[21th to 28th of August 2013] New York : deep dive into Open Science communities

3 hours drive from Boston and here i am, in New York. Let’s go for 7 busy days of appointments and meetings scheduled all over that big cosmopolitan city. The Big Apple has showed me another aspect of Open Science. Here, Open Science seems to be standing at the junction of different citizen, artistic and technological movements. Whether or not they are linked to the notion of “citizen science” or “participative science”, the important part is that they facilitate interactions and opening of science to other aspects of society.

Mozilla Science Lab : When Open Science Communities and Open Web encounter…    

First appointment of the week. I have the great opportunity to meet one of the most lovely and busy woman in the whole field of Open Science : Kaitlin Thaney. This young woman has been working, among other things, for Science Project from Creative Commons. And she is now at the head of Mozilla Science Lab. This project allows Kaitlin and her team to make Open Science and Open Web, whose Mozilla Foundation is a major actor, encounter and interact.

Mozilla Science Lab incarnates values from the OpenScience community and, in essence, OpenWeb values too : openness, open source ethics, and importance of cooperation. By engaging in projects on open technologies, the Mozilla Science Lab wishes to help coordinate and federate tools and initiatives developed by Open Science community. Kaitlin, in one of her article, from which i’ve borrowed some parts of this text, explains clearly the validity of this mission. The lack of coordination and communication with other interesting initiatives often brings to the concomitant creation of similar and sometimes redundant projects. It is then necessary to favor new collaborations and a wider interoperability. For instance, this can allow the adaptation of already existing tools used in the field of science to other different fields without having to start back from scratch.

Sharing the keys to understand such tools represents a major goal at Mozilla Science Lab. Moreover, science becomes more and more oriented towards computation, research depends more and more on the analysis of massive amounts of data, while scientists are expected to have all the skills and tools to understand and use the kind of data that they produce and analyze. Preparing science and scientists to this demanding environment requires a continuous training to learn the use of appropriate tools and tecchnologies. Kaitlin Thaney, through this project, helps research in general to adapt to technological challenges of the present-day era. And, to a larger extent, she places Open Science as a cornerstone of this new way of practicing research.

” It was clear that there is a pressing need for coordination, interoperability, and better communication in this space, whether you’re building digital infrastructure for high performance computing, building open source tools for visualisation, or looking for new (open) means of doing your research in the lab.”

Kaitlin Thaney : Our plan for the Science Lab : version 1.0 

Interaction between Sciences and Society : some inspiring projects

Following this first and quite fascinating meeting, Mozilla has crossed my way again several times in New York. Despite the fact that Mozilla’s “headquarters” are based in San Francisco, its new yoker community seems very active. That’s how i found the  OpenArt project sponsored by Mozilla during my visit at the EyeBeam technological and artistic center. This space offers residency and fundings to several artists that offer a mixture of art and technology in their work. Eyebeam describes itself as a sort of “creativity incubator”, as an “encounter accelerator” but also as a place of experimentation and research, labeled as “Open”. The Open Art project, launched by Eyebeam and Mozilla, stands at the intersection between art and OpenWeb. Two fields that seem to sparkle when they interact !



Public Lab : when DIY helps tackling environmental issues

People sharing and gathering around a common interest or project has occured to me as one of the major particularity of New York City. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement, which started here almost 2 years ago, may be for something in it. In this context, i encountered one of the co-founder of Public Lab : Liz Barry. With the help of 6 other co-founders, Liz decided after the New Orleans oil spill of may 2010 to federate a community around several environment topics. Indeed, Public Lab specializes in building prototypes of DIY tools and kits allowing citizens to collect interesting and relevant data about their environment.

This hub also allows to share and analyze data in a collaborative way. The way Public Lab is organized seems to have a good hang of it : they have a mailing list accessible for questions, a wikinode to start building projects, a wiki page to describe in details each and every prototypes… Everything is open hardware and open source. The goal in this project for Liz Barry is to make means and tools available to every citizen wiling to push their expertise and sharp knowledge of their environment forward. Then, what makes the strength of such a movement is the pooling of respective skills and the commitment of everyone for a common interest.

Project Noah : regain appeal and curiosity for sciences

Other encounters during this week have shown me the design of communities linked with science, whether it is for research or for communication purpose. It is, for example, the case of Project Noah. This hub allows to all curious ones to share pictures of animals or plants, taken from their place. The network is international and the website presents an incredible diversity of the fauna and flora of our planet.

Amateur zoologists as well as more confirmed ones have fun on the website, trying to define and classify exactly each species on pictures. Yasser Ansari has created this project a couple of years ago. According to him, we were all born with a researcher soul ; curiosity and thirst for learning being innate features in many children. His goal with Project Noah is to rehabilitate a taste of science into society and create a strong commitment of citizen to sciences. You’re welcome to go and listen to his interview that is definitely refreshing !

