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Frictionless DarwinCore Tool by André Heughebaert

- December 9, 2019 in Frictionless Data, Open Knowledge, Open Research, Open Science, Open Software, Technical

This blog is part of a series showcasing projects developed during the 2019 Frictionless Data Tool Fund.  The 2019 Frictionless Data Tool Fund provided four mini-grants of $5,000 to support individuals or organisations in developing an open tool for reproducible research built using the Frictionless Data specifications and software. This fund is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project, which is funded by the Sloan Foundation. This project applies our work in Frictionless Data to data-driven research disciplines, in order to facilitate reproducible data workflows in research contexts.   logo

Frictionless DarwinCore, developed by André Heughebaert

  André Heughebaert is an open biodiversity data advocate in his work and his free time. He is an IT Software Engineer at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and is also the Belgian GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) Node manager. During this time, he has worked with the Darwin Core Standards and Open Biodiversity data on a daily basis. This work inspired him to apply for the Tool Fund, where he has developed a tool to convert DarwinCore Archives into Frictionless Data Packages.   The DarwinCore Archive (DwCA) is a standardised container for biodiversity data and metadata largely used amongst the GBIF community, which consists of more than 1,500 institutions around the world. The DwCA is used to publish biodiversity data about observations, collections specimens, species checklists and sampling events. However, this domain specific standard has some limitations, mainly the star schema (core table + extensions), rules that are sometimes too permissive, and a lack of controlled vocabularies for certain terms. These limitations encouraged André to investigate emerging open data standards. In 2016, he discovered Frictionless Data and published his first data package on historical data from 1815 Napoleonic Campaign of Belgium. He was then encouraged to create a tool that would, in part, build a bridge between these two open data ecosystems.   As a result, the Frictionless DarwinCore tool converts DwCA into Frictionless Data Packages, and also gives access to the vast Frictionless Data software ecosystem enabling constraints validation and support of a fully relational data schema.  Technically speaking, the tool is implemented as a Python library, and is exposed as a Command Line Interface. The tool automatically converts: project architecture   * DwCA data schema into datapackage.json * EML metadata into human readable markdown readme file * data files are converted when necessary, this is when default values are described The resulting zip file complies to both DarwinCore and Frictionless specifications.    André hopes that bridging the two standards will give an excellent opportunity for the GBIF community to provide open biodiversity data to a wider audience. He says this is also a good opportunity to discover the Frictionless Data specifications and assess their applicability to the biodiversity domain. In fact, on 9th October 2019, André presented the tool at a GBIF Global Nodes meeting. It was perceived by the nodes managers community as an exploratory and pioneering work. While the command line interface offers a simple user interface for non-programmers, others might prefer the more flexible and sophisticated Python API. André encourages anyone working with DarwinCore data, including all data publishers and data users of GBIF network, to try out the new tool. 
“I’m quite optimistic that the project will feed the necessary reflection on the evolution of our biodiversity standards and data flows.”

To get started, installation of the tool is done through a single pip install command (full directions can be found in the project README). Central to the tool is a table of DarwinCore terms linking a Data Package type, format and constraints for every DwC term. The tool can be used as CLI directly from your terminal window or as Python Library for developers. The tool can work with either locally stored or online DwCA. Once converted to Tabular DataPackage, the DwC data can then be ingested and further processed by software such as Goodtables, OpenRefine or any other Frictionless Data software. André has aspirations to take the Frictionless DarwinCore tool further by encapsulating the tool in a web-service that will directly deliver Goodtables reports from a DwCA, which will make it even more user friendly. Additional ideas for further improvement would be including an import pathway for DarwinCore data into Open Refine, which is a popular tool in the GBIF community. André’s long term hope is that the Data Package will become an optional format for data download on GBIF.org.  workflow Further reading: Repository: https://github.com/frictionlessdata/FrictionlessDarwinCore Project blog: https://andrejjh.github.io/fdwc.github.io/

csv,conf returns for version 5 in May

- October 15, 2019 in #CSVconf, Events, Frictionless Data, News, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Research, Open Science, Open Software

Save the data for csv,conf,v5! The fifth version of csv,conf will be held at the University of California, Washington Center in Washington DC, USA, on May 13 and 14, 2020.    If you are passionate about data and its application to society, this is the conference for you. Submissions for session proposals for 25-minute talk slots are open until February 7, 2020, and we encourage talks about how you are using data in an interesting way (like to uncover a crossword puzzle scandal). We will be opening ticket sales soon, and you can stay updated by following our Twitter account @CSVconference.   csv,conf is a community conference that is about more than just comma-sepatated-values – it brings together a diverse group to discuss data topics including data sharing, data ethics, and data analysis from the worlds of science, journalism, government, and open source. Over two days, attendees will have the opportunity to hear about ongoing work, share skills, exchange ideas (and stickers!) and kickstart collaborations.   
csv,conf,v4

Attendees of csv,conf,v4

First launched in July 2014,  csv,conf has expanded to bring together over 700 participants from 30 countries with backgrounds from varied disciplines. If you’ve missed the earlier years’ conferences, you can watch previous talks on topics like data ethics, open source technology, data journalism, open internet, and open science on our YouTube channel. We hope you will join us in Washington D.C. in May to share your own data stories and join the csv,conf community!   Csv,conf,v5 is supported by the Sloan Foundation through OKFs Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research grant as well as by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Frictionless Data team is part of the conference committee. We are happy to answer all questions you may have or offer any clarifications if needed. Feel free to reach out to us on csv-conf-coord@googlegroups.com, on twitter @CSVconference or our dedicated community slack channel   We are committed to diversity and inclusion, and strive to be a supportive and welcoming environment to all attendees. To this end, we encourage you to read the Conference Code of Conduct.
Rojo the Comma Llama

While we won’t be flying Rojo the Comma Llama to DC for csv,conf,v5, we will have other mascot surprises in store.

