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A recap of the 2019 eLife Innovation Sprint

- September 26, 2019 in Events, Frictionless Data, Open Science

Over 36 hours, Jo Barratt and Lilly Winfree from Open Knowledge Foundation’s Frictionless Data team joined 60 people from around the world to develop innovative solutions to open science obstacles at the 2019 eLife Innovation Sprint. This quick, collaborative event in Cambridge, UK, on September 4th and 5th brought together designers, scientists, coders, project managers, and communications experts to develop their budding ideas into functional prototypes. Projects focused on all aspects of open science, including but not limited to improving scientific publishing, data management, and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Both Jo and Lilly pitched projects and thoroughly enjoyed working with their teams on these projects.  Lilly pitched creating an open science game that could be used to teach scientists about open best practices in a fun and informative way. Read on to learn more about these projects, and their experiences at the Sprint. Jo proposed making a podcast documenting the Sprint experience, projects, and people aiming to that would be fully produced and edited and publish the piece during the Sprint.  Lilly’s inspiration to create an open science game came from her experience at Force11 in 2018, where she played a game about FAIR data (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). She realized that playing a game can be a great way to learn about a subject that might otherwise seem dry, and creating a game prototype seemed like a fun, accessible, and achievable goal for the Sprint. The open science game team formed with eight people from diverse backgrounds, including a game designer, board game enthusiasts, publishers, and scientists. This mix of backgrounds was a big asset to the team, and played a large role in the development of a functional game prototype. To start designing the game, the team first decided that the goal of the game should be to teach scientists about open science best practices, while the collaborative goal for the players would be to make an important scientific discovery – like curing a disease. The team crafted the storyline of the game, and finally worked on the game play mechanics. In the end, the game was made for 2-5 players and ideally would take about 30-45 minutes to play. To play, each player gets a role card — Lab Principal Investigator, Graduate Student, Data Management Librarian, Teaching Assistant, and Data Scientist. Each of these roles has personas and attributes that impact the game. For instance, the Principal Investigator has negative attributes that make sharing research openly harder, while the Teaching Assistant has positive attributes that make it easier to teach new tools to other players. On each turn, the players can draw research object cards or tool cards that help advance the game, but might also draw an event card, which can have positive of negative effects on the gameplay. The ultimate goal is for the players to share their research findings, which requires the player to draw and “research” an insight card and it’s related methods card, data collection card, and analysis card. The game ends once enough research findings are shared (either openly or with restricted access). A fun and interesting part of the game is that the players can role play their characters and see how attitudes towards open science differ and how those attitudes affect the progression of science. Hint: to win the game, the players have to cooperate with each other and openly share at least some of their research findings. The team is currently digitising the game so others can play it – keep track of their progress on their GitHub Repository.
“My team was fantastic to work with. I came to the Sprint with a basic idea and a hope that we could create a fun, educational game on open science, but my team really ran with the idea and created a game that is so much more than I had hoped for!” – Lilly Winfree, OKF

OKF delivery manager, Jo Barratt, brought his storytelling talents to the forefront for the eLife Sprint by proposing the creation of a podcast to document the people and ideas at the Sprint. Jo has produced many podcasts over the years, and thought the podcast format would offer a unique perspective into the inner workings of the Sprint. He was delighted to have two other Sprint members join his Podcast team: Hannah Drury and Elsa Loissel from eLife. Neither Hannah nor Elsa had worked on a podcast before, but both were eager and quick learners. Their project started with Jo giving Hannah and Elsa quick lessons on interviewing, using recording equipment, editing and sound design. Jo was really excited to have such collaborative team members to work with, which was very in line with the synergistic spirit of the Sprint. To capture a feel for the essence of the Sprint, Hannah and Elsa began by interviewing most Sprint members, asking them questions like about their backgrounds and what they hoped to get out of the sprint. Interviewees were also asked to give their views on what ‘open science’ means to them. Next, the team interviewed several projects for a more in depth discussion into how the Sprint works and what types of projects were being developed. In the final podcast, there are interviews with the teams from the open science game project, one on equitable preprints, the project looking at computational training best practices, and the high performance computing in Africa team. Each of these segments shows the people, methods, and progress of the projects, highlighting the diverse people and ideas at the Sprint and giving listeners insight into the process of this type of event as well as many of the problems that face the open science community. Jo’s highlight of the podcast was a conversation between current Innovation officer at eLife, Emmy Tsang, and the past officer, Naomi Penfold. They discussed their experiences hosting the Sprint, and to commented on changes they have witnessed in the open science movement. Listeners to the podcast will notice the overarching themes of openness, collaboration, excitement, and hope for the future of science, while also being challenged to think about who is being left behind in the progress towards a more open world. You can hear the full podcast (and see pictures from the Sprint) here, or listen on Soundcloud here.
“I supported them but really this was made by two scientists who had zero experience in this and I think making this in 2 days is really quite impressive!” – Jo Barratt, OKF
The OKF team would like to thank Emmy and eLife for a great experience at the Sprint!