Genspace : Biohacking in New York

To discover other projects linking science and society, here is an interview of Oliver Medvedik from GenSpace, one of the first biohacker space (december 2010).

And to learn more about what is going on in France in the biohacking community, here is the talk of Thomas Landrain, co-founder of La Paillasse.

Wikipedia : a major lever for OpenScience

Take note of Lane Rasberry about Wikipédia. He considers this well-known framework as a wonderful mean of communication for health and medical topics.

On this matter, a wikiprint, that is a special one-day long event to improve and grow Wikipedia’s content, will occur shortly. This project has been proposed in the context of the OKcon (Open Knowledge Conference) on Thursday september 19th.

Citizen Science : Wealth and diversity of initiatives

What is the proper expression to define these initiatives ? “Science for citizen” ? “Collaborative Science” ? Or what about a fancy “Citizen Science” ? It is difficult to categorize this kind of projects. Shapes and formats vary. As well as the degree of involvement and interaction with the realm of research. Open and innovative spaces are also quite difficult to label for the same reasons : “hackerspaces”, “makerspaces”, … I already mentionned this issue in the previous post called Open Science in San Francisco week.

This characteristics may be explained by the essence of the projects themselves. Fondamentally, they are based on the commitment of different people and provides an individual and specific identity to every project. The common ground in this myriad of initiatives is the notion of mission and the affirmation of common values. Then, collaborative work and interactions between actors, from different backgrounds and skills, give birth to these projects and shape their respective outcome.

Thanks to these initiatives, the boundaries between science and society become then more porous. Although, it is not to say that every citizen is a researcher, or has to be one ! The goal is to create dialogue and understanding. In this context, researchers need to accept the expertise of non-scientists on certain topics. Then it is ours to have enough curiosity to take part in such initiatives (there is something to suit all tastes !) and to lift the veil that separates research from the rest of society.


Thanks to François Asperti-Boursin for the translation from french into English and Guillaume Dumas and Matthieu Lechanjour for proofreading.


[9th to 20th of August] Open Science in Montréal and Boston : A world of bubbles

After California and Oregon, Montreal and Boston were my first steps on the East coast. I didn’t stay long in Montreal but it was worth it and I left enriched with many interesting comments about the Open Science Movement. Once settled in Boston, I mostly explored Cambridge, a neighboring city hosting Harvard university and the MIT. I went there twice and got the impression that people live in very different bubbles. Some of them, though highly innovative were quite far from Open Science perspectives. Others give rise to refreshing initiatives both regarding form and content.

Montréal : Getting out of comfort zone 

HackYourPhD in the US made a short detour through Québec. 4 days in Montréal, 2 presentations and many questions.

Open Access with Jean-Claude Guédon

Freshly out of the plane, I was spending my first afternoon discussing about Open Access with Jean-Claude Guédon, an historian of Sciences at the University of Montréal. He believes evaluation and communication of science should be a continuous flow and not restrict itself to scientific publishing.  During my interview he insisted a lot on the hope that open access platforms brings to developping countries, citing ScieELO (Brazil) and Redalyc (Mexico) as examples.

HEC Montréal :

My stay in Montreal was short but rich. For the first time since the launch of HYPhD, Guillaume Dumas and I had the opportunity to attend meetings and presentations together. Two different but complementary profiles and perspectives to answer questions of people rather skeptical about the Open Science Movement.

At HEC Montréal, we faced students and researchers in business and/or economy oriented. This audience was very different from the usual one consisting mostly in researchers aware of today’s issues in Science and/or advocates of the principles of Open Science. Here, this was a discovery and each term had to be clearly defined. Some researchers did not understand what the notion of Open Science was meaning. Interesting questions were raised, among which about the definition and nature of Science, Research and the Open Science Movement and its sustainability. “Are the commons and Open Science movements just another trend that will soon vanish?”

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[22th to 30th of July 2013] OpenScience Week in San Francisco

My initial schedule was to spend a week in San Francisco. But it took me a few extra days to immerse myself with the dynamism of the bay Area in term of OpenScience and innovative spaces.

The schedule of the week was busy with 2 or 3 meetings per day, a presentation of HackYourPhD at Sudoroom (hackerspace in Oakland), a day in Berkeley and two in Palo Alto. I met many people from various backgrounds: researchers, students, entrepreneurs, artists, hackers. San Francisco is a city where you experiment, you try without fear of failure. I felt in love with this city three years ago, and I was not disappointed this second time.  In San Francisco, there are a lot of inspiring hybrid spaces. I met a lot of people in different places of the city : bars, cafes, parks, hackerspaces and undefined places … The different background sounds will give you the atmosphere. Here are some strong elements of these 10 days. More specific articles will come in a second time.