Missed opportunities in the EU’s revised open data and re-use of public sector information directive

- July 9, 2019 in European Union, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Research

Published by the European Union on June 26th, the revised directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information – or PSI Directive – set out an updated set of rules relating to public sector documents, publicly funded research data and “high-value” datasets which should be made available for free via application programming interfaces or APIs. EU member states have until July 2021 to incorporate the directive into law.  While Open Knowledge Foundation is encouraged to see some of the new provisions, we have concerns – many of which we laid out in a 2018 blogpost – about missed opportunities for further progress towards a fair, free and open future across the EU. Open data stickers Lack of public input Firstly, the revised directive gives responsibility for choosing which high-value datasets to publish over to member states but there are no established mechanisms for the public to provide input into the decisions.  Broad thematic categories – geospatial; earth observation and environment; meteorological; statistics; companies and company ownership; and mobility – are set out for these datasets but the specifics will be determined over the next two years via a series of further implementing acts. Datasets eventually deemed to be high-value shall be made “available free of charge … machine readable, provided via APIs and provided as a bulk download, where relevant”. Despite drawing on our Global Open Data Index to generate a preliminary list of high-value datasets, this decision flies in the face of years of findings from the Index showing how important it is for governments to engage with the public as much and as early as possible to generate awareness and increase levels of reuse of open data. We fear that this could lead to a further loss of public trust by opening the door for special interests, lobbyists and companies to make private arguments against the release of valuable datasets like spending records or beneficial ownership data which is often highly disaggregated and allows monetary transactions to be linked to individuals. Partial definition of high-value data Secondly, defining the value of data is also not straightforward. Papers from Oxford University, to Open Data Watch and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data demonstrate disagreement about what data’s “value” is. What counts as high-value data should not only be based on quantitative indicators such as potential income generation, breadth of business applications or numbers of beneficiaries – as the revised directive sets out – but also use qualitative assessments and expert judgment from multiple disciplines. Currently less than a quarter of the data with the biggest potential for social impact is available as truly open data even from countries seen as open data leaders, according to the latest Open Data Barometer report from our colleagues at the World Wide Web Foundation. Why? Because “governments are not engaging enough with groups beyond the open data and open government communities”.   Lack of clarity on recommended licenses Thirdly, in line with the directive’s stated principle of being “open by design and by default”, we hope to see countries avoiding future interoperability problems by abiding by the requirement to use open standard licences when publishing these high-value datasets. It’s good to see that the EU Commission itself has recently adopted Creative Commons licences when publishing its own documents and data.  But we feel – in line with our friends at Communia – that the Commission should have made clear exactly which open licences they endorsed under the updated directive, by explicitly recommending the adoption of Open Definition compliant licences from Creative Commons or Open Data Commons to member states. The directive also missed the opportunity to give preference to public domain dedication and attribution licences in accordance with the EU’s own LAPSI 2.0 licensing guidelines, as we recommended. The European Data Portal indicates that there could be up to 90 different licences currently used by national, regional, or municipal governments. Their quality assurance report also shows that they can’t automatically detect the licences used to publish the vast majority of datasets published by open data portals from EU countries. If they can’t work this out, the public definitely won’t be able to: meaning that any and all efforts to use newly-released data will be restrained by unnecessarily onerous reuse conditions. The more complicated or bespoke the licensing, the more likely data will end up unused in silos, our research has shown. 27 of the 28 EU member states may now have national open data policies and portals but, once discovered, it is currently likely that – in addition to confusing licencing – national datasets lack interoperability. For while the EU has substantial programmes of work on interoperability under the European Interoperability Framework, they are not yet having a major impact on the interoperability of open datasets. Open Knowledge Foundation research report: Avoiding data use silos More FAIR data Finally, we welcome the provisions in the directive obliging member states to “[make] publicly funded research data openly available following the principle of open by default and compatible with FAIR principles.” We know there is much work to be done but hope to see wide adoption of these rules and that the provisions for not releasing publicly-funded data due to “confidentiality” or “legitimate commercial interests” will not be abused. The next two years will be a crucial period to engage with these debates across Europe and to make sure that EU countries embrace the directive’s principle of openness by default to release more, better information and datasets to help citizens strive towards a fair, free and open future.

Missed opportunities in the EU’s revised open data and re-use of public sector information directive

- July 9, 2019 in European Union, Open Data, Open Government Data, Open Research

Published by the European Union on June 26th, the revised directive on open data and the re-use of public sector information – or PSI Directive – set out an updated set of rules relating to public sector documents, publicly funded research data and “high-value” datasets which should be made available for free via application programming interfaces or APIs. EU member states have until July 2021 to incorporate the directive into law.  While Open Knowledge Foundation is encouraged to see some of the new provisions, we have concerns – many of which we laid out in a 2018 blogpost – about missed opportunities for further progress towards a fair, free and open future across the EU. Open data stickers Lack of public input Firstly, the revised directive gives responsibility for choosing which high-value datasets to publish over to member states but there are no established mechanisms for the public to provide input into the decisions.  Broad thematic categories – geospatial; earth observation and environment; meteorological; statistics; companies and company ownership; and mobility – are set out for these datasets but the specifics will be determined over the next two years via a series of further implementing acts. Datasets eventually deemed to be high-value shall be made “available free of charge … machine readable, provided via APIs and provided as a bulk download, where relevant”. Despite drawing on our Global Open Data Index to generate a preliminary list of high-value datasets, this decision flies in the face of years of findings from the Index showing how important it is for governments to engage with the public as much and as early as possible to generate awareness and increase levels of reuse of open data. We fear that this could lead to a further loss of public trust by opening the door for special interests, lobbyists and companies to make private arguments against the release of valuable datasets like spending records or beneficial ownership data which is often highly disaggregated and allows monetary transactions to be linked to individuals. Partial definition of high-value data Secondly, defining the value of data is also not straightforward. Papers from Oxford University, to Open Data Watch and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data demonstrate disagreement about what data’s “value” is. What counts as high-value data should not only be based on quantitative indicators such as potential income generation, breadth of business applications or numbers of beneficiaries – as the revised directive sets out – but also use qualitative assessments and expert judgment from multiple disciplines. Currently less than a quarter of the data with the biggest potential for social impact is available as truly open data even from countries seen as open data leaders, according to the latest Open Data Barometer report from our colleagues at the World Wide Web Foundation. Why? Because “governments are not engaging enough with groups beyond the open data and open government communities”.   Lack of clarity on recommended licenses Thirdly, in line with the directive’s stated principle of being “open by design and by default”, we hope to see countries avoiding future interoperability problems by abiding by the requirement to use open standard licences when publishing these high-value datasets. It’s good to see that the EU Commission itself has recently adopted Creative Commons licences when publishing its own documents and data.  But we feel – in line with our friends at Communia – that the Commission should have made clear exactly which open licences they endorsed under the updated directive, by explicitly recommending the adoption of Open Definition compliant licences from Creative Commons or Open Data Commons to member states. The directive also missed the opportunity to give preference to public domain dedication and attribution licences in accordance with the EU’s own LAPSI 2.0 licensing guidelines, as we recommended. The European Data Portal indicates that there could be up to 90 different licences currently used by national, regional, or municipal governments. Their quality assurance report also shows that they can’t automatically detect the licences used to publish the vast majority of datasets published by open data portals from EU countries. If they can’t work this out, the public definitely won’t be able to: meaning that any and all efforts to use newly-released data will be restrained by unnecessarily onerous reuse conditions. The more complicated or bespoke the licensing, the more likely data will end up unused in silos, our research has shown. 27 of the 28 EU member states may now have national open data policies and portals but, once discovered, it is currently likely that – in addition to confusing licencing – national datasets lack interoperability. For while the EU has substantial programmes of work on interoperability under the European Interoperability Framework, they are not yet having a major impact on the interoperability of open datasets. Open Knowledge Foundation research report: Avoiding data use silos More FAIR data Finally, we welcome the provisions in the directive obliging member states to “[make] publicly funded research data openly available following the principle of open by default and compatible with FAIR principles.” We know there is much work to be done but hope to see wide adoption of these rules and that the provisions for not releasing publicly-funded data due to “confidentiality” or “legitimate commercial interests” will not be abused. The next two years will be a crucial period to engage with these debates across Europe and to make sure that EU countries embrace the directive’s principle of openness by default to release more, better information and datasets to help citizens strive towards a fair, free and open future.

