Stevan Harnad - Digital Research: How and Why the RCUK Open Access Policy Needs to Be Revised (Tues 11th September)
The Web is destined to become humankind's Cognitive Commons, where digital knowledge is jointly created and freely shared. The UK has been a leader in the global movement toward Open Access (OA) to research but very recently its leadership has been derailed by the joint influence of the publishing industry lobby from without and well-intentioned but premature and counterproductive over-reaching from within the OA movement itself. The result has been the extremely counter-productive Finch Committee Report followed by a new draft of the RCUK OA policy, downgrading the role of cost-free OA self-archiving of research publications ("Green OA") in favour of paying subscription publishers extra money, over and above subscriptions, out of scarce research funds, in exchange for making single articles OA ("hybrid Gold OA"). The motivation is to reform publication and to gain certain re-use rights, but the likely effect will be researcher resistance, very little OA, a waste of scarce research funds and the loss of the UK's global leadership in the OA movement. There is still time to fix the RCUK policy. I will try to describe how and why.
Stevan Harnad is Professor in the Department of Psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal, holding the Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Sciences and is also Affiliate Professor in Electronics and Computer Science at University of Southampton, UK... full bio.
Jim Hendler - Broad Data (Tuesday 11th September)
"Big Data" is becoming an over-used phrase buzzword,used to refer to the very large datasets generated by scientists, to the many petabytes of data held by companies like Facebook and Google, and to analyzing real-time data assets like the stream of twitter messages emerging from events around the world. Key areas of interest include technologies to manage much larger datasets (cf. NoSQL), technologies for the visualization and analysis of databases, cloud-based data management and datamining algorithms.
|Listen to Jim Hendler's keynote on Soundcloud|
Recently, however, we have begun to see the emergence of another, and equally compelling data challenge -- that of the "Broad data" that emerges from millions and millions of raw datasets available on the World Wide Web. For broad data the new challenges that emerge include Web-scale data search and discovery, rapid and potentially ad hoc integration of datasets, visualization and analysis of only-partially modeled datasets, and issues relating to the policies for data use, reuse and combination. In this talk, we present the broad data challenge and discuss potential starting points for solutions. We illustrate these approaches using data from a "meta-catalog" of over 1,000,000 open datasets that have been collected from about two hundred governments from around the world.
James Hendler is the Tetherless World Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and the Head of the Computer Science Department at Rensselaer. He is also a faculty affiliate of the Experimental Multimedia Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), serves as a Director of the UK’s charitable Web Science Trust and is a visiting Professor at DeMontfort University in Leicester, UK. Hendler is the first computer scientist to serve on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science. In 2010, Hendler was named one of the 20 most innovative professors in America by Playboy magazine and was selected as an “Internet Web Expert” by the US government... full bio.
Noshir Contractor - Can big data motivate new theories and methods? (Monday 10th September)
The increased access to big data about social phenomena has been a windfall for social science researchers. Digital trace data is the equivalent of the Large Hadron Collider for computational social scientists. But these exciting opportunities must be accompanied with careful reflection on how big data might motivate new theories and methods. This presentation attempts to outline some of the ways in which we might choose to unleash the intellectual insights locked in big data. For instance, big data provide an opportunity to test for the first time existing theories at scale. They also invite discussion about the planned obsolescence for extant theories. In other cases they offer the opportunity to redraw boundary conditions for the explanatory power of theories. In addition they can help us develop new theories that focus attention on increasingly prevalent phenomena such as collective intelligence. Finally, since big data can also be “broad" data, it can help us develop theories that invite consideration of new combinations of variables that can be mashed together from disparate sources. The presentation concludes with reflections on how big data can also motivate the development of new methods for data collection, data annotation and data analysis.
Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USA. He is the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University... full bio.
Nigel Shadbolt - Open Data: Promise and Perils (Monday 10th September)
This talk will review the emergence of Open Data and the various benefits that arise. It will examine the key features that are required if Open Data is to fulfil the expectations that now exist. A number of opportunities and challenges arising from Open Data are discussed along with the emerging data ecosystem within which Open Data is Located. Finally, the aims and objectives of the recently commissioned Open Data Institute will be described and related to some of the issues raised in the talk.
Nigel Shadbolt was appointed in June 2009, together with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, as Information Advisor to the UK Government. The two led a team to develop data.gov.uk a single point of access for UK non-personal Governmental public data. He was appointed by the UK Coalition Government to the Public Sector Transparency Board in May 2010, responsible for setting open data standards across the public sector and developing the legal Right to Data. He is a Professor of Artifical Intelligence at University of Southampton, a founder of the Web Science Trust and the Chairman and Co-Director of the Open Data Institute ... full bio
Stefan Staab - Mining of Geolocated Social Media (Monday 10th September)
Time and space are core concepts in social media content for purposes such as indexing photos or for relating opinions to space and time. Existing methods, however, make oversimplifying assumptions about the spread of topics. With our new neighborhood-topology-based approach, we allow for deriving correlations between topics and rather arbitrary spatial regions. We verify our approach by rediscovering known spatial boundaries and for finding interesting new relationships between topics and space.
