Open Source &Citizen Science A. Wiggins WikiSym, 5 October 2011
A Tale of Two Contexts• Free/open source software development • Software production • Often cited as inspiration for a variety of forms of subsequent open collaboration• Citizen science • Scientiﬁc research • Direct engagement in doing science, not just understanding it or making decisions about it
FLOSS• Free software, open source software, OSS, free and open source software, FOSS, libre software, logiciel libre • Linux • Mozilla • Etc, etc, etc...
Citizen Science• Public participation in scientiﬁc research, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research, science shops, civic science, people’s science, action science, community (based) science, living labs • Galaxy Zoo • eBird • RiverWatch
Similarities• Project-based organizing• Distributed voluntary work• Open to almost anyone• No such thing as a “typical project”• Additive work with minimal coordination requirements • Sequential vs. pooled interdependence• Primarily “scratching an itch” but may also be vocational• Process transparency• Virtuality, in terms of geographic & temporal discontinuities
Contrasts• Domain of practice • Software engineering vs. scientiﬁc research• Licenses and ownership • FLOSS known for its copyleft licenses but most citizen science not explicit about ownership or licensing• Expertise requirements • Supposedly not required for either, but this is a lie!• Contributions • Software code, bug reports, feature requests vs. data collection and/or processing tasks• Virtuality, in terms of physicality • Most citizen science requires interacting with the “real world”
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