Evidence Appraisal Data-Thon: A recap of our Open Data Day event

- May 23, 2018 in health, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Research, open research data, Open Science

This blog has been reposted from Medium This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Research Data theme.

Research can save lives, reduce suffering, and help with scientific understanding. But research can also be unethical, unimportant, invalid, or poorly reported. These issues can harm health, waste scientific and health resources, and reduce trust in science. Differentiating good science from bad, therefore, has big implications. This is happening in the midst of broader discussions about differentiating good information from misinformation. Current controversy regarding political ‘fake news’ has specifically received significant recent attention. Public scientific misinformation and academic scientific misinformation also are published, much of it derived from low quality science.

EvidenceBase is a global, informal, voluntary organization aimed at boosting and starting tools and infrastructure that enhance scientific quality and usability. The critical appraisal of science is one of many mechanisms seeking to evaluate and clarify published science, and evidence appraisal is a key area of EvidenceBase’s work. On March 3rd we held an Open Data Day event to introduce the public to evidence appraisal and to explore and work on an open dataset of appraisals. We reached out to a network in NYC of data scientists, software developers, public health professionals, and clinicians and invited them and their interested friends (including any without health, science, or data training).

 

Our data came from the US’s National Library of Medicine’s PubMed and PubMed Central datasets. PubMed offers indexing, meta-data, and abstracts for biomedical publications and PubMed Central (PMC) offers full-text in pdf and/or xml. PMC has an open-access subset. We explored the portion of this subset that 1) was indexed in PubMed as a “journal comment” and 2) was a comment on a clinical trial. The structure of our 10 hour event was an initial session introducing the general areas of health trials, research issues, and open data and then the remainder of the day consisted of parallel groups tackling three areas: lay exploration and Q&A; dataset processing and word embedding development; and health expertise-guided manual exploration and annotation of comments. We had 2 data scientists, 4 trial experts, 3 physicians, 4 public health practitioners, 4 participants without background but with curiosity, and 1 infant. Our space was donated, and the food was provided from a mix of a grant from Open Data Day provided by SPARC and Open Knowledge International (thank you!) and voluntary participant donations.

On the dataset front, we leveraged the clinical trial and journal comment meta-data in PubMed, and the links between PubMed and PMC, and PMC’s open subset IDs to create a data subset that was solely journal comments on clinical trials that were in PMC’s open subset with xml data. Initial exploration of this subset for quality issues showed us that PubMed metadata tags misindex non-trials as trials and non-comments as comments. Further data curation will be needed. We did use it to create word embeddings and so some brief similarity-based expansion.

 

The domain experts reviewed trials in their area of expertise. Some participants manually extracted text fragments expressing a single appraisal assertion, and attempted to generalize the assertion for future structured knowledge representation work. Overall participants had a fun, productive, and educational time! From the standpoint of EvidenceBase, the event was a success and was interesting. We are mainly virtual and global, so this in person event was new for us, energizing, and helped forge new relationships for the future.

We also learned:

  • We can’t have too much on one person’s plate for logistics and for facilitation. Issues will happen (e.g. food cancellation last minute).
  • Curiosity abounds, and people are thirsty for meaningful and productive social interactions beyond their jobs. They just need to be invited, otherwise this potential group will not be involved.
  • Many people who have data science skills have jobs in industries they don’t love, they have a particular thirst to leverage their skills for good.
  • People without data science expertise but who have domain expertise are keen on exploring the data and offering insight. This can help make sense of it, and can help identify issues (e.g. data quality issues, synonyms, subfield-specific differences).
  • People with neither domain expertise nor data science skills still add vibrancy to these events, though the event organizers need more bandwidth to help orient and facilitate the involvement of these attendees.
  • Public research data sets are messy, and often require further subsetting or transformation to make them usable and high quality.
  • Open data might have license and accessibility barriers. For us, this resulted in a large reduction in journal comments with full-text vs. not, and of those with full-text, a further large reduction in those where the text was open-access and licensed for use in text mining.

We’ll be continuing to develop the data set and annotations started here, and we look forward to the next Open Data Day. We may even host a data event before then!

Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal

- March 13, 2017 in Events, nepal, ODD17, Open Access, Open Data, Open Map Data, Open Research, Open Science, opendataday

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event. In Nepal, the event aims to served as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies. There were 4 different major activities of the event: Presentation Session, Open Street Mapathon, Open Research Data Hackathon and Treasure Hunt.

The check in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly joining the venue and with some informal discussion having around and was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) by giving brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for the country like Nepal. After him, Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal gave an event orientation. He shared how Open Data Day was started and history of Open Data Day celebration at Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs was the first presenter of the event. He gave the presentation about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary City) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and asked participants to join them for contribution and collaboration. He also shares about the app “Prepare Pokhara”, an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques, by using that app user can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After the presentation of Gaurav Thapa, Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal participated in presentation session, where he presented about Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started from the basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and others different bodies of Nepal government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talks a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research article frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a small break after the completion of Presentation Session and the rooms for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon was divided after that break. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room.