Part of the Open Knowledge Foundation team met up in Cambridge the day before the Sprint began, and saved the world from a meteor (at an escape room)!

Frictionless Data at the EPFL Open Science in Practice Summer School

- September 16, 2019 in Featured, Frictionless Data, Open Science

In early September our Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research product manager, Lilly Winfree, presented a workshop at the Open Science in Practice Summer School at EPFL University in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Lilly’s workshop focused on teaching early career researchers about using Frictionless software and specs to make their research data more interoperable, shareable, and open. The audience learned about metadata, data schemas, creating data packages, and validating their data with Goodtables. The slides for her workshop are available here, and are licensed as CC-BY-4.0. The Summer School was organized by Luc Henry, Scientific Advisor at EPFL, and was a week-long series of talks and workshops on open science best practices for research students and early career researchers. A highlight of the workshop for Lilly was having the opportunity to work with Oleg Lavrovsky in person. Oleg is on the board of the Swizz chapter of OKF,, and created the Frictionless Data Julia libraries as a Tool Fund grantee two years ago. Oleg wrote a recap of the workshop, which we are republishing below. The original can be read here. Thanks for your help, Oleg, and for Luc for organizing!

“Open” is the new black. Everybody talks about open science. But what does it mean exactly?

Lilly Winfree of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at OKF ran a workshop at Open Science in Practice, a week long training organized by the EPFL with Eurotech Universities. It was a top grade workshop delivered to a diverse room of doctoral students, early career researchers, “and beyond” in Lausanne. I had the opportunity to assist her, and learn from her professional delivery, get up to speed with key points about Open Knowledge Foundation, the latest news from the small, diligent people working to make open data more accessible and useful. With a fascinating science background, she connected well with the audience and made a strong case for well published open research data. The workshop reignited my desire to continue publishing Data Packages, contribute to the project, develop better support in various software environments, and be present in community channels. In our conversation afterwards, we talked about the remote work culture and global reach of the team, expectations management, and the challenges ahead. Thanks very much to @heluc and the rest of the #OSIP2019 team for organizing a great event, to all who participated in the workshop for patiently and interestedly hacking their first Data Packages together, and kudos to Lilly for crossing distances to bridge gaps and support Open Science in Switzerland.

Next events

There are two upcoming events that Oleg is involved with that might be of interest to the Frictionless Data and OKF communities: the DINAcon Digital Sustainability Conference, on October 18 in Bern, and the Tourism Hackathon on November 29 in Lucerne.

A warm welcome to our Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research Fellows

- August 29, 2019 in Featured, Frictionless Data, Open Science

As part of our commitment to opening up scientific knowledge, we recently launched the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research Fellows Programme, which will run from mid-September until June 2020.  We received over 200 impressive applications for the Programme, and are very excited to introduce the four selected Fellows:
  • Monica Granados, a Mitacs Canadian Science Policy Fellow; 
  • Selene Yang, a graduate student researcher at the National University of La Plata, Argentina; 
  • Daniel Ouso, a postgraduate researcher at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology; 
  • Lily Zhao, a graduate student researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara. 
Next month, the Fellows will be writing blogs to further introduce themselves to the Frictionless Data community, so stay tuned to learn more about these impressive researchers. The Programme will train early career researchers to become champions of the Frictionless Data tools and approaches in their field. Fellows will learn about Frictionless Data, including how to use Frictionless tools in their domains to improve reproducible research workflows, and how to advocate for open science. Working closely with the Frictionless Data team, Fellows will lead training workshops at conferences, host events at universities and in labs, and write blogs and other communications content. As the programme progresses, we will be sharing the Fellows’ work on making research more reproducible with the Frictionless Data software suite by posting a series of blogs here and on the Fellows website. In June 2020, the Programme will culminate in a community call where all Fellows will present what they have learned over the nine months: we encourage attendance by our community. If you are interested in learning more about the Programme, the syllabus, lessons, and resources are open.

