Feng Gao bio photo

Feng Gao

Open Data Advocate and Open Knowledge's ambassador for China. Researching, Designing and Coding for Change. Available for Freelancing work

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Work-in-Progress Projects


It is soon coming to the end of 2013 so it is time to wrap up what I’m working on and reflect upon the progress.

Currently, I’m working on 4 projects:

Chinese FOI Case Repository

Back to this Oct, I was invited to give a talk on open data at an open government initiative workshop in HongKong. The audience are a group of NGOs and one outcome this workshop is we are going to create a new platform to further promoate FOI in China. As part of the platform, we are going to create a new repository to archive previous and furture FOI requests and responses. I am the only technical person in the team so I gave the suggestion that we can use Froide to set up such repository but we need to do a lot of tweak. I’ve done the transaltion of Froide and set up demo site for a quick look. A concept note was written to reflect unique requirements we have in China and willl do further developmenet in the coming year.

Translation of “Beyond Transparency”

The wonderful book edited by Code of American can be a great resource for people in China to learn why we need open data in China and how can we do it in a right way in China.

Luckily, I got the support from Yeeyan.org, an online volunteer translator communtiy, to include this book in their Gutenberg Project. And within 2 weeks, I have recruited 6 people to form a team working on this translation project.

The project also was supported by CfA with their permission to actually sell the copy of the transalted book in China. That will allow the book not only to be freely available online but also to be distributed through commercial bookstores and e-book stores where the book has more chance to be advertised to attract more readers.

The project just started and the team aims to finish the first draft in about 2 months so you may can see the Simplified Chinese version in next spring.

As a side note, Joel Gurin’s new book “open data now” will be released on Jan 10, 2014. I’ve got in touch with Joel to discuss whether it is possible to translate the book. Hopefully, this book can be translated with Yeeyan again.

Open Data China Story

Thus far, there is still no national policy on open data but it is clear that there are more and more discussions on big data and open data in China. For instance, the ministry of industry and information technology’s experts forum was recently held in Beijing and the topic is on “open data and big data”. Experts from McKinsey and Gartner Group gave talks on open data. Experts from Chinese Gov-supported research Intitution even gave a talk introducing G8 Open Data charter. Such similar discussions also occured at several conferences organized by e-gov service companies or academic researchers. It is clear that Open Data will be the next big thing in China. But how it will be actully supported, planned, implemented by the Chinese Gov remains a question.

On the other hand, from feedbacks on my last two posts, I know the information on how is Open Data growing in China is limited for the international community. Therefore, i decided to create a new site to provide an one-stop portal to track the progress of open data initiative in China. The portal will track the relevant events (such as launching data portal, conference on open data etc), the progress of releasing open data, the progress of policy on open data, and the relevant press/talks on open data. Potentially, this resource can help researchers, advocates, organizations such as OKF to know much more about open data initiative in China and better plan how they can study the situation in China or how they can support the open data initiative in China.

Currently, I’ve built the timeline and share it on OKFNLAB’s timemapper. I’m now searching on web to collect data to track press/talks on open data and plan to work on tracking progress of releasing open data later. All data collected by me will also be open.

Independet Research Project “Investigation of Chinese People’s understanding of Open Data and their demand for it”

It is common that people in China think the term “public data” is the same as the term “open data”. Therefore, I’m currently planning an independent research project to investigate how people understand the concept of open data. Moreover, it is also interesting to understand their demand for it: why they want it? what’s benefit they see? how they plan to use it? etc.

I’ve drafted a list of questions I’d like to ask and am still iterating it. Will release it possibly after spring festival then report the result in later Spring.