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the team of Open Knowledge Nepal. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm different kinds of ideas for the entire day. A group pitched a project twice, in the first pitch, they share the brainstormed idea and in the second pitch, they share about how they are doing that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 team was entirely different from each other, some work in Election Data and some work in using Machine learning to extract research data from users search queries. Some team worked in the use of data disaster prediction and some in Blood data.

It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days.

Mapathon

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team of Kathmandu Living Labs. In Mapathon participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap, where participants got an opportunity to play with Open Map Data and OpenStreetMap. The team of KLL also led Treasure Hunt in-between to make Mapathon interesting and interactive, where participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, Mapathon was interactive where participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.

 

The whole event was closed at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. The promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representation of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. This year International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places of Nepal. Two inside Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point.

Group photo and selfie ?

Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io

More photos from our Facebook page here.

Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal

- March 13, 2017 in Events, nepal, ODD17, Open Access, Open Data, Open Map Data, Open Research, Open Science, opendataday

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event. In Nepal, the event aims to served as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies. There were 4 different major activities of the event: Presentation Session, Open Street Mapathon, Open Research Data Hackathon and Treasure Hunt. The check in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly joining the venue and with some informal discussion having around and was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) by giving brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for the country like Nepal. After him, Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal gave an event orientation. He shared how Open Data Day was started and history of Open Data Day celebration at Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs was the first presenter of the event. He gave the presentation about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary City) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and asked participants to join them for contribution and collaboration. He also shares about the app “Prepare Pokhara”, an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques, by using that app user can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After the presentation of Gaurav Thapa, Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal participated in presentation session, where he presented about Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started from the basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and others different bodies of Nepal government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talks a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research article frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a small break after the completion of Presentation Session and the rooms for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon was divided after that break. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room. Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the team of Open Knowledge Nepal. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm different kinds of ideas for the entire day. A group pitched a project twice, in the first pitch, they share the brainstormed idea and in the second pitch, they share about how they are doing that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 team was entirely different from each other, some work in Election Data and some work in using Machine learning to extract research data from users search queries. Some team worked in the use of data disaster prediction and some in Blood data. It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days. Mapathon

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team of Kathmandu Living Labs. In Mapathon participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap, where participants got an opportunity to play with Open Map Data and OpenStreetMap. The team of KLL also led Treasure Hunt in-between to make Mapathon interesting and interactive, where participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, Mapathon was interactive where participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.   The whole event was closed at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. The promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representation of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. This year International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places of Nepal. Two inside Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point. Group photo and selfie ? Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io More photos from our Facebook page here.

Git for Data Analysis – why version control is essential for collaboration and for gaining public trust.

- November 29, 2016 in Featured, Frictionless Data, Open Data, Open Research, Open Science, Open Software, Open Standards

Openness and collaboration go hand in hand. Scientists at PNNL are working with the Frictionless Data team at Open Knowledge International to ensure collaboration on data analysis is seamless and their data integrity is maintained. I’m a computational biologist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), where I work on environmental and biomedical research. In our scientific endeavors, the full data life cycle typically involves new algorithms, data analysis and data management. One of the unique aspects of PNNL as a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory is that part of our mission is to be a resource to the scientific community. In this highly collaborative atmosphere, we are continuously engaging research partners around the country and around the world.

collaborationImage credit: unsplash (public domain)

One of my recent research topics is how to make collaborative data analysis more efficient and more impactful. In most of my collaborations, I work with other scientists to analyze their data and look for evidence that supports or rejects a hypothesis. Because of my background in computer science, I saw many similarities between collaborative data analysis and collaborative software engineering. This led me to wonder, “We use version control for all our software products. Why don’t we use version control for data analysis?” This thought inspired my current project and has prompted other open data advocates like Open Knowledge International to propose source control for data. Openness is a foundational principle of collaboration. To work effectively as a team, people need to be able to easily see and replicate each other’s work. In software engineering, this is facilitated by version control systems like Git or SVN. Version control has been around for decades and almost all best practices for collaborative software engineering explicitly require version control for complete sharing of source code within the development team. At the moment we don’t have a similarly ubiquitous framework for full sharing in data analysis or scientific investigation. To help create this resource, we started Active Data Biology. Although the tool is still in beta-release, it lays the groundwork for open collaboration. customizationwithactivedata The original use case for Active Data Biology is to facilitate data analysis of gene expression measurements of biological samples. For example, we use the tool to investigate the changing interaction of a bacterial community over time; another great example is the analysis of global protein abundance in a collection of ovarian tumors. In both of these experiments, the fundamental data consist of two tables: 1) a matrix of gene expression values for each sample; 2) a table of metadata describing each sample. Although the original instrument files used to generate these two simple tables are often hundreds of gigabytes, the actual tables are relatively small.

To work effectively as a team, people need to be able to easily see and replicate each other’s work.

After generating data, the real goal of the experiment is to discover something profoundly new and useful – for example how bacteria growth changes over time or what proteins are correlated with surviving cancer. Such broad questions typically involve a diverse team of scientists and a lengthy and rigorous investigation. Active Data Biology uses version control as an underlying technology to ease collaboration between these large and diverse groups. stalemateActive Data Biology creates a repository for each data analysis project. Inside the repository live the data, analysis software, and derived insight. Just as in software engineering, the repository is shared by various team members and analyses are versioned and tracked over time. Although the framework we describe here was created for our specific biological data application, it is possible to generalize the idea and adapt it to many different domains. An example repository can be found here. This dataset originates from a proteomics study of ovarian cancer. In total, 174 tumors were analyzed to identify the abundance of several thousand proteins. The protein abundance data is located in this repository. In order to more easily analyze this with our R based statistical code, we also store the data in an Rdata file (data.Rdata). Associated with this data file is a metadata table which describes the tumor samples, e.g. age of the patient, tumor stage, chemotherapy status, etc. It can be found at metadata.tsv (For full disclosure, and to calm any worries, all of the samples have been de-identified and the data is approved for public release.) Data analysis is an exploration of data, an attempt to uncover some nugget which confirms a hypothesis. Data analysis can take many forms. For me it often involves statistical tests which calculate the likelihood of an observation. For example, we observe that a set of genes which have a correlated expression pattern and are enriched in a biological process. What is the chance that this observation is random? To answer this, we use a statistical test (e.g. a Fisher’s exact test). As the specific implementation might vary from person to person, having access to the exact code is essential. There is no “half-way” sharing here. It does no good to describe analyses over the phone or through email; your collaborators need your actual data and code. In Active Data Biology, analysis scripts are kept in the repository. This repository had a fairly simple scope for statistical analysis. The various code snippets handled data ingress, dealt with missing data (a very common occurrence in environmental or biomedical data), performed a standard test and returned the result. Over time, these scripts may evolve and change. This is exactly why we chose to use version control, to effortlessly track and share progress on the project. We should note that we are not the only ones using version control in this manner. Open Knowledge International has a large number of GitHub repositories hosting public datasets, such as atmospheric carbon dioxide time series measurements. Vanessa Bailey and Ben Bond-Lamberty, environmental scientists at PNNL, used GitHub for an open experiment to store data, R code, a manuscript and various other aspects of analysis. The FiveThirtyEight group, led by Nate Silver, uses GitHub to share the data and code behind their stories and statistical exposés. We believe that sharing analysis in this way is critical for both helping your team work together productively and also for gaining public trust. At PNNL, we typically work in a team that includes both computational and non-computational scientists, so we wanted to create an environment where data exploration does not necessarily require computational expertise. To achieve this, we created a web-based visual analytic which exposes the data and capabilities within a project’s GitHub repository. This gives non-computational researchers a more accessible interface to the data, while allowing them access to the full range of computational methods contributed by their teammates. We first presented the Active Data Biology tool at Nature’s Publishing Better Science through Better Data conference. It was here that we met Open Knowledge International. Our shared passion for open and collaborative data through tools like Git led to a natural collaboration. We’re excited to be working with them on improving access to scientific data and results. logoOn the horizon, we are working together to integrate Frictionless Data and Good Tables into our tool to help validate and smooth our data access. One of the key aspects of data analysis is that it is fluid; over the course of investigation your methods and/or data will change. For that reason, it is important that the data integrity is always maintained. Good Tables is designed to enforce data quality; consistently verifying the accuracy of our data is essential in a project where many people can update the data.