More About Frictionless Data

The Fellows Programme is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at Open Knowledge Foundation. This project, funded by the Sloan Foundation, applies our work in Frictionless Data to data-driven research disciplines, in order to facilitate data workflows in research contexts. Frictionless Data is a set of specifications for data and metadata interoperability, accompanied by a collection of software libraries that implement these specifications, and a range of best practices for data management. Frictionless Data’s other current projects include the Tool Fund, in which four grantees are developing open source tooling for reproducible research. The Fellows Programme will be running until June 2020, and we will post updates to the Programme as they progress.

Naturalist Datathon: Bogotá (Datatón Naturalista)

- May 15, 2019 in colombia, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Science

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. The Karisma Foundation from Colombia received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project to organise an event under the Open Science theme. This report was written by Karen Soacha: her biography is included at the bottom of this post.

Open data, naturalists and pizza were part of the Open Data Day celebration in Bogotá

Why and how to improve the quality of open data on biodiversity available in citizen science platforms, were the questions that brought together more than 40 naturalists in the event organized by the Karisma Foundation, the Humboldt Institute and the Biodiversity Information System of Colombia (SiB Colombia) on 2nd of March 2019 as part of the global celebration of Open Data Day. Expert naturalists, amateurs and those interested in citizen science came together to review the open data generated for Bogotá through the City Nature Challenge 2018. The City Nature Challenge is an annual event that invites city-dwellers across the world to hit the streets for two days to capture and catalogue nature which they might be too occupied to notice otherwise.  Using their smartphones, hundreds of people generate thousands of observations of plants, birds, insects and more, which they share through citizen science platforms such as iNaturalist. Generating the data is just the beginning of the process: improving its quality, so that they have the greatest possibility of being used, is the next step. During the Naturalist Datathon we shared guides to facilitate the identification of species, tips to review observations, as well as good practices for users and reviewers to improve the quality of the data. After a morning of collaborative work, the groups shared their learning and engaged in a discussion about the importance of data quality and its potential use in environmental monitoring especially in the context of environmental issues in Bogotá.

1.Introduction and guides for the activity 2. Roles of the participants 4. Organization of work groups 5. Collaborative review of observations 6. Discussion 7. Naturalist Kit for all the participants

The Datatón Naturalista left us with a set of outputs, specific lessons learned and a set of good practices for the participants, the organizers and the community of naturalists and open data. To begin with, this activity contributed to increasing the community of experts who actively participate in the “curation” of observations published in Naturalista Colombia, which is necessary in order to improve the quality of the data. At the end of the datathon, the quality of the data the participants worked on was vastly improved — so much so that the data will be integrated into the SiB Colombia (the official national continental biodiversity portal). As a result of this datathon, more Colombians were encouraged to participate as urban/rural naturalists. Participants also shared good practices for taking photographs and collecting data necessary for observations to be useful for multiple uses, they mentioned the importance of use licenses for facilitating the reuse and  sharing the information (Creative Commons). They also gave recommendations for the 2019 City Nature Challenge (CNC), such as the need for guides in easy-to-consume formats (such as short videos) that ought to be shared in advance of the CNC.  This guide should go beyond basic information on data capturing, and should include good practices, as well as ethical recommendations for the creators, curators, and users of information. One of the challenges that the participants highlighted was the need to recognize and integrate citizen science data as a source of information for the environmental management of the city. For the organizers, the datatón turned out to be an effective means to create conversation, connections and reflections on the how and for what of the open data, at the same time that allowed to strengthen capacities and contribute with open data of quality. Finally, this event showed that more and more citizens are becoming involved in citizen science, actively contributing to our knowledge of biodiversity, and are working collaboratively to further understand their environment and to generate information that is useful for decision-making. Therefore, it is necessary to continue promoting spaces that allow community-building and facilitate networking around open science and citizen science.  For that reason, we in Bogotá are looking forward to the next Open Data Day.   Biography Karen Soacha is interested in the connection between knowledge management, citizen science, governance and nature. She’s been working with environmental organizations for over 10 years, in the management of data and information networks, especially with open data on biodiversity. She is convinced that science is a way to build dialogue within the society. She is also a teacher, an amateur dancer, and an apprentice naturalist.  

