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Science and Culture Hackday at OKFest

- August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

This blog post is cross-posted from the OpenGlam blog and the OKFN main blog. For details of the open science sessions scheduled for the main OKFest programme, visit the [OKFestival website](


At the OKFestival in Helsinki next month, the Open Heritage and Open Science streams will be kicking off their three days of activities with a joint hackday dedicated to working with and building things with open cultural and scientific data.

The day will involve a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, a digital humanities coding sprint working with tools such as TEXTUS, Pundit, and any other new tools people feel inclined to create, the opportunity to work with recently opened datasets from Finnish cultural heritage institutions and the Europeana API – and much more! Hackers will also have the chance to develop applications for the new PyBossa crowdsourcing platform, to hack for Louhos research software libraries and to contribute to the developing plans for a Hybrid Publishing Lab. Alternatively, join in with a variety of mini-projects related to open science, citizen science and open cultural heritage – if you have an activity suitable for a hackday, feel free to bring it along!

This event is open to coders and non-coders alike, so people with all levels of technical proficiency are welcome. Below you can find some more practical information and some more details about the different thing we are going to work with. Excited already? Then click [here]( to sign up right away as places are limited.

##Practical Details

– **When**: Tuesday 18th September 2012
– **Where**: MAKE Space, Aalto University
– **Who**: Programmers, Developers, Designers, Digital Humanists, Scientists, Researchers and everybody else with an interest in culture and/or science
– **Costs**: Free to attend. (NB: If you wish to attend other OKFest sessions, you will need to [purchase an OKFest pass](
– **What you need to bring**: A laptop and lots of enthusiasm!
– **How to register**: Please use [this form](


##1. Cultural Data Hack

Prominent European cultural heritage institutions have agreed to open up specific datasets for use at this hackday.

The [Central Art Archives]( opens a dataset consisting of glass-plate negatives photographed by Daniel Nyblin (1856-1923), and their descriptive data. The set features black and white reproductions of artworks by Nyblin’s contemporary Finnish artists. The files have been photographed from the original glass-plate negatives.

The team at [Europeana]( have also agreed to make available the new version of the Europeana API, making use of Europeana’s new Data Exchange Agreement that secures all metadata within Europeana under a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) waiver. For a bit of inspiration what can be done with these datasets you can have a look at previous [Europeana hackathons](

[OpenCultuurData]( is a Dutch initiative that opens cultural data and encourages the development of valuable cultural applications. They have released several different datasets already and currently run an app-competition until the end of this year. This means that developers who make use of one of these datasets have a chance to win great prizes up to € 3.000! For more info about this competition click [here](

Other datasets from contributing institutions include:

– [HelMet data API]( (Helsinki area libraries)
– [Finnish Ontology Library Service ONKI](
– [Finnish National Library]( ) (content + metadata)
– [The Fragmenta membranea collection](

Many more to come!

##2. Edit-a-thon

[Wikimedia Finland]( is a local chapter in the global Wikimedia network. One of their goals is to involve experts to improve Wikipedia, as well as engaging galleries, libraries, archives and museums through GLAM programs. In the Culture Hack Day Wikimedia Finland organizes an edit-a-thon, including some demonstrations of their current projects (e.g. GLAM Atheneum) and sharing practical advice on wiki culture, as well as discussions on how to improve it.

In an edit-a-thon, a group of people come together at a specified time to edit Wikipedia together, usually around a particular topic. In our cultural heritage edit-a-thon a group of participants will collaborate to gather and record cultural heritage information for the Wikipedia. The focus will be mainly on Finnish Wikipedia articles, but many of the openly licensed objects that will be made available during this day, can also be used in Wikipedia for other languages.

##3. Open Humanities Hack

The Open Humanities hack will be all about building open source tools for working with open content and open data for use within humanities teaching and research.
Leading developers from the emerging “Digital Humanities” domain will join forces to build upon existing tools and forge entirely new creations.
Tools that people have already expressed an interest in working on include:

– **TEXTUS**

[TEXTUS]( is an open source platform for working with collections of texts. It harnesses the power of semantic web technologies and delivers them in a simple and intuitive interface so that students, researchers and teachers can share and collaborate around collections of texts. For a demo version and access to the Github repo see [their website](

– **Pundit**

[Pundit]( is a novel semantic annotation and augmentation tool. It enables users to create structured data while annotating web pages.
Annotations span from simple comments to semantic links to web of data entities (as and, to fine granular cross-references and citations. Pundit can be configured to include custom controlled vocabularies. In other words, annotations can refer to precise entities and concepts as well as express precise relations among entities and contents.

