Research:Committee/Meetings/Meeting 2011-05-19/Log

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DT started the meeting and briefly reviewed the agenda. AH, DM, DT, SW, EM, WSC, YB, and MR were present. Due to technical complications with Skype, the meeting started late and was eventually moved to Skype chat, moderated by DT.

Subject Recruitment (AH)[edit]

AH presented his revised draft for subject recruitment as significantly different than before, with everything that was either related to SRAG or a strict bureaucratic requirement stripped out. YB raised concerns whether WP:VP or wiki-research-l is the ideal place to post a new project. AH clarified that the project should be posted to both wiki-research-l as well as an appropriate community forum.

YB suggested that RCom itself should decide whether a proposal should be rejected or then sent to community discussion, and in this last case the RCom could decide what is the appropriate village pump for the community discussion. In this version, RCom should consider imposing some time limits - for instance, the proposal should be decided on by RCom within a week. Concerns were raised that researchers would not intuitively know which community forum to post to, and that the RCom should play a more active role in handling the process on behalf of the applicants. EM raised concerns about proposals made for projects conducted in different languages, and stressed the importance of researchers directly interacting with the community with RCom playing only a triage/facilitative role. It was agreed that it would be most sensible for RCom to do a first stage screening (all requests channeled to the Research section on meta with an English abstract and a standard formatted request) and then direct the proposals to appropriate forums. For now, RCom would assume the proposed role of SRAG (Subject Recruitment Approvals Group).

AH questioned how the authority of the RCom would be received by the community. The group discussed the importance of community input and involvement while still ensuring the timely processing of research requests, and thus researchers' willing compliance to SR policy. EM argued that the high level of specialization associated with research would partially justify the authority of RCom.

The group discussed creating a maximum initial response period for the approval process while not stifling conversation. The group also discussed the topic of routing new requests either via email or on wiki, seeming to settle on watchlist email notification on-wiki as most reasonable. EM suggested that AH build out some possible scenarios of project proposals to better inform the SR policy creation process. It was agreed that discussion would continue on wiki.

Meta:Research Overhaul (DT)[edit]

DT requested feedback on the Talk page of his proposed overhaul of Meta:research, and for continued conversation on list about his idea for an open data repository. Group members expressed satisfaction with DT's proposed overhaul.

Matching WMF Support and Project Requirements[edit]

The group discussed DM's definition of "significant support". DM argued for the definition of threshold requirements for a project to be subject to RCom OA policy, so as to avoid unreasonable policy enforcement/RCom support for small projects. DT agreed, though suggested levels of support be defined, as outlined in his draft. EM raised the distinction of "endorsed by the RCom" vs "endorsed by WMF". DT noted the official WMF endorsement be added as a support level to his draft.

The group discussed licensing requirements for RCom support, with EM arguing for stronger free licensing requirements (particularly free distribution and modification) for WMF support, as part of the Wikimeda movement's committment to openess. AH objected, partially supported by DT, arguing that such a strict requirement for free licensing and distribution would be unreasonable, result in little request for support, and potentially alienate researchers. EM reemphasized the open access/open data policy as key to the WMF-mandate, and suggested Wikimedia has the responsibility to act as advocates for a shift in policy and prevailing conditions. DT suggested he and DM create a small survey to be conducted on wiki-research-l to gauge the research community's response to an open access/open data policy. The group agreed to continue the discussion on wiki, and solicit more feedback via wiki-research-l.

External Research Initiatives[edit]

DT suggested everyone read the links for ERI to keep up to date on each other's activities.


DT and DI proposed the meetings be held on a regular 6-week basis with the use of Webex and better preparation to avoid technical interruptions, DI agreed to follow up via email. As a result of the technical problems experienced at the onset of the meeting, a dedicated IRC channel was created on Freenode: #wikimedia-rcomconnect