One of the key aspects of data analysis is that it is fluid…For that reason, it is important that the data integrity is always maintained.

One of our real-world problems is that clinical data for biomedical projects is updated periodically as researchers re-examine patient records. Thus the meta-data describing a patient’s survival status or current treatments will change. A second challenge discovered through experience is that there are a fair number of entry mistakes, typos or incorrect data formatting. Working with the Open Knowledge International team, we hope to reduce these errors at their origin by enforcing data standards on entry, and continuously throughout the project. I look forward to data analysis having the same culture as software engineering, where openness and sharing has become the norm. To get there will take a bit of education as well as working out some standard structures/platforms to achieve our desired goal.

QA with Open Access Activist of Nepal

- October 29, 2016 in EIFL, Events, NeLIC, OAWeek, Open Access, Open Knowledge, Open Research, Open Science, Working Group

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research. It’s one of our favorite global event, We the team of Open Knowledge Nepal always love celebrating and organizing it because we believe Open Access and Open Research field need more advocacy and awareness in Nepal. We joined this momentum in 2014 with the help of Open Access Nepal and lead that momentum in 2015. This year to mark this global celebration, We did QA with some Open Access Activist of Nepal. The aim of doing this QA was to generate resources regarding Open Access and Open Research so, that newcomer entering this field can find and know about the momentum running in Nepal easily. banner We ask three Open Access Activist regarding their work, organization, and vision. Thanks to all three of them for giving us their valuable time and replying our question.    

nepal-countryMr. Jagadish Aryal

Country Coordinator | EIFL and Secretary | NeLIC

1) Brief about Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC)? The Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) was established by a group of institutions with the idea of facilitating access to electronic resources to Nepali educational institutions. Its core area of activities is Open Access, Free and Open Source Software, Intellectual Property Rights, & Sharing of the available e-resources. More information can be found at www.nelic.org. 2) How is NeLIC using and promoting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)? NeLIC is promoting the use of ICT in libraries for better service and modernizing the library according to global trends. For that we recommend FOSS. Presently Koha, PMB, DSpace, GSDL, etc. are the FOSS being used in Nepalese library. 3) Brief about NeLIC Open Access Repository? Central OA Repository is a web archive run by Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) for the collection, preservation, and dissemination of intellectual outputs of an institution or an individual. Outputs may be journaled articles, research reports, and conference papers in a digital form. Researchers and students will have access to these materials through a single-point open access system. 4) How can libraries be used by businesses to provide professional development opportunities? Libraries can be used by any professionals to enrich their professional knowledge and sharpen them by getting exhaustive and up to date information in the particular field. 5) How many institutes are currently the member of NeLIC and is the number increasing? Currently, there are 56 members in NeLIC. The number of members is open to all Nepalese institutions which have a library and /or which are involved in learning, teaching and research activities. So it is growing continuously.    

9ugrps-rMr. Kshitiz Khanal

Open Science & Research Team Lead | Open Knowledge Nepal

1) Brief about Open Knowledge Nepal? A working group of Open Knowledge in Nepal. An open network of mostly young people working towards increasing openness in data, education, science, and other and increasing opportunities for many people. 2) Brief about Open Science & Open Research working group and their interconnection? Science is advanced by research. Research is a methodology with which all science progresses. These two are always interconnected. 3) When does a researcher satisfy the requirement for Open Access? Most important thing, at first, is a commitment by researcher themselves. But that can only the cause of open access so far. The researcher can study more about types of open access, find open access journals in their domain, talk about open access with their colleagues. 4) How do you see the current open science practice of Nepal? At least all journals in Nepal are Open access. However, there is no culture of sharing research data among Nepali researchers. Practice is influenced by culture, and culture by practice. We need to sensitize researchers and academics about open access and open science in Nepal. If all government funded research in Nepal mandates publication as open access and sharing of raw data in an open license, it will increase open science practice. Movements take time and we have only just begun. There’s a lot to do. 5) What are the expected challenges?
  • Researchers want to publish data in the most reputed journal that they can publish, and most such journals are not open by default.
  • Publishing in Nepali open access journals is frowned upon. The quality of paper matters more than the ranking of journals.
  • We should push for raising the standard of Nepali journals. More rigorous peer review.
  • Very few researchers of Nepal publish papers and conduct academic research. The potential of students and academics is wasted in Nepal.
   

