You are browsing the archive for Uncategorized.

Panton Fellowship- End of year post

- November 11, 2014 in Featured, Panton Fellowships, Uncategorized

Well this last year seems to have flown by but I have to say I have really enjoyed my year as a Panton Fellow. As someone who had very little knowledge of all things open at the beginning of the year it’s been a great experience for me, meeting some interesting people, talking to scientists about open policies and learning more about the issues surrounding open data and open science. In this blog post I will summarise my work as a one of the 13/14 Panton Fellows and include some of the outputs of my project at the bottom.

I would like to say running my school based project has been easy and that I achieved everything I set out to do but unfortunately that’s not the case. As anyone who works with schools will know, it takes a lot of time and effort on both the parts of the visitor and the teachers and sometimes getting things to be implemented as quickly as you like is not always possible. This is not a criticism of teachers by the way, I see how overworked they are and any projects like this that they get involved with only add to their work load.

Introducing students to the project

Introducing students to the project

So where to begin, well the aims of my project were pretty simple:

  1. Install air quality sensors in primary schools.
  2. Get students to collect data and work as the scientists.
  3. Host data on a webpage to allow the local public to see what air quality is like in their area.
  4. Increase knowledge of Open Data/ Open Science in the air quality field.

I think that it is safe to say that I definitely achieved elements of each of these aims as well as getting involved in lots of other things on the way.

If you read my June blog post then you will know that I eventually managed to get an air quality sensor and weather station into a school and I ran my first introductory session with the students. To say the students were engaged with the project was an understatement, they were so enthusiastic and their knowledge of all things air quality far surpassed my initial expectations. The sensor was installed in the school and successfully collected data from the 6th-11th of June. Then for some unknown reason it stopped working. This unfortunately coincided with my contact teacher leaving the school and the summer holidays starting. So an unfortunate series of events left me with five days of data for the last school year- not quite to plan. I am now back in touch with the new science coordinator at the school and we are hoping to start the project again before Christmas. In the meantime I have been making links to other schools and am looking to start work in a second school in the New Year.

So what else have I been up to this year? Well I have presented my Panton work at several conferences. The first one was in March at the Air Quality Conference in Garmisch-Parternkirchen and I received a great response from that- the blog post that I wrote about this conference is found here. I have also presented at several UK conferences, the NCEO/CEOI annual conference in Sheffield and the NCEO young scientist conference. The poster I presented at these conferences is found at the bottom of this blog.

Using electric cars to measure air quality in Leicester

Using electric cars to measure air quality in Leicester

Over the last year I have also continued to work with colleagues from RMetSoc and Manchester Met on citizen science projects to be run in school. We ran a successful pilot project last year with primary school students making rain gauges and then sending us daily rainfall measurements. We produced a paper outlining the results of this project for Weather in July this year. Over the next few months we plan to further this project by asking schools to buy a more reliable rain gauge and then increasing the size of the school network from the pilot project. Further to this citizen science project I have also co-authored a paper on Crowdsourcing for atmospheric science applications that is currently in press.

I work within the Air Quality Group at the University of Leicester and one of our current projects is the development of some open source air quality sensors. These will be designed to be cheap but also scientifically sound. A significant test period is underway with the current version of these sensors and so far they have been installed in electric cars and elsewhere in Leicester and Berlin (a sensor was installed in Berlin during OKFest). We are still finalising the designs of these but plan to release an open source design in 2015. When we have final designs for these I am planning to install several across schools in Leicester as they offer a much cheaper alternative to those sensors currently on the market.

What next?

This fellowship has been a great opportunity for me to kick start a citizen science project and further my interest in the development of open source air quality sensors. It also allowed me to attend conferences to discuss open data in air quality which received positive feedback from many colleagues.

The next steps for me are to continue with my school based project and aim this year to run a sensor in a school for a full term. I am also hoping to extend this to more schools. I also plan to continue to be involved with other citizen science projects where time will allow and continue to promote open data in air quality.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as a Panton Fellow and would like to finish by thanking Peter Murray-Rust, Michelle Brook, Jenny Molloy and my fellow fellows for all their support and ideas over the year.



