacques Delors, Viktor Frankl, Friedrich von Hayek, Indira Gandhi or Karl Popper. Alpbach is a bit like Davos but smaller, not as elitist and with a broader focus.
The scientific centerpiece of Alpbach is the seminar week: In 16 one-week seminars, researchers and experts explain their fields of work. This week is very lively: It is the start of the forum, where also around 600 students from all over the world come together.
For this week I had proposed a seminar idea on the topic of “Open Data, Open Government, Open Society?” to the Scientific Advisory Board and I am really glad that my seminar was selected. I also had suggested two seminar chairs and now I am even happier that they agreed to teach in Alpbach for a whole week:
- Rufus Pollock, founder and co-director of the Open Knowledge Foundation
- Carl-Christian Buhr, civil servant in the cabinet of European Commissioner Neelie Kroes
With Pollock and Buhr, two of Europe’s most important open data advocates as join the discussion in Alpbach for a week. From the seminar description:
“An essential requirement for a modern and democratic society are institutions that act transparently and can be held accountable by the public. Governments and organiza- tions all over the world have therefore started to open up their data in recent years. These measures have not only improved transparency, they have also unfolded an enormous economic potential. This seminar deals with the topic of open (government) data and its implications: It focuses on the social and technological circumstances and gives insight into data analytics and visualization; last but not least, it also brings up questions of “data ethics”: Which rules and types of freedom does a future data-driven society need?”
It was the second time that my seminar was chosen by the Scientific Advisory Board of Forum Alpbach. Last year my proposed seminar on Social Media was held by Mercedes and Heinz with me as their assistant.
BarCamp in Alpbach
During the seminar week there is another event in which I am involved: I am one of the organizers of the first BarCamp in Alpbach. It is an offical Forum event that is free and open for everyone from outside.
Über 100 Hackathons – von Norwegen bis Uganda – gingen dieses Wochenende anlässlich des International Open Data Day über die Bühne – einer davon auch in Wien: Im Zentrum für Verwaltungsforschung beschäftigten sich Open-Data-Begeisterte mit offenen Daten, deren Aufbereitung und Nutzen. Tag eins widmete sich der Frage, wie sich Armut durch Big Data bekämpfen lässt, Tag zwei offenen Gemeindebudgets. Insgesamt kamen an den zwei Tagen rund vierzig DatenexpertInnen, EntwicklerInnen und Open Data Advocates ins KDZ. Sie waren aus Washington, Frankfurt, Bratislava aber auch aus Wien, der Steiermark und Niederösterreich angereist. Das mediale Interesse war mit einem Kamerateam der ZiB2 und JournalistInnen von Radio Ö1 und Radio Helsinki unerwartet hoch.