Open Data Day: Open Science events in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Costa Rica

- May 14, 2019 in congo, Costa Rica, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Science

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. AfricaTech from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Society for Open Science and Biodiversity Conservation (SCiAC) from Costa Rica received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project and by the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA), to organise events under the Open Science theme. This report was written by Stella Agama Mbiyi and Diego Gómez Hoyos.


We organized in the UCC in Kinshasa on March 2, 2019, the Open Day event 2019. Our event was focused on Open Science in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We had about 50 participants in the event, especially students and some researchers who participated positively in the different sessions and discussions on Open Science in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its implications for sustainable development. 5 Speakers among 4 women presented various concepts related to Open Science to participants. The conference started at 8:00 and ended at 17:30. Several participants made positive comments about the event such as Florent Nday, a Biological student at University of Kinshasa who said: “This is my first time to hear about Open Science, it’s a huge opportunity for us students from developing countries. Because we will have access to a wide range of knowledge easily.” The social science researcher at Kinshasa’s Institute of Social Science, Mr. Jiress Mbumba commented, “It’s time for us Congolese researchers to promote Open Science in the  Democratic Republic of the Congo, we have an interest to share our researches, and findings with everyone to spur the development of science.” The event ended with a dinner offered to all participants.

Society for Open Science and Biodiversity Conservation (SciAc)

The training workshop on Reproducibility in Science as a link between Open Data, Open Science and Open Education, was organized by SCiAC (Society for Open Science and Biodiversity Conservation) in collaboration with the Biology Department of the University of Costa Rica, ProCAT International, Abriendo Datos Costa Rica and CR Wildlife Foundation. The workshop included general presentations on open ecosystems and data management plans during research projects, as well as training in the use of GitHub and R language for data release and data analysis code in a context of Open Science practices. The four speakers in the workshop were Diego Gómez Hoyos and Rocío Seisdedos from SCiAC, Susana Soto from Abriendo Datos Costa Rica and Ariel Mora from the University of Costa Rica. Fifteen people (66% women) from different provinces of Costa Rica (Puntarenas, Guanacaste, Heredia and San José) participated in the activity. In Central America, especially in Costa Rica, considerable advances have been made regarding open data and open government issues. Our workshop has been one of the first efforts to offer researchers tools in order for open science and open education practices. This workshop has been inspired by the project Open Science MOOC and the “Panama Declaration for Open Science”, led by Karisma Foundation and in which SCiAC took part. From this experience we see a great potential and interest of researchers in knowing the tools with which they can share the elements of their research processes. We also recognize that open science practices could have a significant impact on the teaching of scientific practice. Finally, we identify the need to carry out these training activities as a tool that seeks to democratize access to and generation of knowledge in order to face the environmental, social and economic problems faced by our society.

Open call: become a Frictionless Data Reproducible Research Fellow

- May 8, 2019 in Featured, fellowship program, Frictionless Data, grant, Open Science

The Frictionless Data Reproducible Research Fellows Program, supported by the Sloan Foundation, aims to train graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and early career researchers how to become champions for open, reproducible research using Frictionless Data tools and approaches in their field. Fellows will learn about Frictionless Data, including how to use Frictionless tools in their domains to improve reproducible research workflows, and how to advocate for open science. Working closely with the Frictionless Data team, Fellows will lead training workshops at conferences, host events at universities and in labs, and write blogs and other communications content. In addition to mentorship, we are providing Fellows with stipends of $5,000 to support their work and time during the nine-month long Fellowship. We welcome applications using this form from 8th May 2019 until 30th July 2019, with the Fellowship starting in the fall. We value diversity and encourage applicants from communities that are under-represented in science and technology, people of colour, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTI+ individuals.

Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research

The Fellowship is part of the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project at Open Knowledge International. Frictionless Data aims to reduce the friction often found when working with data, such as when data is poorly structured, incomplete, hard to find, or is archived in difficult to use formats. This project, funded by the Sloan Foundation, applies our work to data-driven research disciplines, in order to help researchers and the research community resolve data workflow issues.  At its core, Frictionless Data is a set of specifications for data and metadata interoperability, accompanied by a collection of software libraries that implement these specifications, and a range of best practices for data management. The core specification, the Data Package, is a simple and practical “container” for data and metadata. The Frictionless Data approach aims to address identified needs for improving data-driven research such as generalized, standard metadata formats, interoperable data, and open-source tooling for data validation.

