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[Interview] Gerd Moe-Behrens–Leukippos: Synthetic Biology Lab in the Cloud

HackYourPhD had the chance to interview Gerd Moe-Behrens about his project, the Leukippos Institute. He also shared his vision about the future challenges and perspectives for Open Science. Who are you? I have a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway. During a brief Post Doc at the Max Planck Institute for…
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[Workshop Summary] PhD, Thesis : towards OpenScience practices ? Philoweb.org as an exemple on december 13rd at La Fonderie ( Paris)

The December 13th, HYPhD organized a meeting with Alexandre Monnin at La Fonderie, Agence Numérique d’Ile de France (digital agency from Ile de France). Alexandre Monnin, who has recently finished his PhD, introduced us to Philoweb.org. He plans to publish a HTML version of every chapter of his dissertation in this website, which provides an…
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[Event] The Open & Neuroscience Green soirée : SFN unauthorized satellite event : monday, Nov, 11.

If you are a student or a researcher in neuroscience, SFN seems familiar to you. For curiousminds, SFN is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. Each year, an annual meeting is organized. This year, it will be in San Diego from nov 8th to 13rd….
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HackYourPhD US. The Open Knowledge Conference and afterwards?

Thursday 12th September, back to Parisian drabness. Setting foot in our lovely capital is, how shall I put it… Some sort of challenge. The atmosphere seemed filled with rage… and raindrops. We squeezed in a few appointments and then off we went on a one-week trip. The destination is less far than the last time:…
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[Event] OpenScience Wikisprint at the Open Knowledge Conference Thursday, September 19th, 2013

The Open Knowledge Conference # OKCon  is taking place right now in Geneva (September 16 to 19th 2013). The Open Knowlege Foundation organizes this event to bring together actors of “Open”. Open Data is the main topic, but Open Science also has a good place. Different sessions are devoted to  Open Science / Research. The main auditorium was dedicated to the Open Science the whole Tuesday afternoon. (Here is a summary of the livetweet).

Thursday, September 19th , 2013 will also be a very special day! A workshop (or wikisprint) dedicated to improving Wikipedia articles and P2Pfoundation on Open Science is organized from 10 am to 17pm at the “Centre Universitaire d’Informatique” of Geneva university. Indeed, the Open and Citizen Science HackDay will host different workshops. Proposals were submitted to the organizers and then there was a vote for projects where we wanted to get involved. The wikisprint ranks first in number of votes (10).

What is a wikisprint?

The Wikisprintt is a formula already experienced by the P2P Foundation. As its name suggests, the Wikisprint seeks maximum contributions in a relatively short time (usually one day) on one or more wiki.

The idea of ​​a wikisprint on OpenScience had emerged more than five months ago during a first meeting with Michel Bauwens, founder of the P2P Foundation. At that time, he had just returned from the Spanish Spanish P2P Wikisprint held on March 20th 2013. This project was a great success. 211 articles had been created!

Today with the help of the P2P Foundation and motivated Wikipedians, the # OpenScienceWiki is taking shape!

Here are the ads on the page dedicated to the P2Pfoundation and Wikipedia (French and English)

 

Wikisprint

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[21th to 28th of August 2013] New York : deep dive into Open Science communities

3 hours drive from Boston and here i am, in New York. Let’s go for 7 busy days of appointments and meetings scheduled all over that big cosmopolitan city. The Big Apple has showed me another aspect of Open Science. Here, Open Science seems to be standing at the junction of different citizen, artistic and technological movements. Whether or not they are linked to the notion of “citizen science” or “participative science”, the important part is that they facilitate interactions and opening of science to other aspects of society.

Mozilla Science Lab : When Open Science Communities and Open Web encounter…    

First appointment of the week. I have the great opportunity to meet one of the most lovely and busy woman in the whole field of Open Science : Kaitlin Thaney. This young woman has been working, among other things, for Science Project from Creative Commons. And she is now at the head of Mozilla Science Lab. This project allows Kaitlin and her team to make Open Science and Open Web, whose Mozilla Foundation is a major actor, encounter and interact.

Mozilla Science Lab incarnates values from the OpenScience community and, in essence, OpenWeb values too : openness, open source ethics, and importance of cooperation. By engaging in projects on open technologies, the Mozilla Science Lab wishes to help coordinate and federate tools and initiatives developed by Open Science community. Kaitlin, in one of her article, from which i’ve borrowed some parts of this text, explains clearly the validity of this mission. The lack of coordination and communication with other interesting initiatives often brings to the concomitant creation of similar and sometimes redundant projects. It is then necessary to favor new collaborations and a wider interoperability. For instance, this can allow the adaptation of already existing tools used in the field of science to other different fields without having to start back from scratch.

Sharing the keys to understand such tools represents a major goal at Mozilla Science Lab. Moreover, science becomes more and more oriented towards computation, research depends more and more on the analysis of massive amounts of data, while scientists are expected to have all the skills and tools to understand and use the kind of data that they produce and analyze. Preparing science and scientists to this demanding environment requires a continuous training to learn the use of appropriate tools and tecchnologies. Kaitlin Thaney, through this project, helps research in general to adapt to technological challenges of the present-day era. And, to a larger extent, she places Open Science as a cornerstone of this new way of practicing research.