Introduction for schools

Conference Poster presented at the Air Quality Conference 2014

General information poster for schools

Presentation from NCEO Young Scientists Conference




Illingworth, S.M, Muller, C.L, Graves, R and Chapman, L., UK Citizen Rainfall Network: a pilot study, Weather, 2014, 26:8, 203-207

Muller, C.L, Champman, L., Johnston, S., Kidd, C., Illingworth, S., Foody, G., Overeem, A., Graves, R., Crowdsourcing for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences: Current Status and Future Potential, IJOC, 2014, In Press


NERC Planet Earth Online podcast,


Electric Cars and air quality story



Rigour and Openness in 21st Century Science #openoxford

- June 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

A team of researchers at the University of Oxford and University of Koblenz recently joined forces to organise an event on ‘Rigour and Openness in 21st Century Science‘ examining whether and how recent developments in open science can lead to increased reproducibility and rigour in scientific research.

While the key themes of open access and data were addressed, other sessions touched on the question of how to ensure data collected and analysed by citizens is validated, the role of openness in innovation and pre-competitive commercial environments and new technical services that are being built to facilitate sharing, analysis and further application of research outputs.

Over 90 people registered to attend the sessions, which were flanked by an opening address from Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Advisor and a closing address from David Willetts MP, UK Government Minister for Science and Universities. These provided an interesting and positive insight into how the UK Government is thinking about issues around open science.

In addition, six eminent speakers debated the issue of the future of scholarly publishing in a public event held in the Oxford Union debating chamber – will we see progress by evolution or revolution of the current system?

We encourage you to check out the videos below and further sessions which can be found on youtube and the University of Oxford podcasts site.

Sir Mark Walport – Opening Address

David Willetts MP – Opening Address

Evolution or Revolution? The Debate at Oxford’s conference Rigour and Openness in 21st Century Science

Chas Bountra on open innovation

Helen Roy on citizen science

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 [@]

Join the Open Science Hackday on 7 July

- June 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

The next OKFN Open Science hackday will be taking place in a few weeks and it would be great to see plenty of open-science folk either in London or online from wherever you are in the world!

When: Saturday 7 July 2012, 1000-1700 UTC+1

Where: Centre for Creative Collaboration, London


OKFN IRC channel (#okfn on, see full details of how to connect)

Sign up HERE

Hackday at the Barbican

Our last outing to the Barbican saw a small but dedicated group working on projects as diverse as services for open access policies, extracting phylogenetic tree information from PDFs, storing crowdsourced data in CKAN and more. This time we’re going to be bigger and better with a dedicated space which will hopefully be filled by YOU.

If you’d like to come along, please add yourself to the Etherpad and if you have a specific idea you’d like to work on, add that too and you’ll have a couple of minutes at the start of the hackday to tell everyone about it so we can link you up with people who’d like to help.

You don’t need to have an idea for anything to work on or even any coding skills to join, there are plenty of opportunities to get stuck in with other people’s projects and many non-technical tasks, especially if you like writing or design.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact

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).

Open Science Hackday, 31 Mar 2012, London

- March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

At the last working group meeting it was decided that we should run a hackday on open science, spending the day driving forward coding projects and coming up with new ideas.
So, come along and join us in person in the London Barbican foyer or virtually via Skype, IRC and Etherpad!

There are several tasks which don’t require the ability to programme so don’t be put off if you’re not a coder, we’d still love to have you along! All that’s required is enthusiasm and interest.

Date: Saturday 31 March 2012

Time: 10am to 6pm (and later for those who want to carry on)

Location: Barbican Foyer and online

Sign up for numbers here.

Possible ideas we could work on are below, although feel free to add some to the pad linked above or bring your own on the day and we’ll pick a few to focus on:

  • Open Research Reports (continuation of work from SWAT4LS hackathon).
  • Generating a Data Watch website.
  • Pulling data from citizen cyberscience projects straight into CKAN.

We hope to see many of you there!

BBC Interview with Sir Iain Chalmers

- March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

As part of their ‘The Life Scientific‘ series, which has previously featured an excellent interview with John Sulston on open data and the Human Genome Project, the BBC recently broadcast an interview with Sir Iain Chalmers, founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, in which he clearly states the dire need for open data concerning drug trials and emphasises a need to focus on the research questions and outcomes that really matter to patients.