Fellowship program

During the Fellowship, our team will be on hand to work closely with you as you complete the work. We will help you learn Frictionless Data tooling and software, and provide you with resources to help you create workshops and presentations. Also, we will announce Fellows on the project website and will be publishing your blogs and workshops slides within our network channels.  We will provide mentorship on how to work on an Open project, and will work with you to achieve your Fellowship goals.

How to apply

We welcome applications using this form from 8th May 2019 until 30th July 2019, with the Fellowship starting in the fall. The Fund is open to early career research individuals, such as graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, anywhere in the world, and in any scientific discipline. Successful applicants will be enthusiastic about reproducible research and open science, have some experience with communications, writing, or giving presentations, and have some technical skills (basic experience with Python, R, or Matlab for example), but do not need to be technically proficient. If you are interested, but do not have all of the qualifications, we still encourage you to apply. If you have any questions, please email the team at, ask a question on the project’s gitter channel, or check out the Fellows FAQ section. Apply soon, and share with your networks!

Citizen repository of open data and exploration of the contracting system in Bolivia

- April 1, 2019 in bolivia, Open Contracting, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Science

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Fundación Internet ( and Pamela Gonzales, one of our School of Data Fellows from Bolivia received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA) and by Hivos / Open Contracting Partnership, to organise events under the Open Science and Open Contracting  themes respectively. This report was written by Pamela Gonzales and Wilfredo Jordan: their biographies are included at the bottom. Bolivia is past due on issues regarding access to information and data. This is why Open Data Day is an opportunity to talk about data and how to generate public value through certain projects. We celebrated it with two activities.

A public repository of open data

The Fundación Internet Bolivia ( along with 14 volunteers came together to identify and save data sets about social research in Bolivia. In our country, several institutions publish data sets, studies plus information to promote their research. However, with time, some entities cease to exist and with it them the data they collected over the years. The most recent case is the Center for Information and Development of Women (, which until 2015 published data on femicide and gender violence towards women in Bolivia. This organization closed its doors and shut down its website locking us out to the data they collected over 32 years. This is why we decided to create an open data repository that works as a backup, for these lost data sets, and ensures permanent access to databases in a single place. With this in mind, we identified databases and updated their metadata. This was a good occasion to talk about the importance of open data, how they are being used, their principles, characteristics and potential uses. The second part of our workshop was intended to talk about GitLab ( and its potential to become a collaborative open data repository. After a few hours of work, we created our accounts and published some databases with their respective metadata which you can see here: The participants were interested in working on more datasets and learning the ropes to free information, so we decided to meet again every 15 days to improve our work and expand the data community in La Paz. If the interest to catalog more databases continue and there are more interested citizens, we will be ready to take a more significant step, e.g. create a catalog of open data of Bolivia. The community will have to decide. We would like to thank the facilitators for their support: Miriam Jemio, Wilfredo Jordán, Guillermo Movia, activists and open data enthusiasts who took charge of the workshop’s dynamics, and the Internet Bolivia Foundation, for letting us work in their offices and it’s interest on a subject as important as this one.

Exploration to the public contracting system of Bolivia

In order to learn more about public budgets allocated to gender, on Saturday, March 9, 2019, we commemorated with a workshop held at the offices of Bolivia Tech Hub (the most influential collaborator of the technological ecosystem in Bolivia). This event was held in the city of La Paz, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the participation of 22 people with a technical background. The workshop was led by Pamela Gonzales, a fellow of the School of Data, and began with an explanation of basic concepts of open data, followed by an introduction to open contracting. In the second part, we reviewed the Public Contracting System of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (SICOES) and the procedure to extract data from its website, the types of searches, documents obtained and formats. Although the data and information on employing are public, the problem is that this website is designed for public officials to publish the procedures and not for the users or citizens who want to navigate the website, which hinders accessibility, search and collection of data. A second point is that one of the ways to obtain all the routes of a specific contract is only possible with the Unique Code of State Contracting (CUCE in Spanish), which makes it difficult to search and obtain information, so a standardization of this Transparency platform according to open contracting standards is still a pending issue in Bolivia. In the third part of the event, we started with the data expedition. We searched for contracts related to gender, for this, we put in practice the techniques learned in the first part of the workshop, for example using Open Refine to clean the obtained data. Finally, the participants exchanged their contacts to develop common projects. As a result of this workshop, a survey we conducted for the public showed 70% interest in knowing more about open contracting and learning its standards.  