dr_karnDr. Roshan Kumar Karn

Director | Open Access Nepal

1) Brief about Open Access Nepal? Open Access Nepal is a non-profit and non-governmental organization and was established in March 2014. OANepal is the affiliate chapter of U.S. based organization “Right to Research Coalition (R2RC)”. The main objective of Open Access Nepal is to advocate and promote the policies and principles of Open Access, Open Education, Open Data and Open Repository in Nepal. It aims to nurture potential researchers with unrestricted access to scholarly articles. The activities of OANepal are supported by EIFL, INASP, R2RC and OCSD NET. 2) Brief about Open Access Button and Open Access Journals? Open Access Button: OA Button is a browser bookmarklet which registers when people hit a paywall to a scholarly article and supports these researchers in 3 ways:
  • Finding available research: OA Button searches thousands of sources with millions of articles to find legal access to research articles for the researchers.
  • Requesting Research: OA Button was designed as a transparent and effective request system to help make more research accessible. If you are unable to get access,     you can quickly create a request with the OA Button.
  • Making Research available: Request for articles are sent to the author and other Button users can support your request. Together we strive for more accessibility to research.
The motto of OA Button is: Push Button. Get Research. Make Progress. Open Access Journals: Open Access journals are the scholarly journals and publications that are available to the readers online without any financial, legal or technical barriers. OA journals are freely accessible to the readers. It essentially removes the price (licensing fees, subscription) and permission (copyright issues) barriers to a scholarly publication. Some OA journals are subsidized and are financed by an academic institution, foundation, or government itself while others are operated by the article processing charges (APC’s) obtained from submitting authors which are usually provided by their respective institutes. 3) What are the main factors that have led to the steady growth of OA publishing  in Nepal?
Nikesh, I think rather than taking about the steady growth of OA publishing which is not true anymore. If you see the recent entries in DOAJ, there has been a dramatic increase in open publications in the last couple of years. Therefore, here I have discussed why OA publishing is important to different groups. But I have also answered your exact question at the end.

Open publishing seeks to return scholarly publishing to its original and core purpose viz to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to resonate and be built upon. There are several factors in play that has led to the growth of OA publication in the past few years. For Students:
  • Open Publications provides a complete education to students by providing them access to the latest research.
  • With science advancing at an ever increasing pace it is crucial that professors have access to cutting edge research so students’ education is not outdated     before they even finish a course. OA publishing has given the professors access to these cutting-edge researches and advancements.
  • It provides research for your papers.
  • OA gives the opportunity to the students to be innovative and conduct researches beyond their degree.
For Researchers:
  • Better visibility and higher impact for the scholarship.
  • No researcher wants to waste time and money conducting a study that has already been done. Open publication helps researchers to avoid duplication.
For Doctors:
  • Opening access to research     will allow doctors access to all relevant information, enabling them to make better decisions – decisions based on the most up-to-date     medical knowledge, leading to more effective treatment and better outcomes.
For Patients:
  • Open publishing provides patients and their advocates the access to the corpus of medical research.
For Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses:
  • Access to the latest research speeds innovation.
For the public:
  • Return on public’s investment as most research are funded by the taxpayers’ money.
  • Exercising the right to research: as taxpayers who pay for much of the research published in journals, the public has a collective right to access the information resulting from their investment.
For Publishers:
  • Demonstrated benefits: numerous     publishers, both non-profit and for-profit, voluntarily make their articles openly available at the time of publication or within 6-12 months.  Many have switched from a closed, subscription model     to an open one as a strategic business decision to increase their journal’s exposure and impact, and have done so with great success
The reasons for steady growth in OA publishing could be:
  • Lack of awareness, advocacy, knowledge and benefits of OA publishing amongst the researchers.
  • Issues related to impact factor of the open journals.
  • The reluctance of PI to opt in for the open model of publishing.
  • The poor government policy of making public funded researchers available publicly.
  • Lack of repositories.
  • Lack of funding.
  • Inadequate development of the R&D sector of Nepal.
  • Overindulgence and extremely powerful lobbyists for the traditional model of publishing.
  • Lack of adequate investment from the government in the development of research and laboratory facilities.
  • Researchers are not yet totally convinced that open publication will be advantageous for their careers the same as subscription journals.
  • Fear of loss of credibility among the peers.
4) How do you think this trend will develop over the next decade, and explain why? The gradual trend of OA publishing has been increasing over the years now and I am confident that we will witness a significant rise in OA publication over the next decade for the reasons mentioned above (People will eventually understand the benefits of Open publishing and how OA will help each group of people like students, researchers, entrepreneurs, doctors, patients and public). However, the recent statistics also reveal a dramatic growth of Open Access. Globally the collections of open access archives are now collectively an order of magnitude larger than the 10 million articles and this is just from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). DOAJ showed an amazing 11% growth in the past in articles searchable at the article level – about half a million more articles today than a year ago. This past quarter DOAJ showed a healthy growth rate of 135 titles or added 1.5 titles per day. The internet archive now has more than 3 million open audio recordings. The Directory of Open Access Books added over 2 thousand titles in the past year for a current total of over 5,000 titles (60% annual growth rate) from 161 publishers (41% annual growth rate in publishers). The number of journals actively contributing to PubMed Central continues to show strong growth in every measure: there are 212 more journal active participants in PMC today than a year ago, a 10% growth rate; 170 more journals provide immediate free access, an 11% growth rate; 113 more journals provide all articles as open access, a 9% growth rate; and the number of journals with some articles open access increased by 123, a 31% growth rate. These statistics reveal that researchers and the general public are gradually being aware of the impossible subscription fees and the nobility Open Access brings into the lives of individual, family, society and a nation. People gradually understand that the fundamental aspect of education is sharing and locking knowledge and education will only harm. Researchers now realize that their work will be more recognized only if they prefer OA journals, they now realize that catastrophes like Ebola and Zika could be prevented with open access to research. The steep growth in the statistics is just the beginning and I am sure that we will see some serious hikes in a decade from now. 5) What will happen if a researcher does not make his work immediately Open Access accessible?
  • Decreased visibility, usage and impact of their work.
  • Open access increases the impact of research in which public money is invested and therefore publishing in a closed model is a bad return on taxpayers’ investment.
  • Society as a whole will be barred from the benefits of their research as open research is more efficient and more effective, delivering better and faster outcomes.
  • Obstruction in the nation’s’ technological advancement and economic growth.
  • Students and researchers from a developing country like Nepal will never be able to read and use world class literature because of the high subscription fees if researchers don’t make it openly available.
6) Where will the funding for OA publishing come from? Obtaining research grants from funding agencies is crucial for researchers to continue their work, supervise students and career advancement. Obtaining grants is directly linked to the researcher’s performance, mainly publications. Besides public funding, institutional and private foundations, opportunities dedicated specifically to fund – and reward – open research, open data and open software have emerged, especially in recent years. They are traditional funders, such as Wellcome Trust, NIH, and SPARC, which are allocating funds to open research, or new initiatives especially created with this view, as the Shuttleworth Foundation (established in 2007) and Mozilla Science Lab (2013), among others. The notion that research funded with public resources should be made openly available to society has been consolidating in recent years and, consequently, public funding agencies are not only preferring but mandating the results to be published in open access. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have pioneered in 2008 to implement the open access policy, followed by Harvard University in the same year, the National Academy of Sciences of China (2009), and the National Science Foundation (2011). Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Defense Department and the space agency NASA, implemented in 2015 open access mandates. That same year, France launched the bill “For a Digital Republic”, and submitted it to public consultation. Funding agencies such as Wellcome Trust, CERN, UNESCO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others have established similar mandates. Many of them still determine that the contents published in OA shall be governed by the Creative Commons attribution license CC-BY, the least restrictive of all. Despite these international agencies, the Nepal government should also play a pro-active role in the open movement, invest more in R&D, nurture young researchers, develop a culture of research among the students and provide funding to new ideas and researches leading to new innovations.

