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Open Source & Citizen Science

Presentation from Apples and Oranges panel at WikiSym 2011, focused on comparing citizen science and open source as models of open collaboration.

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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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Open Source & Citizen Science

  • 1. Open Source & Citizen Science A. Wiggins WikiSym, 5 October 2011
  • 2. 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
  • 3. FLOSS • Free software, open source software, OSS, free and open source software, FOSS, libre software, logiciel libre • Linux • Mozilla • Etc, etc, etc...
  • 4. 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
  • 5. 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
  • 6. 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”

Editor's Notes

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