– **BibServer**

[BibServer]( is a tool for quickly and easily sharing collections of bibliographic metadata.

##4. Open Video Make Session

The Open Video Make Session focuses on open video as a rich resource for creative reinterpretation. Cultural heritage institutions are opening their archives and providing access to various audiovisual content and data online. Recent technical developments also make it easier to mix video with other types of content (see e.g. [Popcorn]( However, it is still rather complex to take video to the next level beyond traditional remixing, making use of video metadata, open data, and temporal and spatial video characteristics. In order to tackle this challenge, and to promote new uses for archival materials, we aim to open up video as an exploratory medium for a broader audience of potential makers. During the session, invited experts from different fields work with open video content and data, stretching the notion of video to discover novel ways for creative re-use. The outcomes of the session will be published later online in the form of mini tutorials to facilitate further explorations with video.

Welcome to join the session if you are interested to explore video hands on, or just to see the experts at work! If you have further questions, please email Sanna Marttila / sanna.marttila [@]

##5. PyBOSSA

[PyBossa]( is an open source platform for crowd-sourcing online (volunteer) assistance to perform tasks that require human cognition, knowledge or intelligence (e.g. image classification, transcription, information location etc).

PyBossa was inspired by the [BOSSA]( crowdsourcing engine, but is written in python (hence the name!). It can be used for any distributed tasks application, although it was initially developed to help scientists and other researchers to crowd-source human problem-solving skills. It should be possible to put together a new application in a day, so come along and have a go!

##6. Research-oriented software libraries for open data (‘Louhos hack’)

New analysis tools are needed to take full advantage of the new open government data resources in academic research. Solutions can be borrowed from other data-intensive research fields, such as computational biology and economics, where on-line discussion forums and dedicated software libraries have already revolutionized international collaboration and research output. [Louhos]( is a community-driven effort to develop flexible, research-oriented software libraries for open data. The project is coordinated through GitHub, and it provides general-purpose tools to fetch and analyze open government data streams, customized to local standards and needs. We welcome the community to join the effort in this hackathon to extend these tools and discuss the need for open data analytics in academic context.

We also have some more hack ideas bubbling in the pipeline, so keep an eye on the [Culture and Science Hackday page]( for breaking news and latest developments! If you have a project that you would like to bring along to the hackday, please contact educationandresearch [@] or openheritage [@]

Get your ticket for OKFest TODAY! Early bird closes August 8th.

- August 7, 2012 in Announcements, events

The excitement is mounting as plans for OKFest move into the final planning stages. As [Kat Braybrooke reports](, hundreds of OKFest tickets have been snapped up already. The early bird ticket deadline is **THIS WEDNESDAY 8th AUGUST**, so book your tickets now!

**[Book your OKFest ticket here](**

On the Open Research and Education stream – which includes sessions on open science and open access – we have a packed schedule of speakers, panelists and hands-on workshops confirmed. See the [Research and Education topic stream]( on the main OKFestival website for more details of what’s in store.

## Tuesday 18th September – Hackday & Social

On Tuesday 18th September, we will be holding a [science hackday]( With capacity for up to 25 hackers to join us in person and more welcome online, we will be spending the day developing applications to open up science through citizen participation, open research processes, data sharing, open access to scientific articles and more. Participation is free but numbers are limited.

Please sign-up for the hackday [here](

Following the hackday on Tuesday, everyone interested in open science is invited to a social – more details to follow!

## Wednesday 19th September – Seminars, Panels and a Keynote

The majority of the science-orientated sessions will be taking place on Wednesday 19th September. Sessions on Wednesday will include:

* ‘Communicating Science‘ – with panelists from Wikimedia, academia and the media,
* ‘Open Access in Practice – how?‘ – covering everything from business models to the technicalities of standards and licensing, five panelists explore how open access can work in practice.
* ‘Immediate Access to Raw Data from Experiments‘ – Mark Hahnel (Figshare) and Mark Wainright (CKAN) discuss data sharing platforms and aggregators, algorithms and tools, and the challenges and benefits of releasing raw data now.
* ‘From data mining to graduate training‘ – Ross Mounce and Sophie Kershaw, the first ever Panton Fellows, discuss the work of their fellowships: come and find out how mining open data could help phylogeneticists decipher the tree of life and how to inspire a new generation of open scientists through pre-doctoral training.