” It was clear that there is a pressing need for coordination, interoperability, and better communication in this space, whether you’re building digital infrastructure for high performance computing, building open source tools for visualisation, or looking for new (open) means of doing your research in the lab.”

Kaitlin Thaney : Our plan for the Science Lab : version 1.0 

Interaction between Sciences and Society : some inspiring projects

Following this first and quite fascinating meeting, Mozilla has crossed my way again several times in New York. Despite the fact that Mozilla’s “headquarters” are based in San Francisco, its new yoker community seems very active. That’s how i found the  OpenArt project sponsored by Mozilla during my visit at the EyeBeam technological and artistic center. This space offers residency and fundings to several artists that offer a mixture of art and technology in their work. Eyebeam describes itself as a sort of “creativity incubator”, as an “encounter accelerator” but also as a place of experimentation and research, labeled as “Open”. The Open Art project, launched by Eyebeam and Mozilla, stands at the intersection between art and OpenWeb. Two fields that seem to sparkle when they interact !

 

eyebeam

Public Lab : when DIY helps tackling environmental issues

People sharing and gathering around a common interest or project has occured to me as one of the major particularity of New York City. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which started here almost 2 years ago, may be for something in it. In this context, i encountered one of the co-founder of Public Lab : Liz Barry. With the help of 6 other co-founders, Liz decided after the New Orleans oil spill of may 2010 to federate a community around several environment topics. Indeed, Public Lab specializes in building prototypes of DIY tools and kits allowing citizens to collect interesting and relevant data about their environment.

This hub also allows to share and analyze data in a collaborative way. The way Public Lab is organized seems to have a good hang of it : they have a mailing list accessible for questions, a wikinode to start building projects, a wiki page to describe in details each and every prototypes… Everything is open hardware and open source. The goal in this project for Liz Barry is to make means and tools available to every citizen wiling to push their expertise and sharp knowledge of their environment forward. Then, what makes the strength of such a movement is the pooling of respective skills and the commitment of everyone for a common interest.

Project Noah : regain appeal and curiosity for sciences

Other encounters during this week have shown me the design of communities linked with science, whether it is for research or for communication purpose. It is, for example, the case of Project Noah. This hub allows to all curious ones to share pictures of animals or plants, taken from their place. The network is international and the website presents an incredible diversity of the fauna and flora of our planet.

Amateur zoologists as well as more confirmed ones have fun on the website, trying to define and classify exactly each species on pictures. Yasser Ansari has created this project a couple of years ago. According to him, we were all born with a researcher soul ; curiosity and thirst for learning being innate features in many children. His goal with Project Noah is to rehabilitate a taste of science into society and create a strong commitment of citizen to sciences. You’re welcome to go and listen to his interview that is definitely refreshing !

Genspace : Biohacking in New York

To discover other projects linking science and society, here is an interview of Oliver Medvedik from GenSpace, one of the first biohacker space (december 2010).

And to learn more about what is going on in France in the biohacking community, here is the talk of Thomas Landrain, co-founder of La Paillasse.

Wikipedia : a major lever for OpenScience

Take note of Lane Rasberry about Wikipédia. He considers this well-known framework as a wonderful mean of communication for health and medical topics.

On this matter, a wikiprint, that is a special one-day long event to improve and grow Wikipedia’s content, will occur shortly. This project has been proposed in the context of the OKcon (Open Knowledge Conference) on Thursday september 19th.

Citizen Science : Wealth and diversity of initiatives

What is the proper expression to define these initiatives ? “Science for citizen” ? “Collaborative Science” ? Or what about a fancy “Citizen Science” ? It is difficult to categorize this kind of projects. Shapes and formats vary. As well as the degree of involvement and interaction with the realm of research. Open and innovative spaces are also quite difficult to label for the same reasons : “hackerspaces”, “makerspaces”, … I already mentionned this issue in the previous post called Open Science in San Francisco week.

This characteristics may be explained by the essence of the projects themselves. Fondamentally, they are based on the commitment of different people and provides an individual and specific identity to every project. The common ground in this myriad of initiatives is the notion of mission and the affirmation of common values. Then, collaborative work and interactions between actors, from different backgrounds and skills, give birth to these projects and shape their respective outcome.

Thanks to these initiatives, the boundaries between science and society become then more porous. Although, it is not to say that every citizen is a researcher, or has to be one ! The goal is to create dialogue and understanding. In this context, researchers need to accept the expertise of non-scientists on certain topics. Then it is ours to have enough curiosity to take part in such initiatives (there is something to suit all tastes !) and to lift the veil that separates research from the rest of society.

 

Thanks to François Asperti-Boursin for the translation from french into English and Guillaume Dumas and Matthieu Lechanjour for proofreading.

