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Who controls the biggest corporations in the world?

What licences do they hold? What patents have they been granted? What government contracts have they won?

If we can’t answer important questions like these, we can’t start to understand the world we live in. We need YOUR help to inform the direction of a platform we’re building to make this happen. The platform is code-named Turbot, and we’re announcing it really early, while it’s still in development. We need to fix any issues that remain, and get feedback as soon as possible.

Maybe you want to help make one of the most ambitious open data projects outside Wikipedia and Open Street Map even bigger and better. Or you might already be scraping data relating to companies, in which case we’d like to include it in OpenCorporates.

In short, we’re looking for hackers who are interested in helping contribute to the corporate data commons.

Why are we building Turbot?

OpenCorporates is built by a small core team, with the help of a small community of data activists. There is no way we could attempt to answer questions about global corporate activity without the help of the wider Open Data community.

There are many other providers of corporate data, but none makes their data available under an Open licence. Every tiny piece of data contributed to OpenCorporates moves more corporate information into public realm. Every use of a non-open, proprietary system helps keep this data hidden in silos.

We don’t have huge amounts of venture capital funding, deliberately: our view of the future is not about selling for millions via a sale or an IPO, but transforming the world of company data itself, for the benefit of all. We can’t win the open/proprietary argument without the help of our community.

What you can do to help

First, have a read of the Turbot website and see if it makes sense. Let us know if it doesn’t!

The Quick Start Guide will walk you through the process of contributing. As part of that, you’ll find a list of “missions” you can take on, to start contributing Open Data.

Secondly, join our mailing list. This is where you can ask questions and make suggestions. You can also email, tweet, use IRC, or ask questions on Stack Exchange.

Can you help us write our first twenty bots?

Throughout all these, please take notes and send suggestions to bots@opencorporates.com. General suggestions and discussions should go to the mailing list, but for the time being, we think it’s better for bugs and so on to go straight to us, to reduce noise.

Thanks!
The OpenCorporates Team

 

Photo by Paul Bica

One thought on “Ruby and Python coders – can you help us?

  1. I’m a ruby and python developer, and have done web scraping. I also believe in open data. I don’t have a lot of time, but I’m interested in helping. Who can I talk to about what’s needed?

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