Wednesday’s sessions will close with a keynote speech by Mat Todd from the University of Sydney. Mat headed up a project to improve synthesis of the major drug used against the tropical parasite schistomaniasis, which involved extensive collaboration between academia and industry. During his keynote on Open Source Drug Discovery, Mat will explore how open science has and could aid the development of treatments for disease across the globe.

## Thursday 20th September – Workshops, Cross-Streams, and a presentation from the European Commission.

Thursday 20th September will feature one of the highlights of the Open Science programme. Carl-Christian Bohr, Member of the Cabinet of Neelie Kroes, will present the Commission’s new open access policy and infrastructure initiatives, before leading an interactive discussion about opportunities for bringing together the European open data and open access communities. The European Commission is highly supportive of both open access and open science, and this is an opportunity not to be missed!

Thursday will also feature a cross-stream session with the Development stream, exploring how crowdsourcing can be used in development. Other sessions will have a more hands-on edge.

* Put open science tools on trial in our hands-on workshop and review session;
* Help to draft a section of the forthcoming Open Research Data Handbook;
* Film yourself in our open science video booth
* … and more!

If that isn’t enough, a whole host of other presentations and sessions will be taking place on learning, education, the School of Data and the School of Open as part of the Open Research and Education Topic Stream, and all participants are welcome to dip into sessions that the other streams have on offer. There will be plenty to see!

## Book your tickets now!

Early bird ticket sales close on Wednesday 8th August, so book your ticket now! Visit the [main OKFestival site]( for full details.

If you have any questions about the Research and Education topic stream, please contact educationandresearch [@]

Introducing our Panton Fellows!

- April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

Cross-posted from the main OKFN blog.

The Panton Fellowships are a new initiative to support scientists who promote open access to data. Funded by Open Society Foundations, the Open Knowledge Foundation are proud to welcome Ross Mounce and Sophie Kershaw as the first ever Panton Fellows.

##What are the Panton Fellowships?

Many scientists believe in the benefits of open data. Many have an idea of what could be done to make open data in science more feasible, ubiquitous and routine. But what is often lacking are the time and resources to bring these ideas into fruition.

The idea behind the Panton Fellowship came from Jonathan Gray and Peter Murray-Rust, who saw an opportunity to assist innovative graduate students and career scientists to promote open science. Thanks to Open Society Foundations, the Open Knowledge Foundation were able to [announce the Panton Fellowship scheme in January](

Today, we are delighted to introduce our Panton Fellows to the world!

###The Process

We received fantastic first-round applications, and decided to introduce a second round of video submissions to aid us in our selection process. The videos that came back a fortnight later featured everything from daffodils to datasets, and were a real testimony to the creativity and enthusiasm of our applicants! The overall commitment to open science was inspiring, and we hope that many applicants will find ways to progress the exciting work they proposed.

After a final round of interviews, we were delighted to offer Panton Fellowships to Sophie Kershaw and Ross Mounce. We are sure that Sophie and Ross will do an excellent job, and make a great contribution to open data and open science. I leave them to introduce themselves below:

##Sophie Kershaw

I am in the final year of my DPhil at the University of Oxford, where I am based in the Computational Biology group at the Department of Computer Science. My research explores the impact of tissue geometry upon the expression of subcellular biochemistry in colorectal cancer, through the development of in silico tissue simulations. These ‘virtual experiments’ are implemented through my work on the cell-based development team for [Chaste](, an open-source, C++ based framework for cell and tissue simulation.

Computational biology provides an ideal testing ground for open data practices, being both data-hungry and data-rich. We require readily available experimental data to parametrise our models, while our simulations produce a good deal of numeric output (and indeed code) that must be appropriately shared if our work is to be fully reproducible and extensible. My interests in open science therefore range from data handling issues, to code reuse, to science communication.