 

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[9th to 20th of August] Open Science in Montréal and Boston : A world of bubbles

After California and Oregon, Montreal and Boston were my first steps on the East coast. I didn’t stay long in Montreal but it was worth it and I left enriched with many interesting comments about the Open Science Movement. Once settled in Boston, I mostly explored Cambridge, a neighboring city hosting Harvard university and the MIT. I went there twice and got the impression that people live in very different bubbles. Some of them, though highly innovative were quite far from Open Science perspectives. Others give rise to refreshing initiatives both regarding form and content.

Montréal : Getting out of comfort zone 

HackYourPhD in the US made a short detour through Québec. 4 days in Montréal, 2 presentations and many questions.

Open Access with Jean-Claude Guédon

Freshly out of the plane, I was spending my first afternoon discussing about Open Access with Jean-Claude Guédon, an historian of Sciences at the University of Montréal. He believes evaluation and communication of science should be a continuous flow and not restrict itself to scientific publishing.  During my interview he insisted a lot on the hope that open access platforms brings to developping countries, citing ScieELO (Brazil) and Redalyc (Mexico) as examples.

HEC Montréal :

My stay in Montreal was short but rich. For the first time since the launch of HYPhD, Guillaume Dumas and I had the opportunity to attend meetings and presentations together. Two different but complementary profiles and perspectives to answer questions of people rather skeptical about the Open Science Movement.

At HEC Montréal, we faced students and researchers in business and/or economy oriented. This audience was very different from the usual one consisting mostly in researchers aware of today’s issues in Science and/or advocates of the principles of Open Science. Here, this was a discovery and each term had to be clearly defined. Some researchers did not understand what the notion of Open Science was meaning. Interesting questions were raised, among which about the definition and nature of Science, Research and the Open Science Movement and its sustainability. “Are the commons and Open Science movements just another trend that will soon vanish?”

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[1st to 8th of August 2013] Open Science in Seattle : Big Data, Complex Systems and Open Data

After California, the last step on the West Coast led me to Seattle. During this week, I was fortunate to have an outstanding guide Brian Glanz, co-founder of the Open Science Federation. In Seattle, I was able to explore a facet of the Open Science different from San Francisco. In fact, the directions taken by big software and services companies, such as Microsoft or Amazon, strongly oriented themes treated in Open Science. Open Data, administration and management of Big Data in Life Sciences, were the recurring themes of the various meetings and interviews.

If San Francisco has been an immersion in the world of startups and hackerspaces, Seattle instead was diving in the world of innovative academic. I had 9 meetings, 13 interviews and one event. The week was busy with Brian Glanz, who planned the entire program and took the time to accompany me to every meeting. Brian Glanz is one of the busiest people I know in the community of Open Science. He is the co-founder of the Open Science Federation (@openscience on Twitter), organizer of ScienceOnline à Seattle, founder of the chapter OKFNUS. He is also very active in civic activities (open government, open food…) and wants to see research more involved in each of his actions.

The University of Washington: a wealth of actors and projects for the Open Science

 First day in Seattle, I discovered the School of aquatic and fishering sciences  which is part of the College For Environment. This is a classic laboratory in appearance, but with innovative research practices. We meet Steven Roberts, who manages one of the research laboratories. Behind his computer, he begins to explain to us how he manages his research notebook: he shares all his data and the progress of his work on Ipy. Student involvement contributes for many to the dynamic image of the laboratory: they communicate on the progress of their work on social media but also on a Wiki. Steven Roberts is an « openscientist » in the soul; for him it’s quite normal to implement these practices, and try, and test these new tools like Github ( a collaborative platform for writing code, increasingly used in research).

A few yards away, we have an appointment at the Research Commons space, tables and walls in whiteboard, open 7/7… Everything is done to facilitate the emergence of new ideas. The administrators of the center are also interested in the training of researchers in data management. How to organize and label them? How to standardize them? They recently organized a workshop on the reproducibility of data in research. The University of Washington evolves in data culture. This can be explained by the particular structure of companies and research institutes in Seattle area. This old library has been completely restored to foster creativity and collaboration between researchers and students.

 

Steven Robert

Steven Robert : Open Scientist en action..

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Genesis of HackYourPhD : TEDxParisUniversités

For those who want to know more about the genesis of HackYourPhD, here is the TEDx I gave on June 6th at la Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (Paris, France)

I explain how a simple post on Facebook gives the first glimmer of the project. I also come back to a big source of inspiration: OuiShare, an international movement about collaborative economy, which was also born in France. I quoted Joel de Rosnay. His book Surfer la vie : Sur-Vivre dans une société fluide (Surfing Life: How sur-vive in a fluid society) helped me to understand our world and its evolution. All this has motivated me to develop these ideas and trends in research with Open Science.

What does the word hacking mean ?

In the TEDx, I especially explain what I mean by Hacking his PhD. Indeed, people are sometimes skeptical of the term “hacking”. For me, it doesn’t mean to become a pirate or a terrorist in research. It means that we should find pragmatic solutions to existing problems. Sometimes, seeking other parallel paths can help to reach his goal. My inspiration comes from the documentary une contre histoire des internets (the anti-history of the internets). Jérémie ZImmerman and Jeff Jarvis. gave good explanations of what hacking means.

jeffjarvisen

 

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