Open Source

Subject: Drupal and the Open Government Initiative Directive: Webinar on Thursday

On Tuesday, the Federal CTO and CIO announced the open government initiative directive. The directive has 4 steps: (1) publish Government Information Online, (2) improve the quality of government information, (3) create and institutionalize a culture of open government, and (4) create an enabling policy framework for open government.

Acquia Webinar: The Open Government Directive and Open Source Social Publishing
Tomorrow I'll be giving a webinar along with the New York State Senate CIO, Andrew Hoppin. I'll be presenting on Social publishing and the Open Government Directive. Andrew will be presenting about his efforts to implement transparency, participation, efficiency, and collaboration at the state level. If you would like to learn more, please register for the webinar at .

To read more visit:

Open-process academic publishing: Some more comments

This is a comment on Open-process academic publishing, which I have read until here.

-Good framing of the discussion, though at places lacking in references
-On "discussions in comments", see here and here.
-If you do not comment in detail on the "different discursive universe", you might as well shorten or delete that phrase.
-Open-process publishing and reviewing advantages, (1)
--A good reference on the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics model is here.
-Open-process publishing and reviewing advantages, (3)
--Plagiarism detection already works quite well now, some tools are listed here.
-Open-process publishing and reviewing advantages, (4)
--On speeding up the publication process, see here (my comment).
-Open-process publishing and reviewing advantages, (5)
--The readership and even reputation of open-process publishers may increase, but "journals" in the sense we know them may well cease to exist (in fact, already now there is but one journal — the scientific literature), since the open-process handling of submissions will naturally focus on the article level (as long as these exist) and later perhaps on individual submissions to the global knowledge system, and be this a single wiki edit (e.g. via tools like WikiTrust). On incremental publishing, see here and here and here.

-Internal benefits for journals, general
--given my reservations on the last point, it may be worth considering to exchange the term "journal" for something else in this section (I used "public research environment"), which will obviously affect other aspects of the phrasing
-Internal benefits for journals, (1)
--on the feedback loop between productivity and recognition, see here.
-Internal benefits for journals, (4)
--Karma system in use at Slashdot may be relevant for this section, see here.

-Modular process: stages and states
--These stages fit well with text-based disciplines, but there may be more components (overview here)

Typos and phrasing
-production work . Still,
-John Wilibanks
-what i think ought to done
-publish and perish devaluing model. Model
-argument even more focused that those in an average 8000 paper are
-on whose work the organization relies on
-in-dept texts
(yes, I would like to subscribe)
-or at to have

Watch this video and then lean back and think how it may change the way you share scientific information

Google plan to release a new tool later this year that allows for interactive sharing of information in a way similar to microblogging services, just more deeply thought through: Google wave. And it (or at least its "lion share", as they put it) is going to be open source, so that software developers can add to or build upon it.

How open can science and research be?

I am wondering how far we can get with "Open X" movements in science and research, and I will combine my musings about this with a recommendation to attend a satellite event at the Euroscience Open Forum 2008 in Barcelona.

First, let's consider how far we have come in terms of opening up the research process:
* Open Access in the narrow sense, i.e. to published or at least peer-accepted research results, is real for a substantial share of research output and rapidly gaining ground (for most recent updates, click here).
* Open Access to the scholarly review process is gaining ground (public or interactive peer review, e.g. here).
* Open Access to empirical data (Open Data) is moving forward, too.
* Open Access to software (Open Source) is driving many aspects of society, including wikis and many research projects.
* Open Access to encyclopedic knowledge is becoming real on the heels of Wikipedia and Citizendium.
* Open Access to lab notebooks is being experimented with at OpenWetWare.

To sum up, there are not too many aspects of research that currently remain entirely in the dark. They basically boil down to grant writing (an attempt is here) as well as the associated review and grant allocation procedures, bookkeeping (which is partly open in much of Scandinavia, within the wider framework of Open Government), the actual research and data analysis, and to writing up the results for publication.

I do not see any technical issues prohibiting complete openness of the whole research cycle, and so I deem it a valid
target to aim at, already at the current stage of technology. However, people more involved with the practical implementation of these things may have more complex views on these matters, and so I am glad to see that such topics found their way into the program of ESOF 2008, in the form of a satellite event entitled Collaborating for the future of open science where experts will discuss them.

You can unify your Wikipedia, Wikibooks and other Wikimedia accounts now

Many contributors to projects of the Wikimedia Foundation ( - most famous perhaps for Wikipedia, but they do all sorts of other things, too) have accounts on several of their projects (e.g. the English, French and Swahili Wikipedia and the French Wikisource), and from this week on, these can now be unified such that only a single login is required for all the projects one wishes to contribute. To do that, go to [[Special:MergeAccount]] on a project for which you are already registered. Help is available in quite a few languages via .

SAGE - Open Source mathematical software: Any experienced users here?

Yesterday, on the train, I met another young scientist, and he introduced me to the mathematical software package SAGE. It is comparable to Mathematica, Maple and MATLAB in terms of performance, ease of use and portability but, in sharp contrast to the former products, freely available on the internet (via SAGE also understands commands known from several other similar packages (including Mathematica and Maple), so migration from there should be very easy.

I had a closer look today and will definitely give it some detailed trials but if any of you already have experience with this tool, please share it here. Thanks!

See also and .

CfP: annual international conference, OOoCon 2008 - Beijing, China, November 5th-7th

The Community invites potential speakers to submit
proposals for papers for the annual international
conference, OOoCon 2008. Whether you are a seasoned presenter, or have
never stood up in public before, if you have something interesting to
share about - we want to hear from you. Please note the
Conference language is English.

OOoCon 2008 - to be held in Beijing, China from 5th-7th November - will
see the biggest concentration of OOo developers ever assembled in one
location on this planet. For this reason, we particularly welcome
proposals from developers with information to share with fellow
developers, from how to get started with simple extensions, through to the
deep, dirty, and downright technical aspects of hacking the

Papers are also welcomed on any topic of interest to the Community: to the
thousands of people who have joined one of our Projects and design,
develop, maintain, translate, test, document, support, promote, or in any
other way help us bring's products and services to the
world. As this is the first OOoCon to be held in Asia, we encourage local
communities to submit papers for a special feature on local success

For further details of how, where, and when to submit a proposal:

For further details of OOoCon 2008:

The conference organisers look forward to hearing from you!

The OOoCon 2008 organising committee.

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.