Talk:Wikipedia Science Conference

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I notice that the description of the unconference currently says

A block of the conference will be left unplanned so that attendees can divide into groups and run short sessions on what they are interested in. Could we have a noticeboard where people post "I want to tell people about..." and "I want to learn about..."?

Yes. This is basically how I ran the unconference that I led. We a board an post-it notes. Part of the board had specific rooms listed on it, so we could schedule what happened when. Part of the board was for "sessions without a leader". If you want a session on something, but don't feel comfortable leading it, you can stick post-its in there and if someone sees it and can wants to lead it they can grab it and move it into the scheduling area. As facilitator, I also tried to find appropriate people to lead sessions that had been requested.

Yaris678 (talk) 11:56, 14 September 2014 (BST)

I have experience of running unconferences, with pitching for sessions at the start; happy to expand on this, or assist at the event. Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 14:49, 15 September 2014 (BST)
You both have way more experience of this than I so it will be great to have you involved, and don't be surprised if I leave the organisation of that block to you. ;) We will have access to decent breakout rooms as well as a main conference space. MartinPoulter (talk) 21:47, 15 September 2014 (BST)

Topics and other comments

I think this idea is really interesting, but I'm somewhat concerned about the topics/focus of the conference. If we're going to call the conference a 'Wikipedia Science Conference', then I'd really like to see it focus on increasing scientific knowledge via the Wikimedia projects, if that is possible, rather than just covering science outreach / metadata / helping scientists find funding. Those other topics are very important, though, so perhaps there could be different threads/parallel sessions covering the different topics here? Or if that isn't the purpose of this conference, it might be better to rename it? Part of a message posted by Mike Peel at 21:05, 15 September 2014 (BST) which was later broken up by inline comments.

There seems to be a misunderstanding here. Where have you got the impression that the proposed conference is "just covering science outreach / metadata / helping scientists find funding"? How is "increasing scientific knowledge via the Wikimedia projects" not covered in the themes? MartinPoulter (talk) 21:59, 15 September 2014 (BST)
I'm not sure that there has been a misunderstanding here. Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "just". Is the intention that the themes would be parallel sessions / independent parts of the conference? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:27, 15 September 2014 (BST)

If you want to escape London, then I would be willing to look into finding a venue in Manchester. Part of a message posted by Mike Peel at 21:05, 15 September 2014 (BST) which was later broken up by inline comments.

Thanks, but why escape London? What scholarly societies are based outside London? As I've said, I advocate for geographical diversity but have to acknowledge that the highest concentration of the target audience will be London. MartinPoulter (talk) 21:59, 15 September 2014 (BST)
Why should the event be in London, though? What's wrong with hosting an event outside of London? Where is the evidence that holding an event in London will ensure that everyone can attend it? Manchester's at a nexus of transport links in the UK, so it makes sense to think about it as an option. As Birmingham would be, or any other city that is well-served by public transport from across the UK? I've fallen foul of the argument that London is the centre of everything before, and I really don't think it makes sense here as a default assumption. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:27, 15 September 2014 (BST)

I'm never keen on 'invited speakers', particularly within the Wikimedia ecosphere - it would be much better and fitting to have a single approach for proposed sessions that's open to all, and then choosing proposals that best fit the purpose of the conference, rather than having a bypass route that's only available for a few people (particularly if inviting speakers means that "there will not be much time available" for proposed talks, as that can be both off-putting and kinda insulting to people that haven't been invited). Part of a message posted by Mike Peel at 21:05, 15 September 2014 (BST) which was later broken up by inline comments.

I don't understand what the force of the objection is. The invited speaker/ submitted session format works for EduWiki, and since part of the idea is to build relationships, inviting speakers who might not think of themselves as "within the Wikimedia ecosphere" is one way to do that. Who are these people who are insulted by not given the honour of being an invited speaker at a conference? MartinPoulter (talk) 21:59, 15 September 2014 (BST)
Personally, I view EduWiki as a failure - what outcomes did it actually achieve? Compare it to GLAM-WIKI - that was a conference that kick-started a huge amount of activity by UK institutes that involved Wikimedia. Eduwiki really didn't do that. So I don't view it as a good role model. I think it would be good to send invitations to submit a proposal to people to encourage them to attend the conference and to think of themselves as "within the Wikimedia ecosphere", but I can't see a good rationale for having invited talks that will make it into the conference without being reviewed for suitability for the conference. The people that might feel insulted by not being invited obviously can't be listed, as they won't have attended Eduwiki. (If you want an example, then you can consider myself, but please don't make the rookie mistake of assuming that I'm the only person that felt insulted.) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 22:27, 15 September 2014 (BST)

Date-wise, sometime in the summer break (July/August) would probably work best for researchers that also teach. September can be busy with new students (e.g., it's fresher week this week in Manchester), and Easter can be filled with preparation for exams / other conferences.

Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:05, 15 September 2014 (BST)

This last point is useful feedback. I of course won't go for July/early August because so many people are on holiday or unavailable, but I understand the problem with Easter. Thanks, MartinPoulter (talk) 21:59, 15 September 2014 (BST)
I was trying to provide useful feedback throughout my comment, and I'm rather upset that good faith hasn't been assumed here. I'm generally feeling very defensive whenever I post a comment on this wiki, and this hasn't helped - if anything, I'm less inclined to comment here further. :-( Mike Peel (talk) 22:27, 15 September 2014 (BST)

Guys. Can we tone down the drama here? I think Mike made some points that are, on face-value, useful to bring up. I suspect that Martin had already thought about most of these points and reached conclusions for what seemed like good reasons, so bringing the points up felt like a bit of an attack on something he'd put a lot of effort into. If we try to remain civil and explain what we are thinking in a respectful manner then it will probably help. Yaris678 (talk) 11:02, 16 September 2014 (BST)

Can we make this international?

