NSF releases Open Knowledge Network Roadmap report

September 15, 2022


The U.S. National Science Foundation today published the Open Knowledge Network Roadmap – Powering the next data revolution (PDF, 1.49 MB) report that outlines a strategy for establishing an open and accessible national resource to power 21st century data science and next-generation artificial intelligence. Establishing such a knowledge infrastructure would integrate the diverse data needed to sustain strong economic growth, expand opportunities to engage in data analysis, and address complex national challenges such as climate change, misinformation, disruptions from pandemics, economic equity and diversity.

"The Open Knowledge Network Roadmap serves as a guide for powering the data revolution and provides a compelling set of use cases for developing this infrastructure," said Erwin Gianchandani, NSF assistant director for Technology, Innovation and Partnerships. "The report includes details that encourage organizations to think differently about creating and deploying an open knowledge network." 

As an essential component of a national artificial intelligence and data science infrastructure, an open knowledge network is envisioned to provide an open, inclusive, community-driven platform to support new applications and frontiers in AI and data science research, such as ensuring fairness, diversity, equity and inclusion. It could also facilitate more expressive frameworks for capturing knowledge while enabling more robust, efficient and natural interfaces to access that knowledge. Organizations, regardless of size or sector, would be able to take advantage of the open knowledge network for evidence-based policymaking, game-changing research and many other areas of societal impact.

The report is the outcome of the "Open Knowledge Network Innovation Sprint," organized by NSF with support from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, that was held from February through June 2022. More than 150 stakeholders from government, academia, industry and nonprofits participated in the exercise and were organized into 17 groups to capture potential application areas and themes using specific use cases and user insights. The results of these user-centered designs were then compiled into the comprehensive roadmap. Appendix A of the Open Knowledge Network Roadmap (PDF, 3.74 MB) provides a detailed account on all 17 use cases from the Innovation Sprint.

NSF has invested in open knowledge networks for several years. In March 2019, NSF issued a Dear Colleague Letter announcing the Open Knowledge Network as one of the inaugural convergence research track topics of NSF's Convergence Accelerator. In the three years since, the program has funded nearly two dozen multidisciplinary teams across two phases to develop novel approaches, solutions and prototypes for an eventual open knowledge network. These efforts provided the context for the Innovation Sprint and contributed significantly to the Open Knowledge Network Roadmap. A summary of the five open knowledge network phase two projects supported by the NSF’s Convergence Accelerator is given in Appendix B of the Open Knowledge Network Roadmap (PDF, 1.17 MB) .

To join the rollout event on September 15, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT, visit https://apply.hub.ki/okn/.