Grants:TPS/Daniel Mietchen/Open Science, Open Issues/Report

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During the Wikiversity workshop

Event name[edit]

Open Science, Open Issues — International seminar, workshops and Open Science work group meeting

Participant connections[edit]

  • Our workshops on Tuesday were both full at about 20 participants each (cf. show of hands for the first and the second). For the first one, most of the participants also provided some more details here.
  • The talk on Thursday was attended by about 60 people.


  • In the Wikiversity workshop, User:Solstag provided participants with a guided tour through the Portuguese Wikiversity and its use in Brazil as well as in Open Science contexts. They made some edits each to the workshop page, and then we switched to a collaborative writing exercise on Testing the efficiency of open science. We had considered using TogetherJS but found it not ready for such use yet, so we went for a Google Doc that was then the place of intense interaction of those 20 brains in the room over a 2h period, resulting in a still rough but bilingual outline of a research proposal that will continue to be worked on during follow-up sessions.
  • In the Wikimedia workshop directly thereafter (workshop page), I gave a brief introduction to Open Science, followed by a more detailed one of Wikimedia.
    • I encouraged participants to pose questions and comments when they crossed their minds, and this turned out to be working quite well, so that further explorations of that page were largely driven by these discussions, and at the end of this 4h session, we had covered almost everything (including most links) on that page, except for the "How things could be" section, which I spared for my talk on Thursday.
    • The participants were most intrigued by the visualizations, tools and the ecosystem of bots, especially the Open Access Media Importer Bot and SuggestBot.
    • Very few had known of Wikimedia projects other than Wikipedia, of WikiProjects, precise definitions of openness, or key policies.
    • Wikidata was also new to most participants, but the idea of curating factual information in one place rather than separately for each page or language immediately appealed to them, and numerous questions arose as to how this might be extended into research contexts.
    • The range of Wikimedia-related events was met with interest, but GLAM activities received less attention than in comparable workshops I had given before.
    • Last but not least, I mentioned that Wikimedia also has some grant schemes that are run in the open, including for participating in events like this, which was received with positive surprise.
  • On Wednesday morning - prior to the start of the conference part - all workshop organizers participated in a workshop focused on the Open science for development program, an open science funding scheme exclusively for researchers from the developing world (list of eligible countries). The workshop aimed at stimulating Brazilian researchers to submit proposals for Open science projects within this framework. In the discussion, Wikimedia platforms (especially Wikimedia Commons and Wikiversity) came up repeatedly as potentially very valuable components of such open science workflows.
  • On Thursday, as part of the conference, I gave a talk in the session on innovations in scholarly publishing. In contrast to an earlier comment about me contributing to such a session, I think this talk was actually very much aligned with the WMF mission. I had several slides this time and put them all into one tweet:
    • Wikiquote on "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - that quote had been used in the preceding talk, with unclear attribution. I explained that Wikiquote has more detail and that the mission of Wikiquote - collecting evidence about what people have actually said or written - would be much easier if Open Notebook Science (the topic of one of the following sessions) would have been more widespread.
    • View stats for a file page on Commons - this video summarizes a complex research paper in a simple manner that everyone can understand (especially in conjunction with its sister video): under certain conditions, a water droplet can be cut with a knife. However, the videos had not been published with the research paper, so I asked the authors whether they could provide them for upload to Commons, to which they agreed. Within days, the file page on Commons had seen tens of thousands of visits.
    • Listen to Wikipedia, as a demonstration for how complex data - of the kind that researchers produce - can be made apprehensible.
    • Open Access Media Importer Bot, as a demonstrator for connecting the scholarly with the Wikimedia world and as a basis for importing images into Commons and full texts into Wikisource, while making all of this available via Wikipedia Zero.
    • The Topmost Cited DOIs on Wikipedia, from where I came via the Signpost Op-ed to the file page on Commons (highlighting "File usage") to the page for the Wikimedia workshop and the "How things could be" section I had skipped on Tuesday. It addressed the core topic of the session almost exclusively with Wikimedia examples and touched upon issues in scholarly publishing that are important for the reuse of scholarly materials on Wikimedia projects (e.g. the lacking standard compliance of publisher XML, the habit of producing composite or static figures and of not being able to publish SVG or intact EXIF data with photos).
  • I am involved in getting a German-speaking Open Science community started, and being able to exchange with the Brazilian Open Science community was very useful in this regard, since a good part of the problems that the two communities are facing are actually rather similar, but sometimes different from those on a global scale or in English-speaking contexts.
  • Because several of the talks at the conference were given in Portuguese and I did not make use of the simultaneous translations, my knowledge of this language - so far confined to passive understanding of texts - has expanded a good bit into understanding it when spoken.
  • On Friday, Robson Souza, one panelist of the open scientific data session, mentioned a database of media from maritime explorations recorded by researchers at University of São Paulo, who were short on funds to keep running it. There's a possibility of following up with him to contact them and suggest openly licensing the images and storing them in Wikimedia Commons.
  • Attending the meeting was group of traveling hackers who are building a rural hackerspace to help family farmers incorporate science and technology into their production. They were starting a self-hosted wiki with no propoer license to document their work and publish their educational materials. After the meeting they chose to move to Wikiversity and are also in the process of moving their older material, mostly instructional documentation, towards free licensing on wikimedia commons.


  • Flight Berlin ==> Rio ==> Berlin: EUR 1026.32
  • Train Jena ==> Berlin ==> Jena: EUR 60.50
  • Hotel: EUR 469.69
  • Total: EUR 1556.51

Amount left over[edit]


Anything else[edit]

  • Tweeting and blogging do not seem to be popular in Brazil, but one participant has created a very detailed Storify of the conference. A subset of Wikimedia-relevant tweets is archived here.