QA with Open Access Activist of Nepal

- October 29, 2016 in EIFL, Events, NeLIC, OAWeek, Open Access, Open Knowledge, Open Research, Open Science, Working Group

Open Access Week, a global event now entering its eighth year, is an opportunity for the academic and research community to continue to learn about the potential benefits of Open Access, to share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and to help inspire wider participation in helping to make Open Access a new norm in scholarship and research.

It’s one of our favorite global event, We the team of Open Knowledge Nepal always love celebrating and organizing it because we believe Open Access and Open Research field need more advocacy and awareness in Nepal. We joined this momentum in 2014 with the help of Open Access Nepal and lead that momentum in 2015. This year to mark this global celebration, We did QA with some Open Access Activist of Nepal. The aim of doing this QA was to generate resources regarding Open Access and Open Research so, that newcomer entering this field can find and know about the momentum running in Nepal easily.

banner

We ask three Open Access Activist regarding their work, organization, and vision. Thanks to all three of them for giving us their valuable time and replying our question.

 

 

nepal-countryMr. Jagadish Aryal

Country Coordinator | EIFL and Secretary | NeLIC

1) Brief about Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC)?

The Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) was established by a group of institutions with the idea of facilitating access to electronic resources to Nepali educational institutions. Its core area of activities is Open Access, Free and Open Source Software, Intellectual Property Rights, & Sharing of the available e-resources. More information can be found at www.nelic.org.

2) How is NeLIC using and promoting Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)?

NeLIC is promoting the use of ICT in libraries for better service and modernizing the library according to global trends. For that we recommend FOSS. Presently Koha, PMB, DSpace, GSDL, etc. are the FOSS being used in Nepalese library.

3) Brief about NeLIC Open Access Repository?

Central OA Repository is a web archive run by Nepal Library and Information Consortium (NeLIC) for the collection, preservation, and dissemination of intellectual outputs of an institution or an individual. Outputs may be journaled articles, research reports, and conference papers in a digital form. Researchers and students will have access to these materials through a single-point open access system.

4) How can libraries be used by businesses to provide professional development opportunities?

Libraries can be used by any professionals to enrich their professional knowledge and sharpen them by getting exhaustive and up to date information in the particular field.

5) How many institutes are currently the member of NeLIC and is the number increasing?

Currently, there are 56 members in NeLIC. The number of members is open to all Nepalese institutions which have a library and /or which are involved in learning, teaching and research activities. So it is growing continuously.

 

 

9ugrps-rMr. Kshitiz Khanal

Open Science & Research Team Lead | Open Knowledge Nepal

1) Brief about Open Knowledge Nepal?

A working group of Open Knowledge in Nepal. An open network of mostly young people working towards increasing openness in data, education, science, and other and increasing opportunities for many people.

2) Brief about Open Science & Open Research working group and their interconnection?

Science is advanced by research. Research is a methodology with which all science progresses. These two are always interconnected.

3) When does a researcher satisfy the requirement for Open Access?

Most important thing, at first, is a commitment by researcher themselves. But that can only the cause of open access so far. The researcher can study more about types of open access, find open access journals in their domain, talk about open access with their colleagues.

4) How do you see the current open science practice of Nepal?

At least all journals in Nepal are Open access. However, there is no culture of sharing research data among Nepali researchers. Practice is influenced by culture, and culture by practice. We need to sensitize researchers and academics about open access and open science in Nepal. If all government funded research in Nepal mandates publication as open access and sharing of raw data in an open license, it will increase open science practice. Movements take time and we have only just begun. There’s a lot to do.

5) What are the expected challenges?

  • Researchers want to publish data in the most reputed journal that they can publish, and most such journals are not open by default.
  • Publishing in Nepali open access journals is frowned upon. The quality of paper matters more than the ranking of journals.
  • We should push for raising the standard of Nepali journals. More rigorous peer review.
  • Very few researchers of Nepal publish papers and conduct academic research. The potential of students and academics is wasted in Nepal.

 

 

dr_karnDr. Roshan Kumar Karn

Director | Open Access Nepal

1) Brief about Open Access Nepal?

Open Access Nepal is a non-profit and non-governmental organization and was established in March 2014. OANepal is the affiliate chapter of U.S. based organization “Right to Research Coalition (R2RC)”. The main objective of Open Access Nepal is to advocate and promote the policies and principles of Open Access, Open Education, Open Data and Open Repository in Nepal. It aims to nurture potential researchers with unrestricted access to scholarly articles. The activities of OANepal are supported by EIFL, INASP, R2RC and OCSD NET.

2) Brief about Open Access Button and Open Access Journals?

Open Access Button: OA Button is a browser bookmarklet which registers when people hit a paywall to a scholarly article and supports these researchers in 3 ways:

  • Finding available research: OA Button searches thousands of sources with millions of articles to find legal access to research articles for the researchers.
  • Requesting Research: OA Button was designed as a transparent and effective request system to help make more research accessible. If you are unable to get access,     you can quickly create a request with the OA Button.
  • Making Research available: Request for articles are sent to the author and other Button users can support your request. Together we strive for more accessibility to research.

The motto of OA Button is: Push Button. Get Research. Make Progress.

Open Access Journals: Open Access journals are the scholarly journals and publications that are available to the readers online without any financial, legal or technical barriers. OA journals are freely accessible to the readers. It essentially removes the price (licensing fees, subscription) and permission (copyright issues) barriers to a scholarly publication. Some OA journals are subsidized and are financed by an academic institution, foundation, or government itself while others are operated by the article processing charges (APC’s) obtained from submitting authors which are usually provided by their respective institutes.