He also emphasises how vital it is to publish the results of all trials to avoid an incomplete and biased scientific record which can lead to wasted resources following unpromising leads and compromises the safety of future trial participants.

This is not just a scientific disgrace but an ethical disgrace. Patients have suffered and died and resources have been wasted in both healthcare and research because people have not published what they should have published and that is tragic…We now have evidence that over 50% of trials go unreported. What are patients who actually contribute to these trials, participate in them, what are they to think of this behaviour? I think it’s indefensible and it worries me greatly that the medical establishment in my field has not been more forthright in putting it right.

Sir Iain gives the example of an unreported study of a drug very similar to that used in the infamous TGN1412 trial at Northwick Park in the UK, which led to six volunteers suffering multiple organ failure. The suffering of the single participant in the earlier study who developed similar symptoms did not prevent others from the same fate because the data and report was not available. This message about complete reporting was echoed by Patrick Vallance of GlaxoSmithKline, who have publicly stated that all trial results should be publicly available:

If you do an experiment with people…you have a duty to make the information available…but the second bit is what do you mean by data? Do you mean absolutely everything? The risk is if you do a massive data dump of absolutely everything you don’t actually get to information.

Trial data should not only be published but it should be publicly available to all, something with which the patients profiled on Who Needs Access? would thoroughly agree. Sir Iain’s work through the James Lind Foundation expands on this patient focus and he discusses questions such as why most trials registered for osteoarthritis of the knee are drug related when patients and their healthcare workers want research on surgical treatments, physiotherapy and knee prostheses.

First of all you’ve got people asking questions that are of no interest to the punters at the end of the research pipeline. Also, people look at silly outcomes. The thing is that it’s very important that a significant proportion of the patients and the public are informed enough to be better bullshit detectors, let’s put it that way.

One way to help make this happen is to ensure that all research publications and data relating to clinical trials are available openly so they can be accessed by patients and by those able to make them more useful to patients. For OKFN affiliated projects related to patient access to information, see Who Needs Access? and Open Research Reports.

Working Group Meeting – 25 Jan 2012

- February 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

See below for a summary of key points from the WG meeting on 25 Jan 2012, followed by a list of interesting events that are coming up. If you’d like more detailed updates on projects or to view the full minutes, visit the meeting Etherpad.

The next meeting will be Wednesday 6 March, 17:30 GMT. You can sign up and add agenda items here.


  1. 2012 open science wish list – what can we achieve this year?

    We’ve come up with some concrete aims for the coming months so look out for dedicated writing sprints and planning meetings for these:

    • Open data in science slide deck for open data presentations
    • New local open science groups (I’m being held to my promise of 5 so PLEASE get in touch if you’re interested in starting an open science group locally!)
    • An open science workshop/conference. This will hopefully translate to a day workshop at #OKFest 2012 in Helsinki, along with a really strong science stream in the main programme.
    • Individuals in the group have their own wishlists for the year ahead, see Mat Todd’s ideas at Google+
  2. Panton Fellowships

    The call for applications is now out with a deadline of 24 Feb – please distribute far and wide!

    In summary Panton Fellowships provide funding for scientists who promote open data in science of £8000 for one year. Applicants are expected to continue work in their current academic positions and the posts are especially suited to PhD students and early career researchers.

    For more details see the Panton Principles website
  3. Update on local groups

    There are now several fledgling groups with mailing lists set up for Oxford, New York, Washington DC. The Stockholm Open Science group is doing well and founder Egon Willighagen plans to start another in his new home, Maastricht!

    In order to make it as easy as possible to set up a local group we will:

    • Post clear instructions on getting started on the WG website.
    • Have a form for those interested in setting a groups up (like the OKFN get involved form)
    • Post a testimony and progress report from Egon with some ideas for what share the groups could take and what activites they might like to organise.

    If anyone has any suggestions or questions, email or the open science mailing list.

