Open Knowledge

OKCon 2010 as seen via tweets

In the spirit of Another Conference I did not attend, I embed below my summary of tweets on OKCon 2010, as well as the piratepad that pleasantly fulfilled the function of collaborative note taking, for which I had proposed a wiki-based attempt yesterday. While the former is unbeatably interactive (one of the best ways to attend a conference online if no audio/video is available), I think that the latter is more suitable for long-term archiving and structuring the information about the conference and its sessions and talks. Looking forward to another Etherpad-based attempt at OpenSciNY.

Collaborative conference blogging - this time in context

Later today, OKCon 2010 will take place — the fifth (or fourth, depending on whether WSFII 2005 counts or not) installment of the Open Knowledge Conference, organized on an annual basis by the Open Knowledge Foundation.

I have contributed to a paper (with @Tom Morris, who will present it) that is scheduled for the Community-Driven Research session and describes Citizendium as a platform for the collaborative structuring of knowledge by experts and the public. I cannot attend in person but will do so online via Twitter and Friendfeed, and this blend of wiki and microblogging on the same topic stimulated me to give collaborative blogging another try, this time via the wiki entry on the conference, embedded below. Caveat: only registered users can edit, but everyone can register, and approval rarely takes more than a few hours. If this is too late for you to keep your OKCon 2010 notes there, then the wiki can still serve to structure them later and to contextualize them. Or it can simply link to your blog posts, images and other materials on the matter.

I am also aware that, as long as wikis do not allow parallel editing in the same sections of a document, Etherpad clones would be an alternative, and they may indeed get their try in a few weeks too.

Anyway, here we go for the wiki variant:

Notes from another conference I did not attend: CPOV 2010

I couldn't attend CPOV 2010 in person but followed it via Twitter and took a number of screenshots, which I combined into this animation (3:10 min in total, at 0.5 frames per second). I also attached it as an animated gif at 1 frame per second but this may be just illustrative of information overflow.

More dialogue on strategic funding of Open Science

The following are the slightly redacted notes taken during a phone conversation this morning between Janet Haven and me on ways in which the Open Society Institute's Information Initiative could support Open Science.

Background to this conversation:
http://www.soros.org/initiatives/information and
http://ways.org/en/node/17356 - thanks for all the comments received so far!

JH (per email):
We'd like to ask you to think about two to three emerging opportunities for--or threats to--open society institutions and values that you are aware of which are not receiving sufficient attention and where a funder like OSI could usefully intervene. We encourage you to suggest issues that are still very much on the horizon; there need not be an obvious solution to the points you raise.

DM (in blog post mentioned above):
- support open collaborative environments for research funding, research, and knowledge structuring (see post and discussion at http://ff.im/gpry3 )
- support science prizes/ competitions for research done in the open (see http://ff.im/gpry3 ), or specific scientists/ labs working in the open (possibly part-time on "open", part-time on "science")
- promote diversification of the measures used to assess the impact of a researcher - http://ff.im/ghGML and http://ff.im/gvfKg
- support a test of the efficiency of non-public peer review - http://ff.im/gvfKg and

Three avenues to support open approaches to science - the cases of funding, data acquisition and knowledge curation

Today, I received an email from the Open Society Institute's Information Initiative:

We'd like to ask you to think about two to three emerging opportunities for--or threats to--open society institutions and values that you are aware of which are not receiving sufficient attention and where a funder like OSI could usefully intervene. We encourage you to suggest issues that are still very much on the horizon; there need not be an obvious solution to the points you raise.

I know that the OSI had and has many interesting projects running (also in regions and cultures normally off the radar, including some of those dear to me) but I have often (not just jokingly) taken its abbreviation to stand for "Open Science Institute", and so I take the liberty here to shrink the space of possible replies by concentrating on openness in science, anyway the most prominent topic in my blog.

My intuitive response would be that several inefficiencies in our current knowledge creation and curation systems cry for a test run of open approaches. Not sure whether I can distill this down to three issues, but let's get started by listing some of the ideas, and I hope that you can then help me structure and adapt them appropriately. To facilitate the discussion, I will resort to Cameron's depiction of the research cycle:

Join via live stream today: The Science Commons Symposium – Pacific Northwest

Join via live stream today: The Science Commons Symposium – Pacific Northwest

It starts at 9:30 PST and features talks by the following speakers (schedule here):

Stephen Friend - Founder and President of Sage, a non-profit research organization that’s revolutionizing how researchers approach the treatment of disease

Peter Binfield – Publisher of PLoS ONE, an innovative online scientific journal and influencial leader of the open access movement

Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge

This is a document that goes way beyond the draft version of the WSF 2009 Communiqué, and for the better. I paste it in full below (source: http://fcforum.net/ ; extended version at http://fcforum.net/charter_extended ).

Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge

Stimulating video documentary on Wikipedia, knowledge sharing, truth and the role of experts

The role of expert knowledge is central to a video documentary on Wikipedia's way of knowledge sharing. It features the opinions of the co-founders of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, as well as of some other major Web 2.0 players and critics, including the authors Tim O’Reilly and Andrew Keen as well as Charles Leadbeater (a former advisor to Tony Blair), Bob McHenry (former editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica) and Ndesanjo Macha, one of the first to blog in an African language and one of the major contributors to the Swahili Wikipedia (which, by the way, is about to reach the 7,000 article milestone within the next few days).

The views of these people, particularly on truth and its representation in encyclopedias, contrast quite significantly but their aggregation provides food for thought on how the future of knowledge sharing might look like. The explicitly scientific perspective was mainly missing but between the lines, it became clear that large interactively collaborative (ubuntu) projects like this might also play an increasingly important role in academic research and tertiary education.

One possible direction is a continuation and expansion of Wikipedia until saturation, other options include branching and the development of more academically inclined variants like Scholarpedia, the Encyclopedias of Earth and Cosmos as well as Citizendium (not mentioned in the documentary but in a previous post here), and there are certainly many other possible developments.