Pamela Gonzales: I’m a serial entrepreneur at Bolivia Tech Hub, a collaborative space for Technological Projects. I also organized hackathons. My main goal is to manage and develop projects. I enjoy very much building teams who enjoy taking on challenging projects. Wilfredo Jordan: Digital journalist specialized in new media. Open data activist. Blog:  

Open Data Day in Venezuela

- March 29, 2019 in Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Science, venezuela

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Centro Latinoamericano de Investigaciones Sobre Internet from Venezuela received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Latin American Initiative for Open Data (ILDA) to organise an event under the Open Science theme. This report was written by Jose Luis Mendoza. We organized events in two locations simultaneously, at two of the most important cities in Venezuela (at almost 700 Kms each) Mérida and Caracas. Within the facilities of the main universities, Central University of Venezuela and the University of the Andes. We used audiovisual aid and internet tools to host international speakers and to exchange experiences between cities. With a joint attendance of 52 students, plus authorities of the Universities and speakers from Geneva, London, Santiago de Chile, Caracas and Mérida. The event moved between the melancholy of remembering times of ingenuity and not so distant development, with great advances in open data and access to information, as well as the strong crisis that crosses the country with the challenges that this represents; and on the other hand of new proposals, programs and projected solutions that excited the assistants. Thus, we remember the times of the “bibliobus”, a walking library that the University of the Andes developed to take the reading to all the towns of the Andean mountain range where there are children of scarce resources and that makes it difficult to reach a traditional library, project that unfortunately was suppressed by the central state when removing the vehicle they had donated, also the crisis that crosses the country hindered the maintenance of said vehicle. The local chapter of Internet Society came to explain their career and the resources they make freely available to students and researchers on their website, as well as telecommunications infrastructure development projects for low-income schools. Speaking from Geneva and London, the founders of the Virtual Center of High Studies of High Energy for Venezuela, belonging to the European Organization for Nuclear Research and the Alan Turing Institute, explain how the open data of the Large Hadron Collider made possible one of the discoveries that have revolutionized science in our century, as well as the set of educational activities that in remote mode is directing your organization. The Universidad de  Andes has been recognized worldwide by its online library and the resources available in it to every user, we could not but invite the Director of the library to tell us how they make this possible even in the midst of the crisis in the country, as well as the telematics infrastructure management of the university and finally the Director of the library network of the state of Mérida. It was possible to appreciate the enthusiasm of the attendants for this type of activities, in which they learn in an experiential way the opportunities they can access through open data, both work and study, as well as being able to carry out investigations that are not visibly affected by the structural impoverishment of the universities of the country, enthusiasm that came to demand loudly that activities like these are repeated, and that cover in addition to the open data other areas and aspects of their interest, that is, the application of these data open to certain areas of knowledge.

Open Data Day in Taiwan and Zimbabwe

- March 26, 2019 in Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Mapping, Open Science, taiwan, zimbabwe

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. OpenStreetMap Taiwan, Wikimedia Taiwan and the Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) received funding through the mini-grant scheme by Mapbox and the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project, to organise events under the Open Mapping and Open Science themes respectively. This is a joint report produced by Dennis Raylin Chen and Josiline Chigwada: their biographies are included at the bottom of this post.

Taiwan: Holiday with More than Thirty Participants

The initiative of hosting an event starts simply with a few people wondering about the lack of proper self-learning material and content of traditional Chinese on Wikidata. And also the same on the OpenStreetMap project. Therefore, we, Wikimedia Taiwan and OpenStreetMap community organizers, decided to host an event, dedicated to tackle the topic mentioned above. It turned out to be quite a success, with more than 30 people joining us at the event. And we want to give our special thanks to the minigrant program of Open Knowledge International for kindly funding our event, the Mozilla Community Space of Taipei for providing the venue and at last our hard-working group.