Thoughts about the future of academic and non-academic research

I met three major advocators of Open Access this week. I was glad to discuss with them and ask several questions about the future of research.

Cameron Neylon : the future of Open Access

Despite a long overseas trip, Cameron Neylon accepted to give two hours to HackYourPhD.  Cameron is the Director of Advocacy for PLOS, a non-profit Open Access Publisher created in 2001. We discussed the future of the Open Access model.  To familiarize yourself with Open Access: Here is a short article I wrote on EducPros about it (in french).

According to him, the current models « green » and « gold » will work on the short term. For the long term, there are new innovative infrastructures that will emerge. A point of particularly interest to me was the arrival of traditional Publisher on the market of Open Access.  Is there any « Open washing », meaning the promotion of Open Access for commercial purposes? According to Cameron Neylon, it is definitely the case. They adapt themselves to news uses to keep their market. But, this also means that Open Access is becoming the standard (norm and term) of scientific publication.

Here is the interview of Cameron Neylon that I recorded at Union Square ( with the bagpipes as a background sound).

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Openscience in innovative spaces : Two inspiring examples with OpEEE and the Green Neuroscience Lab

Some thoughts that emerge during my journey “HackYourPhD aux States“.

The Open materializes itself increasingly in places, which offer the possibility to catalyze projects. Here are two inspiring samples driven by visionary people.

The project led by Thanh Nghien: Open Economy Education & Entrepreneurship (OpEEE).


Thanh Nghiem plays a major role in supporting projects that embody the values of the Open in all its dimensions. She knows how to organize ideas and connects the right players to make first prototype come alive. Even more, she knows how to accelerate these kinds of projects, take them to the next level and ensure their sustainability. Her secret: recognize the key players who bring additional blocks to build multifaceted initiaves with major societal impacts.
This pollinating bee backs OuiShare, a group gathered around collaborative economy. She  follows HackYourPhD since its beginnings and has provided the boost to the campaign  HackYourPhD aux States. She is also involved at Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire (CRI) alongside Francois Taddéi, which offers a innovative vision/approach to education. Going to Vietnam, she explored the importance of culture as an essential element of impact for knowledge.

Today, she starts a major project combining all her projects.

OpEEE  for Open Economy Education Entrepreneurship  is a cross cultural collaboration between Vietnam and the CRI. She wants to create exchanges between business school students and researchers from France and Vietnam to promote innovation and its societal impact. Her idea is: Vietnam = @ccelerator of CRI and CRI= @ccelerator of Vietnam.
In the meantime, do not hesitate to watch her TED talk on knowledge sharing.

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[HYPhDUS] OpenScience Meetup in Los Angeles

This post was written by Scott Lewis (founder of Knowthecosmos). It was previously published on Google+

What about Open Science?

Yesterday (on july 18th), a group of undergraduate & graduate students, scientists, professors and concerned citizens came together at USC’s Hedco Neuroscience Building’s conference room to discuss the global need for open science. Among the attendees were myself and Liz Krane, who not only support the initiative, but wanted to better understand the needs and opportunities for the Open Science movement.

The meeting was coordinated by Célya Gruson-Daniel, the co-creator of Hack Your PhD out of Paris, France. She created a successful crowd-funding campaign to travel from France to the United States, bringing together students, researchers, engaged scientists, hacktivists, tinkerers, entrepreneurs and anybody else who are interested in the production and sharing of knowledge in a wider sense. Hack Your PhD was created in response to current ways of performing research frequently generating frustrations, conflicts and isolation, seeing a need to find a new and more efficient way to not only do science, but make sure that all results are available to other scientists and laypersons so that everyone can be better informed as to what science has already been done, what still needs to be done, and which ways it can be done better.

Scott Lewis and Liz Krane by celyagd

Scott Lewis and Liz Krane by celyagd

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[ 8th to 16th of July 2013] First days on the new continent : Last preparations and beginning of the great “tour”( Boca Raton and San Diego!)

A week has passed since I landed in the United States of America. I’ve already traveled around 8000 kms and swiched time zone 3 times. I will here describe the key moments of my firsts stops at Boca Raton, Florida and then in San Diego, California. It’s quite difficult to deal with organizing the many interviews and to add material online. But people I meet are amazing!

The many joys of air travel…

My air travels didn’t all go as smooth as planned.

After more than 18 hours in transit, 2 air travels (with a nice stop in NYC), I arrived in Miami at 8.30pm where Guillaume Dumas (cofounder of HYPhD) kindly picked me up. My suitcase was less lucky and stayed in NYC. Hopefully I stayed a few days in Miami and could wait for it and had enough with me to survive, namely my passport and my computer.



Ambiance biologie végétale sur le sol de l’aéroport de Miami

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