  4. Citizen Cyberscience Summit Hackathon 16-18 Feb 2012

    OKFN are involved in two challenges for the CCS Hackathon based on pyBOSSA and DataHub/CKAN.
    You can get full details of the challenges here and while it is now too late to submit more, if you have a development challenge around open science or citizen science, feel free to propose it for the working group hack day in March (more details below!).
  5. Update on Open Access and OKF – New @ccess Group

    There is a new initiative under the OKFN umbrella focused on open access to scholarly publications. You are very welcome to join the mailing list and check out this blog post from Peter Murray Rust on the aims of the group. The group has a focus on developing practical tools and apps for discovery and use of open access material, particularly for those outside academia.
  6. Working group website redesign

    As you can see, we now have a shiny new site with a launch page. There will be content development over the next few weeks to make this a more useful resource for members of the public and the group. Do you have suggestions of content you would like to see? Send them through to the the open science mailing list!
  7. Plans for Open Research Reports in 2012

    Open Research Reports is a resource for access to disease information. We had a hackathon in conjunction with SWAT4LS in December where a good amount of work on infrastructure was completed.

    Many of the tools are now in place e.g. BibSoup (see beta launch and video explanation. There is a lot of scope for progressing with this project in the near future and we hope it will play an integral role in the March hackday (see below).
  8. Data Watch?

    Jonathan Eisen blogged about creating a website like Retraction Watch for data. It draws together similar ideas which have been discussed in the group before and could be used to highlight datasets that have been retracted, naming and shaming projects which refuse to share their data, or highlighting research such as the recent Wicherts et al PLoS ONE article showing that psychology papers with the weakest evidence and statistical reporting were least likely to share data.

    If this is a project you would be interested in getting involved with, email for more info.
  9. DDOI and Open Linguistics Code Registry

    The meeting also discussed the role of DOIs for data and possible alternatives (proposed by Nick Stenning), as well as generating a a code registry/repository in Open Linguistics (Richard Littauer), which the Open Linguistics group are already planning and would appreciate any input on their wiki. This aims to offer a central hub for accessing social science code related to linguistics and act as a forum for sharing of code and ideas.

    The main outcome of these discussions was that we should organise a hackday to start working on some of these development projects in a definitive manner.
  10. Open Science Hackday – 31 March 2012, London and virtually

    Come along and join us in person in the London Barbican foyer or virtually via Skype, IRC and Etherpad!

    There are several tasks which don’t require the ability to programme so don’t be put off if you’re not a coder, we’d still love to have you along! All that’s required is enthusiasm and interest.

    Date: Saturday 31 March 2012

    Time: 10am to 6pm (and later for those who want to carry on)

    Location: Barbican Foyer and online

    Sign up for numbers here:

    Possible ideas we could work on are below, although feel free to add some to the pad linked above or bring your own on the day and we’ll pick a few to focus on:

    • Open Research Reports (continuation of work from SWAT4LS hackathon).
    • Generating a Data Watch website.
    • Pulling data from citizen cyberscience projects straight into CKAN.


16-18 Feb – Citizen Cyberscience Summit, London

3 Mar – Energy and Climate Hackday, London

31 Mar – Open Science Hackday, London

18-22 Sep – OKFest, Helsinki

Informing public access to peer reviewed scholarly publications and data resulting from publicly funded research

- January 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

The US government (OSTP) has recently issued Requests for Information on Open Access to data resulting from publicly funded research. The deadline for responding to the RFI has been extended to January 12.

Detailed responses are openly available for collaborative editing and signing, here:

For digital data –

For peer reviewed scholarly publications –

Please take time to respond, either via the above responses or directly to the OSTP.

Consider the gold rush upon which expanding colonisation of America so successfully relied; why did people care about gold that much? why did they go to such great lengths to traverse the wilds and dig it up, risking or losing their lives in the process? Of course, the answer is because it was highly valued – *and the reason* it was so highly valued was precisely because it is so hard and risky to come by.

Controlling access to a resource is a common way to generate profit; because gold is inherently hard to access, it is a good basis for an economy. Similarly, all sorts of materials that are found to have desirable properties become valuable, usually as a function of their desirability in relation to accessibility.

Digital artefacts, however, are very easy to copy and distribute. In cases where an industry has grown up around the distribution of a product that has become digitally easy to copy and share, efforts have been made to artificially maintain that difficulty via the application of the concept of digital piracy.