The First Major Event in Taiwan

This is the first major event of Wikidata in Taiwan. Besides OpenStreetMap and Wikimedia communities, we also work with people with people who are interested in cultural data. Allen gives a talk about Wikidata and Dennis Raylin Chen gives a talk on OpenStreetMap. Prior to this event, our last Wikidata event dates back to 2013. Lydia Pintscher, Project Manager for Wikidata, was invited to give a lecture of Wikidata on one of the biggest Open Source Conference COSCUP in Taiwan. In 2018, Butch Bustria, a Wikipedian from the Philippines, shared his knowledge about Wikidata during a session of COSCUP. However, before the Open Data Day Events, we did not have any organized promotion in Taiwan. At the event, we used a dashboard tools developed by the Wikimedia Foundation to keep an eye on the edits on Wikidata. We ranked the contributions by bytes created and the prizes are presented before the end of the event to the top three editors.

Language Barrier on Wikidata

We ran into a translation problem due to the fundamental difference between languages. We found out that the Chinese translation of P31 is ambiguous and causing confusions. Despite some potential solutions that were proposed by experienced participants, we were still not able to find a proper Chinese translation, as its language structure is different from European languages like English or German Language. We might find out a way to work around this issue in a more direct approach as we writing the learning materials to explain the definition of P31.

Working on Geodata on both Wikidata and OpenStreetMap

Another topic on the same event is OpenStreetMap, Dennis gave a demo how to draw a building around a museum. He encouraged participants to fill the gap of the date query by Overpass API of Taiwan museums, adding address information, Wikipedia and Wikidata links.

Suggestion and Experience

After the events, organizers received feedback suggesting that we should explain more clearly the logic of Wikidata Database design, something like Q P Q triple store format. Other participants say we should edit a good item, so that others could follow our steps. From this event we gain lots of precious experience. By seeking outside-aid, we are able to host a bigger event, which we could have a full-day time to cover several issues, and the participants could have a much more deeper discussion with others.

Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) Library, Zimbabwe

Using a mini-grant that was offered by Open Knowledge International with support from other organisations, BUSE held two activities to commemorate International Open Data Day. The commemorations were held on 15 and 20 March respectively at Bindura University of Science Education Library in Zimbabwe. The first presentation was done to 16 library staff members to introduce them to open data, so that they are able to assist those who enquire about the subject in the library. The second presentation was for lecturers from the five faculties at BUSE and 26 people graced the occasion. It was attended by the Pro Vice Chancellor, Academic Deans, Chairpersons of departments and lecturers.

Group photo for participants at the Open Data Day Breakfast Meeting at BUSE

The presentation was titled ‘Introduction to open data at BUSE” with the aim of creating awareness on the importance of open data at a research institution. The comments from the evaluation forms indicated that researchers want to learn the skills to break barriers to open data, how to carry out awareness in institutions with important data which they do not want researchers to freely access, and how policies can be enacted to promote open data. Some researchers indicated that they are willing to open their research data and would encourage others to do so.

Way forward

The presentation would be done in faculty board meetings where most researchers would be available. The library would continue to create awareness among the members of staff as a way of building capacity towards open data, since there are a lot of misconceptions when dealing with open data. There is also the need to influence policy makers so that there are policies to protect both the researchers and the end users.

Josiline Chigwada making a presentation on the Introduction to open data @ BUSE



Dennis Raylin Chen is a member of Wikimedia Taiwan and a core community organizer of OpenStreetMap meetup in Taiwan. His day job is tech reporter and in his spare time, recently, he likes to review the edit of OpenStreetMap around Taiwan. Promoting Wikidata of Taiwan is one of his main focuses, making sure the Taiwan related-items are all well-organized. Josiline Chigwada is the Sub Librarian for Information services at Bindura University of Science Education Library in Zimbabwe. She holds a Doctor of Literature and Philosophy in Information Science from the University of South Africa (UNISA). Her research interests are value addition, open science, research data management, information literacy, indigenous knowledge, advocacy, marketing library products and services, and the changing role of librarians. She has a keen interest in promoting open science among researchers in Zimbabwe.

Open Data Day 2019: open science events in Benin and Cameroon

- March 21, 2019 in benin, cameroon, Open Data Day, open data day 2019, Open Science

This report is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2019. On Saturday 2nd March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. AfricArxiv and APSOHA received funding through the mini-grant scheme by the Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research project, to organise events under the Open Science theme. This is a joint report produced by Justin Sègbédji Ahinon and Yves Valery Obame: their biographies are included at the bottom of this post.