My work throughout the Panton Fellowship will centre on establishing a graduate training scheme in open science for pre-doctoral students, aiming to provide them with the skills and knowledge required to sustain an open science approach on entering the world of research. The scheme will initially run as an Oxford-based pilot before being extended further afield. I am really excited at the prospect of seeing this project develop over the next twelve months and I am very grateful to the OKFN for providing this fantastic opportunity. If you have any further questions about my work in open science or about my research in general, then please feel free to get in touch! You can contact me on sophie [dot] kershaw [at] okfn [dot] org, or follow me on twitter – [@stilettofiend](!/StilettoFiend)

##Ross Mounce

Hi there, my name is Ross Mounce – I’m a 3rd year PhD student at the University of Bath studying the impact of fossils in phylogenetics. With a cross-disciplinary, informatics-based approach to palaeontology I’m hoping to wring new insights from the scientific literature through synthesis and integration of knowledge. In the process of doing this, I’ve discovered many interesting and unfortunate barriers to such research, both cultural and technical – thus I have developed a strong interest in data sharing, open science, metadata and licencing issues.

I plan to spend the duration of my Fellowship gathering evidence to document the costs of these barriers to research. I will also attempt some ‘digital data archaeology’ to resurrect, re-extract and revitalise useful palaeontological and phylogenetic data that is otherwise buried in unhelpful, un-useful and inappropriate formats in the literature, and re-release this as readily utilizable open data for the benefit of everyone. Most importantly of all, I shall endeavor to stimulate cultural change in my research communities, via publications and conference talks – to further engender an understanding and appreciation of the importance of open data in academic research.

Palaeontology has come a long way in the last few decades. It is now a highly quantitative, hugely integrative, and surprisingly innovative fully-fledged science. My work aims to complement the growth of this field in the computational space by ensuring that palaeontological phylogenetic data is given it’s due importance and properly integrated into the wider biological informatics landscape. As befits this fellowship, I’ll be doing much of this work in the open, so if you’re interested in what I’m doing, or want to know more, you can follow me [here on Google Plus]( or Twitter [@rmounce](!/rmounce).

Panton Fellowships

- February 13, 2012 in Panton Principles, Research

**The following post is by Laura Newman, a Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation and Coordinator of the Panton Fellowships. It has been cross-posted from the OKFN main blog.**

**Funding for scientists who promote open data in science.**

* Panton Fellows receive £8,000 over one year
* A small discretionary budget for travel and related expenses may also be available.
* **How would you promote open data in science?**
* See the [Panton Principles’ website]( for full details and how to apply.

## Details

The Panton Fellowships are designed to support scientists who promote open data. Following our [previous announcement](, this is a reminder that the deadline for applications is **Friday 24th February**

* The Panton Fellowships are for scientists who promote open data in science.
* Panton Fellowships are designed to be flexible, and there is scope for Fellows to carry out a wide variety of activities. Applicants are encouraged to propose their own work plan.
* Panton Fellows may wish to initiate discussion about the role and value of openness, explore practical solutions for making data open, and push for change in scientific practices.

Panton Fellowships are open to all applicants, and are particularly suited to graduate students and early-stage career stage scientists.

Please Note: Panton Fellowships are not full-time positions and are not intended to cover full economic costs. Fellows will continue to work and/or study at their current institution for the duration of the Fellowship. You should ensure that you have permission from all relevant employers/funders.

## Why?

We firmly believe that **open data means better science**. Panton Fellowships were created in order to support scientists who are interested in open data, particularly whilst they are launching their career. The scheme is overseen by a distinguished Advisory Board, which includes:

* Dr Rufus Pollock – Co-founder and Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation
* Dr Peter Murray-Rust – Emeritus Reader of Chemistry at Cambridge
* Dr Cameron Neylon – Senior Scientist in Biomolecular Sciences at the ISIS Neutron Scattering facility
* John Wilbanks – Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
* Dr Tim Hubbard – Representative of Bioinformatics at the Sanger Institute

Dr Cameron Neylon commented  on the ‘real potential’ of the Fellowships to influence practice  surrounding open data in the scientific community.

‘Panton Fellowships  will allow those who are still deeply involved in research to think closely about the policy and technical issues surrounding open data’, said Dr Neylon. By allowing scientists the scope both to explore the ‘big picture’ and also to work on specific technical solutions to individual problems, the Panton Fellowships have the potential to make a real impact upon the practice of open data in science.

## How to Apply

Full details on how to apply can be found at the [Panton Principles website](

* Applicants should send a **CV and covering letter** to jobs [@] by *24th February* explaining as a Panton Fellow, what you would do, make or change.
* To be eligible, applicants should have the relevant rights to work in the UK, and reasonably expect to be working and/or studying in the UK until March 2013.
* For further details, see the [website](