At the intersection

  • 30 minute talk

What happens when government and science meet open source?

The Open Knowledge Foundation brings open source principles to sectors that traditionally keep walled gardens. Not only do we help scientists, academics, clinicians and government officials make their data available, we also manage the coming together of communities with disparate views.

This carries a few challenges, but also many rewards. Many principles and practices common in open source are at odds with those used in other fields. We have found ourselves balancing the needs of individuals and institutions to remain viable while going against established operational and business models. The outcomes have both strengthened the open source movement, and brought unexpected innovations to the new sectors in which it is operating.

This talk will share some of the joys, lows, and techniques we've encountered along the way.


Moving from biomedical engineering research to working as a software consultant taught Maia a lot of things, including the value of moving away from closed data models. Since becoming involved with the Open Knowledge Foundation, Maia organised HealthHack, a datahack for medical research problems. She also organises a weekly hacknight for OpenMRS, a free open source medical records system for the developing world. She sometimes rants as @sauramaia.

The OSDC 2014 team is dedicated to providing a friendly, safe and welcoming conference environment for everyone. We have a code of conduct to clearly outline our expectations. Our goal is to create a safe and harassment-free conference experience for all involved, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, religion, preferred operating system, programming language or text editor.