Open Data Day 2019 Cotonou, Benin

On Saturday, March 9, 2019, Open Data Day Cotonou took place at the Blolab in Cotonou, jointly organized by AfricArxiv and the Waziup Iot Clubs. Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data around the world. The main organizer of this event on a global scale is Open Knowledge International, a global non-profit organization whose purpose is to foster and encourage the use of open data to solve societal problems. Open Data Day is in 2019 at its ninth edition, and the themes selected this year are:
  • Open science
  • Monitoring the flow of public funds
  • Open mapping
  • Data for equal development
For the Cotonou edition, the main theme chosen for the discussions was that of open science. The main objective is to raise public awareness of the importance of open science and open data for Benin and Francophone Africa in general and of open access publishing. With about twenty participants and three speakers, many topics related to open in general were discussed. These include open science in Francophone Africa, open educational resources, open data and citizenship. The various speakers during the day were people who were experts in open science and open data, which made the discussions all the more interesting and at the same time stimulated public participation.   These are the themes of the different discussions of the day as well as their speakers:
  • Open Science: Introduction, State of Play and Participation in Francophone Africa
    • Justin Sègbédji Ahinon: WordPress developer, co-founder of AfricArxiv
  • Open Data Promotion in Benin: what is the role of citizens?
    • Maurice Thantan: Web Journalist, President of the Association of Bloggers of Benin
  • Open Educational Resources and Use Cases
    • Franck Kouyami: Systems and Networks Engineer, Technical Officer of the Cotonou Francophone Digital Campus and Chair of the Benin Internet Governance Forum
  • Round table: #OpenScience, #CivicTech, State of play in Francophone Africa
    • Justin Ahinon, Maurice Thantan, Franck Kouyami

Open Data Day 2019 Yaoundé, Cameroon

In fellowship with international actors for Openness, The Cameroon Laboratory for Research on Contemporary Societies (CERESC) in partnership with APSOHA and the OER-Cameroon Association, organized a conference on “Discovering infinite wealth of open data in scientific research” with the objectives of: sensitizing researchers at the University of Yaoundé I to adopt best practices of open research data; sensitize and socialize the Cameroonian scientific community to the concept of Open Data. Open Data, which was at the center of the exchanges, are data to which the access is completely public and free of right, in the same way as their exploitation and reuse. In Cameroon, Open Science and its components (open data, open access, open education …) is not yet widespread and renowned in academic circles because of weak communication and a lack of activities related to open science. Cameroonian researchers and students are therefore not always well informed of the opportunities and benefits they can derive from embracing this movement. The celebration of Open Data Day 2019 was therefore a good opportunity to continue to sensitize the research community of State Universities in general and those of the University of Yaoundé I in particular of the importance to adhere to this worldwide movement. The focus of this day’s work was sharing the experience of the National Institute of Statistics (INS), a government agency that hosts a project and Open Data database. This sharing of experience, through hands-on access to this database, allowed over 80 participants to see the benefits of open data to researchers. The majority of participants was not even aware of the existence of such a database available and opens for their research and that they themselves could supply. Challenges for the implementation of open data in academia in Cameroon remain numerous: the indifference of decision-makers, the absence of openness-friendly research policies, the glaring lack of digital infrastructures, the lack of literacy among decision-makers and researchers are a few. The very rich exchanges between participants and speakers of this conference made it possible to take the measure of these difficulties and gravities and the measures to face them. The flagship resolutions at the end of the work were to build, with external partners, an open access digital database portal for research, and to draft an Open Science policy for the University of Yaoundé I. The complete report is available at


Justin Sègbédji Ahinon is a WordPress developer with a background in applied statistics. He is strongly interested in open access issues in Africa as well as in the dissemination of knowledge and the means by which it is carried out on the continent. He is a fellow and recently a mentor of the Open Leaders program of the Mozilla Foundation. Yves Valery Obame is a teacher in the Government Teacher’s Training College (GTTC) in Cameroon, member of Cameroon Laboratory for Research on Contemporary Societies (CERESC) of the University of Yaoundé I and a Ph. D candidate in Sociology. Founder of OER-Cameroon (@oer_cameroon), an open movement devoted to raising awareness and promoting the use of open educational resources in Higher and Secondary Education in Cameroon. He discovered the open perspectives (Access, Education, Data, Science) quite recently but its vision and objectives are in line with this work of awareness, through his teachings, that he leads and shares with his students in Cameroon and developing countries on the need for equal, justice and free access to knowledge. He is equally involved, with APSOHA, in advocacy work in the academic milieu.