Stefan Staab is Director of Institute WeST - Web Science and Technologies & Institute for Computer Science Faculty of Computer Science of the University of Koblenz-Landau... full bio.
Kieron O'Hara - Data, Trust and Governance (Monday 10th September)
The potential of digital research is vast, as the data, tools and infrastructure are rapidly being assembled by a vibrant and innovative development community. However, realising that potential depends not only on the technology and data, but also on the maintenance of trust - between data providers and data processors, between data subjects and data controllers, and between service users and service providers. That will require mature information governance that is adaptable and meaningful to the multiple stakeholders involved. This talk will sketch an outline of what is required.
Kieron O'Hara is a research fellow at the Centre for Policy Studies, the Web Science Trust and at University of Southampton... full bio.
Neil Chue Hong - Laying the software foundations for Digital Research
|Neil Chue Hong is the Director of the Software Sustainability Institute. He is responsible for representing the Institute and the interests of UK researchers at a national and international level. Within the organisation, he oversees operations, leads policy development, develops and manages collaborations, and acts as the principal liaison with stakeholders.
From 2007-2010, Neil was Director of OMII-UK, which provided and supported free, open-source software to the UK e-Research community. During this period, he was also Technical Manager of the JISC-funded NeISS social simulation project and the Project Manager of the JISC-funded ENGAGE initiative. Neil has worked with researchers from across the UK and internationally to address barriers to the use of e-Infrastructure in research domains such as biosciences, chemistry, digital humanities, Earth systems modelling, medicine and the social sciences.
Neil has extensive experience of running large scale project and EU projects... full bio,
Peter Coveney - Update on UK e-Infrastructure (Wed 12th September)
Peter Coveney holds a Chair in Physical Chemistry and is Director of the Centre for Computational Science (CCS), an Honorary Professor in Computer Science and a member of CoMPLEX at UCL. He is also Professor Adjunct within the Medical School at Yale University, and Director of the UCL Computational Life & Medical Sciences Network... full bio.
Peter Murray-Rust - Long Tail Science (Tuesday 11th September)
Peter's research interests have involved the automated analysis of data in scientific publications, creation of virtual communities e.g. The Virtual School of Natural Sciences in the Globewide Network Academy and the Semantic Web. With Henry Rzepa he has extended this to chemistry through the development of Markup languages, especially Chemical Markup Language. He campaigns for Open Data, particularly in science, and is on the advisory board of the Open Knowledge Foundation and a co-author of the Panton Principles for Open scientific data.
Together with a few other chemists he was a founder member of the Blue Obelisk movement in 2005. In 2002 Murray-Rust and his colleagues proposed an electronic repository for unpublished chemical data called the World Wide Molecular Matrix (WWMM). In January 2011 a symposium around his career and visions was organized, called Visions of a Semantic Molecular Future. In 2011 he and Henry Rzepa were joint recipients of the Herman Skolnik Award of the American Chemical Society... full bio.
Lizbeth Goodman - SMART spaces by and for SMART people: technology as a scaffold to support innovative, independent living for ALL (Tuesday 11th September)
Lizbeth Goodman is Chair of Creative Technology Innovation and Professor of Inclusive Design at University College Dublin, where she is an Executive Board member leading the Creative and Social Entrepreneurship modules for the all-Ireland Innovation Academy. She founded the first iteration of the SMARTlab in 1993 (as practice-based research centre at the BBC-Open University) and has developed and directed its world renowned practice-based PhD Programme since the early nineties... full bio.
Rob Procter - Reading the riots on Twitter: methodological innovation for the analysis of big data (Monday 10th September)
The widespread adoption of new forms of communications such as social media presents both an opportunity and a challenge for researchers interested in understanding people’s attitudes and behaviours, especially in the context of unfolding crises and the need for government agencies such as the police to inform the public and act swiftly to ensure public order and safety. The recent explosion of social media in the form of blogs, micro-blogs, social networking platforms and other ‘born-digital’ social data means that more economic and social data than ever before is now available to researchers. Where once the main problem was a scarcity of data, researchers must now cope with its abundance. In this talk I will present an experiment in applying innovative digital research tools to the study of a large corpus of tweets sent during the UK August 2011 riots. I will begin with a description of the methodology and tools used in the study. I will then present some of its findings to illustrate their application. I will conclude with a discussion of its limitations and discuss how these might be addressed.
Rob Procter is Professor and Director of the Manchester eResearch Centre. His research focuses on socio–technical issues in the design, implementation, evaluation and use of interactive computer systems, with a particular emphasis on ethnographic studies of work practices, computer-supported cooperative work and participatory design... full bio.