I know we're only in the earliest of planning stages at the moment, but I think it would be great if we could attract an audience from outside the UK. I'm thinking especially of Wikimedians from further afield who may have a lot to add to the discussions. Perhaps WMUK could talk to other chapters and the WMF about offering some sort of scholarship system to support international attendees? Harry Mitchell (talk) 23:16, 15 September 2014 (BST)

Scholarship or not, it would be useful to get in touch with neighbouring chapters to let them know the conference is happening. At a minimum, they may be able to promote it to potential delegates in their locations. Yaris678 (talk) 11:06, 16 September 2014 (BST)
Thanks both for these suggestions. I haven't the capacity to do this inter-chapter outreach, and I know the WMUK office are working on lots of things, but there must be some inter-chapter noticeboard or mailing list that the conference can be publicised on. I hope anyone involved with the conference will keep an eye out for places to spread the word. I'm a bit wary just because I don't want to create the impression that we can afford travel expenses for international speakers, so maybe this international outreach will be best during the phase of attracting bookings. MartinPoulter (talk) 21:13, 6 March 2015 (GMT)

Planning telecon?

Hi all. If this conference is going to take place, can I suggest organising a telecon to start planning it, including getting as many volunteers involved as possible, and ensuring that everyone's on the same page? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 20:12, 27 October 2014 (GMT)

This sounds like a great idea. I would suggest that we use Skype, Google Hangout or similar. Chiefly because they allow participants to see who is speaking, in contrast to traditional "phone in" teleconf servives. (Actual video is not necessary, an indicator on a photo or name is sufficient, and is an option in both Skype and Hangouts.)
Yaris678 (talk) 17:09, 2 November 2014 (GMT)
Thanks Yaris. :-) Would anyone else be interested in such a telecon? (I don't want to turn this into a conversation about the different telecon options; let's see who's interested, and then we can collaboratively figure out which technical solution will be the most inclusive). Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 23:32, 3 November 2014 (GMT)
I've not long found out about this but am interested in contributing, and thus could participate in the telecon. Samwalton9 (talk) 00:05, 4 November 2014 (GMT)
I'd be keen to hear and discuss plans too! Ben Moore (talk) 13:15, 4 November 2014 (GMT)

Planning sub page

Planning is now going on here. Fabian Tompsett (WMUK) (talk) 09:11, 19 February 2015 (GMT)

Wp citations and ref/impact factor

I've read recently about one of the citation indices (can't remember which one) including occurrences of a paper being cited on wp being included in the metrics and in a (work) conversation the other day this came up as one of many possible factors for inclusion in the RAE/REF (or whatever it will be called in 5 years). Is this the sort of thing which might be included?Rodw (talk) 16:18, 6 March 2015 (GMT)

Hi Rodw. I think the index you're referring to was Altmetrics. There's a piece about it on our blog here which might be of interest. (Sorry, forgot to sign) Stevie Benton (WMUK) (talk) 16:34, 6 March 2015 (GMT)
Thanks for this Rod. I thought I'd included something like this in the conference themes, but it seems not- I think it was on my mind when I talked about publishing platforms and dissemination. I think Stevie is right that Altmetrics are most likely what is being referred to. I think it inevitable that the topic will come up in this conference and I encourage proposals in this vein.
  • Last year, Brian Kelly wrote, with my help, a conference poster about Wikimedia and Altmetrics which became the basis for the above blog post. Brian is writing a proposal now which I hope is on a related topic (but put in whatever you want, Brian!)
  • In his Wikimania talk last year, Cameron Neylon of the Public Library of Science spoke about "Wikipedia as the front matter for all research", quoting Tim Berners-Lee's remark that a measure of a paper's importance is the number of clicks it is away from "the encyclopedia". That was one of the talks that showed that the time had come for a dedicated conference about Wikipedia and Science. I've invited Cameron/Plos to put in a proposal.
In short, yes, the sort of thing you're talking about is exactly in scope.
I hope we'll not just talk about counting links from Wikipedia (which will encourage gaming) but the genuine impact and engagement that can come when the outputs of research are visible on Wikipedia/ Wikidata etc. MartinPoulter (talk) 21:00, 6 March 2015 (GMT)

Page format

Hi, I'm just about the worst webdesigner in the world but for public advertising it'd be good to make this page a bit pretty - I've had a first stab here - if someone wants to be bold and transfer that over (or delete it in disgust) then please do. I'd also suggest putting titles or broad themes in for the agreed speakers, and shifting some of the planning language ('has agreed') to another page (or deleting completely if it's not relevant now). Really exciting project! Sjgknight (talk) 17:07, 6 March 2015 (GMT)

Thanks for this work, Simon. I've copied in your redesign as it's a definite improvement, and I'll make the other changes you suggest. As we discussed privately, I'm giving some invited speakers plenty of time to come up with a topic, and they each might talk about anything or everything in the conference scope, so there are good reasons why there aren't themes or topics attached to some speakers, but that will change during the coming months. Cheers, MartinPoulter (talk) 21:03, 6 March 2015 (GMT)


Do/ may we have one or more Etherpads for the event? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 12:01, 29 August 2015 (BST)