If gold were easy to find, easy to copy, easy to distribute – would it help if we made it poisonous?

Encumbering digital artefacts with artificial accessibility restrictions does *not* make them hard to find, copy, or distribute – it just makes them needlessly complicated.

The traditional *increase desirability / decrease accessibility* paradigm does not readily apply to digital artefacts. Fortunately, the problem of profiting from them has been solved, and solved often; they are regularly purchased or consumed via profitable services on the basis of convenience or improved user experience. In such cases, *open* access to a resource facilitates building a useful (or at least desirable or fashionable) service – consider Google, Facebook, Youtube, Spotify.

The case of publicly funded scholarly output is further complicated by the fact that accessibility is *inherent* to desirability – the point is to build on what we learn, and we cannot do that if we cannot access it. Achieving anything with these artefacts – discovering, sharing, learning, communicating, archiving, profiting – is best done in the ideal environment where they are easy to find, copy, distribute – and are not poisonous.

We need *open* access, not *restricted* access.

Reports on Open Science @OKCon 2011

- August 19, 2011 in OKCon, Uncategorized

Two Reports on the Open Science panels:

1. Open Quake- Welcoming OpenQuake and OpenGEM as new members in Open Science group. 

The Open Quake project summarise discussions at the OKCon Open Science Panel and the issues they face in open data: volunteer computing, licensing and user interfaces. Volunteer-based projects in scientific research can be improved by using a platform like BOINC which allows open-source computing solution. As for interfaces, the actual challenge comes down to making open data usable.

2. Citizen Cyberscience

Francois Grey- on the distinction between open science and citizen cyberscience. Playing with the liminal space between professional and amateurish science, openness should primarily enhance the possibilities for praxis. As Grey states, “I’m not interested in openness as an end in itself, but rather as a means to an end”: in this case, widening the circle of experts. Empowering the „have-nots” is not enough, as access must come along with real opportunities of participation. „In short, Open Science is about making sure there are no locks on the doors to science. Citizen cyberscience is about making sure as many people as possible walk through those doors.”

Original post can be found here.

Other Reports from OKCon

Interested in hearing more from Open Knowledge Conference 2011? Below you can find listed reviews, comments on speakers and presentations, but also ideas to be further developed.

·         On his blogNikolay Georgiev (Open Source Ecology) brings together the presentations related to Open Hardware, from principles of freedom to FabLabs and RepRap machines. Follow his slideshare, and consider his argument for having different levels of openness for Hardware.

·         Part of the LOD2 team (who presented this year in Berlin the Open Government Data Stakeholder SurveyMartin Kaltenboeck writes more on Andreas Blumauer’s presentation on open data for enterprises. Here.

·         DataMinerUk presents Nicola Hughes’s stand for open data in journalism. Find out why infographics and other interactive tools are only a superficial effort towards data journalism, reading her extracted points from the speakers Simon Rogers, Stefan Candea, Caelainn Barr, Liliana Bounegru and Mirko Lorenz.

·      Here,   James Harriman-Smith maps OKCon2011 around the Open Shakespeare’s annotation system, asking whether subjective opinion can be processed as (open) data as well, in the ecosystem of openness

·        In this post from http://www.lanetscouade.comSamuel Goëta summarizes top 5 speakers, starting with Richard Stallman’s intriguing talk on fundamental liberties vs. Open Source. (Article in French).

·         For DataOne research, Richard Littauer relates his experience of the OKCon2011, taking the pulse of legal matters. Find out why we will soon need a database of Open Knowledge-relevant lawsuits:

·         An extensive, critical blogpost from Michael Gurstein. Who is the end-user for whom we fight to open-up data?

·           Stefan Merten offers full details on some compelling presentations, and forecasts a soon-to-come big boom for open hardware. On and here.

·          Rolf from Open for Change links OKCon presentations on governmental data with the beta version of the Open for Change Manifesto, as a way to better create autonomy, control and empowerment:

·         For details on backstage meetings at OKCon2011, and on how OKF design its organizational DNA, find out more in Peter Murray-Rust article here (also blogged by Glyn Moody).