Last Thursday I attended the Center for Open Science’s (OSF) APS Pre-Conference. It was a small, but pleasant affair. The morning kicked off with a variety of lightning talks from various academics and developers who focused on what open source / open science are and how they are beneficial to the community. I may be biased but my favorite talk was about the Open Science Framework (OSF).
The OSF is the infrastructure that allows the COS to accomplish its goals: Developing infrastructure to assist the scientific workflow, community building on open practices, and metascience (researching the science of science). Dr. Jeffery Spies, the co-founder of the COS and lead developer of the OSF gave an excellent overview of where the project is at, what it hopes to accomplish, and where we plan to work toward next.
After a quick coffee break, a second round of lightning talks commenced; this time the talks focused on open source / open science projects currently in development. One of the COS’s lead developers gave a brief, but well-rounded, talk demonstrating how even non-technical users can contribute to open source projects through a GitHub issue submission tutorial. Additionally, I spoke about a project I’m working on called Scholarly and another intern at the COS gave an overview of his project pydocx — a very useful collaboration tool.
Following a tasty lunch at Noodles & Company the group formed into a very informal round table discussion about the morning’s talks as well as comments and concerns about related areas. Although slow to start, a lot of interesting and varying view points were brought up that lead to well-mannered debates and insights into things I would have otherwise never been aware of.
The pre-conference ended with small group discussions. Individuals broke into conversations with others maintaining similar interests, networked with potential colleagues, and caught up with old ones.
All in all, the pre-conference was a lot of fun. I was able to practice my public speaking skills, make connections with lots of other like-minded individuals, and gain a deeper understanding of what I’m working on and why it’s so important.