What does it mean, in science, to be open?
I don’t know.
I wrote a while back, that while I endorse the principles of ‘openness‘, I struggle with the issue of ‘how‘. Since then I have been trying to listen and learn. [Or, better said, shut up and listen.] I started trying to see what hurdles I encountered trying to work exclusively on Open Source Software. I joined the Learning4Content course at WikiEducator. I started looking into platforms that would fit my needs as an open lab notebook. I tried to follow the Open Science Summit. I listened hard at sessions at SciFoo Camp. I went to some New Zealand open data discussions. I became an Academic Editor at PLoS ONE. I joined the panel of the Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand.
And after several months of ‘listening’ the one thing that keeps popping in my head is:
kubke, you ain’t gonna figure it out by yourself.
The loudest message that I heard is, perhaps, that there is not a single, simple, one-size-fits-all answer, and that it just may come down to fumbling through until we figure it out.
So, I decided to fumble.
I am taking in Summer students this summer to work on a project that I will try to make as ‘open’ as possible.
I am leaning towards a few things:
- I am pretty sure I want to give Mahara a go as a platform for the day-to-day ‘lab’ stuff.
- I am pretty sure I want to regularly put as much as I can into my space in OpenWetWare.
- I am pretty sure I want to try to shift my imaging to Open Source Software (e.g., Osirix, ImageJ, Cell Profiler)
- am pretty sure I want to put the work out there as it is being gathered.
What I am not so sure about is how this will work. It will be a steep learning curve, but one thing that I am hoping is that by giving it a go I may begin to get the answers.
And hopefully some of the smart people out there might give me a hand and help me steer the boat in the right direction.
A little while ago I started an experiment: can I operate my academic and personal lives by using only open source software?
I often hear the argument that while open source software is ok to fit some needs, it falls short of what it can deliver when it comes to some demands of the academic job. I have always agreed with this position until I asked myself: Based on what do I say that it is so?
So I became my own guinea pig. I installed ubuntu on my netbook (well, the royal I, it was really Tom Parkers from the olpc volunteer community who did that for me), and started adding software that I need for work. I will start sharing my experiences over time on this blog, but I will also bring my computer to Software Freedom Day on Saturday in Auckland to show what I am doing.
What is Software Freedom Day?
‘The principles behind FOSS are underpinned by the users’ freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. You can read more about the four freedoms on the GNU website.’
The events kicked off yesterday in Warrington and there are more events today Friday, S
Friday 17th September, 2010
Saturday 18th September 2010
From 10 am to 4 pm we will be at Orion Cafe in Mt Eden in Auckland showing the one laptop per child computers, 3D printers, android phones and a lot more, including some presentations. And we have Sugar on a Stick to give away, but bring an empty 1G or 2G usb stick in case we run out of them.
Or if you are in Hamilton just drop by the Centre Place Mall.
Sunday 19th September 2010
Wellingtonians will have lots of fun stuff from 10 to 5 p at the Victoria University Pipitea Campus. The event is also free but you need to Register! (if your kids are coming, make sure you register them separately!) And they even have some Live music!
If you live near Tauranga, from 11 am to 3 pm activities will be happening at St Mary’s School.
And Christchurch will be sharing the FOSS love at the South Library ICT Learning Centre in Beckenham
Visit the sites, and get all the details of what each place is offering. There is plenty to feed the geek inside us!