3) What are the main factors that have led to the steady growth of OA publishing  in Nepal?

Nikesh, I think rather than taking about the steady growth of OA publishing which is not true anymore. If you see the recent entries in DOAJ, there has been a dramatic increase in open publications in the last couple of years. Therefore, here I have discussed why OA publishing is important to different groups. But I have also answered your exact question at the end.

Open publishing seeks to return scholarly publishing to its original and core purpose viz to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to resonate and be built upon. There are several factors in play that has led to the growth of OA publication in the past few years.

For Students:

  • Open Publications provides a complete education to students by providing them access to the latest research.
  • With science advancing at an ever increasing pace it is crucial that professors have access to cutting edge research so students’ education is not outdated     before they even finish a course. OA publishing has given the professors access to these cutting-edge researches and advancements.
  • It provides research for your papers.
  • OA gives the opportunity to the students to be innovative and conduct researches beyond their degree.

For Researchers:

  • Better visibility and higher impact for the scholarship.
  • No researcher wants to waste time and money conducting a study that has already been done. Open publication helps researchers to avoid duplication.

For Doctors:

  • Opening access to research     will allow doctors access to all relevant information, enabling them to make better decisions – decisions based on the most up-to-date     medical knowledge, leading to more effective treatment and better outcomes.

For Patients:

  • Open publishing provides patients and their advocates the access to the corpus of medical research.

For Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses:

  • Access to the latest research speeds innovation.

For the public:

  • Return on public’s investment as most research are funded by the taxpayers’ money.
  • Exercising the right to research: as taxpayers who pay for much of the research published in journals, the public has a collective right to access the information resulting from their investment.

For Publishers:

  • Demonstrated benefits: numerous     publishers, both non-profit and for-profit, voluntarily make their articles openly available at the time of publication or within 6-12 months.  Many have switched from a closed, subscription model     to an open one as a strategic business decision to increase their journal’s exposure and impact, and have done so with great success

The reasons for steady growth in OA publishing could be:

  • Lack of awareness, advocacy, knowledge and benefits of OA publishing amongst the researchers.
  • Issues related to impact factor of the open journals.
  • The reluctance of PI to opt in for the open model of publishing.
  • The poor government policy of making public funded researchers available publicly.
  • Lack of repositories.
  • Lack of funding.
  • Inadequate development of the R&D sector of Nepal.
  • Overindulgence and extremely powerful lobbyists for the traditional model of publishing.
  • Lack of adequate investment from the government in the development of research and laboratory facilities.
  • Researchers are not yet totally convinced that open publication will be advantageous for their careers the same as subscription journals.
  • Fear of loss of credibility among the peers.

4) How do you think this trend will develop over the next decade, and explain why?

The gradual trend of OA publishing has been increasing over the years now and I am confident that we will witness a significant rise in OA publication over the next decade for the reasons mentioned above (People will eventually understand the benefits of Open publishing and how OA will help each group of people like students, researchers, entrepreneurs, doctors, patients and public).

However, the recent statistics also reveal a dramatic growth of Open Access. Globally the collections of open access archives are now collectively an order of magnitude larger than the 10 million articles and this is just from Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE). DOAJ showed an amazing 11% growth in the past in articles searchable at the article level – about half a million more articles today than a year ago. This past quarter DOAJ showed a healthy growth rate of 135 titles or added 1.5 titles per day. The internet archive now has more than 3 million open audio recordings. The Directory of Open Access Books added over 2 thousand titles in the past year for a current total of over 5,000 titles (60% annual growth rate) from 161 publishers (41% annual growth rate in publishers).

The number of journals actively contributing to PubMed Central continues to show strong growth in every measure: there are 212 more journal active participants in PMC today than a year ago, a 10% growth rate; 170 more journals provide immediate free access, an 11% growth rate; 113 more journals provide all articles as open access, a 9% growth rate; and the number of journals with some articles open access increased by 123, a 31% growth rate.

These statistics reveal that researchers and the general public are gradually being aware of the impossible subscription fees and the nobility Open Access brings into the lives of individual, family, society and a nation. People gradually understand that the fundamental aspect of education is sharing and locking knowledge and education will only harm. Researchers now realize that their work will be more recognized only if they prefer OA journals, they now realize that catastrophes like Ebola and Zika could be prevented with open access to research. The steep growth in the statistics is just the beginning and I am sure that we will see some serious hikes in a decade from now.

5) What will happen if a researcher does not make his work immediately Open Access accessible?

  • Decreased visibility, usage and impact of their work.
  • Open access increases the impact of research in which public money is invested and therefore publishing in a closed model is a bad return on taxpayers’ investment.
  • Society as a whole will be barred from the benefits of their research as open research is more efficient and more effective, delivering better and faster outcomes.
  • Obstruction in the nation’s’ technological advancement and economic growth.
  • Students and researchers from a developing country like Nepal will never be able to read and use world class literature because of the high subscription fees if researchers don’t make it openly available.

6) Where will the funding for OA publishing come from?

Obtaining research grants from funding agencies is crucial for researchers to continue their work, supervise students and career advancement. Obtaining grants is directly linked to the researcher’s performance, mainly publications. Besides public funding, institutional and private foundations, opportunities dedicated specifically to fund – and reward – open research, open data and open software have emerged, especially in recent years. They are traditional funders, such as Wellcome Trust, NIH, and SPARC, which are allocating funds to open research, or new initiatives especially created with this view, as the Shuttleworth Foundation (established in 2007) and Mozilla Science Lab (2013), among others.

The notion that research funded with public resources should be made openly available to society has been consolidating in recent years and, consequently, public funding agencies are not only preferring but mandating the results to be published in open access. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have pioneered in 2008 to implement the open access policy, followed by Harvard University in the same year, the National Academy of Sciences of China (2009), and the National Science Foundation (2011). Next, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Defense Department and the space agency NASA, implemented in 2015 open access mandates. That same year, France launched the bill “For a Digital Republic”, and submitted it to public consultation. Funding agencies such as Wellcome Trust, CERN, UNESCO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others have established similar mandates. Many of them still determine that the contents published in OA shall be governed by the Creative Commons attribution license CC-BY, the least restrictive of all. Despite these international agencies, the Nepal government should also play a pro-active role in the open movement, invest more in R&D, nurture young researchers, develop a culture of research among the students and provide funding to new ideas and researches leading to new innovations.