Lab Meeting on 18 July 2019

This week we had a guest speaker - Bastian Greshake Tzvoras - but still managed to zoom through our celebrations and cool things to share.

We asked, but didn’t really answer, a few questions! Everyone (not just lab members) is welcome to brainstorm together in in our gitter room.

Celebrations and cool things to share

Kirstie wrote a little blog post for Sky News about Alan Turing being on the £50 note.

The piece closes with the following call to action:

Alan Turing will now become the iconic face of the £50 note. But he also represents everyone who has served their country, those giants of science on whose shoulders we now stand, and all people who have been - and continue to be - denied their human rights.

I look to Alan Turing both as a role model to inspire new and creative research questions and as motivation to keep fighting for equity and justice for all marginalised members of our society. In his own words: “We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.”

Sarah’s got herself into an infinite loop of building cool bots to do her work for her 😂

Patricia is wrapping up her current job and getting ready for new adventures. But before she goes she’ll run a “Friendly GitHub” workshop (inspired by this one) for library colleagues next week.

Louise has been learning about scientific file formats and how to improve them by learning from database design expertise. Kirstie recommended that Louise (and everyone!) should checkout Saul Pwanson’s amazing talk at csv,conf,v4 on “How a File Format Led to a Crossword Scandal”. You can see all the csv,conf talks online at this YouTube playlist.

Georgia has built a demo for the Autistica/Citizen science platform! In fact she and Bastian did it in one day!! 🙀🚀🌟 Thank you Bastian for going through all the steps with her.

Bastian and Kirstie recommend the Flat earth documentary “Behind the Curve” as a fascinating investigation of the importance of community.

Questions we’re thinking about

Kirstie is - kinda like always - wondering about the best way to communicate and share skills with the group. There are so much expertise in the group but it doesn’t feel from her (my - I’m writing the blog post 😂) that folks are learning from each other. Suggestions always welcome!

Georgia is curious about whether anyone has expertise in communicating agency and consent online, and how to make conducting scientific research in an inclusive and clear way.

Louise has been interviewing lots of people for the research engineering team (with other members of REG, not by herself!) She’s wondering if there are “easy wins” to include in the process, or pitfalls to avoid!

Yo is looking for recommendations for transcribing a different type of interview - research interviews - because at the moment it’s painfully slow 😩

Visiting Speaker: Bastian Greshake Tzvoras

We were so delighted to welcome Bastian to lab meeting today. He’s been working with Kirstie and Georgia this week on the Autistica/Turing citizen science project (which still doesn’t have its insurance certificate so isn’t public yet 😭).

He presented about his work with Open Humans: a platform that allows anyone to upload, connect, and privately store their personal data. Once someone’s added the data, they can choose to donate it, either publicly or as part of a research project. They’re working to turn the traditional research pipeline on its head, putting the data owner at the center and in control of when and with whom they share their data. (This paragraph was adapted from the Open Humans about page.)

overview of open humans goals
Overview of Open Humans, linked from their about page.

Check out the footer of his website to see some of the personal data tracking in action!

Bastian’s work for Open Humans grew from his creation of Open SNP during his PhD. (In fact, his genome data is available as the very first user of the platform!)

Beyond “just” sharing data, Bastian is really interested in open governance structures and how communities can make decisions equitably together. We - Kirstie at least - learned the word “produsage” during his talk. The concept is similar and related to commons-based peer production and both capture ideas of user-led content creation and monitoring.

Bastian be working for the next three years as a research fellow at the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris from September 2019. Thank you for coming to speak with us Bastian, we’re so excited to continue the collaboration 💖


Thank you Bastian for sharing your slides! They’re available under a CC-BY license (credit Bastian Greshake Tzvoras).