Wednesday, November 23rd at 7pm at Campfire CoWorking Space in Kennedy Town 4/F Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield, Kennedy Town Research data: the government data people forget about.
Meet.37 is on research data policy and practice in Hong Kong. Not just relevant to ivory tower academics, like government data it is taxpayer funded and benefits society. In most of the developed world academic research data is increasingly being mandated to be shared via academic research networks and repositories. Hong Kong has been far behind in the matter, but despite this lack of leadership from government (sound familiar?) the individual universities are taking matters into their own hands and are now building platforms for sharing academic papers and data. Much of this is summarized in a paper some of ODHK have recently put together (see the pre-print version in SocArXiv here: https://osf.io/3egzh/). Our special guest this month is David Palmer (see picture of him recently presenting this work in Beijing) who has had a long history in Hong Kong as a Research Data & Records Development Librarian. He has worked at The University of Hong Kong Libraries (HKUL) since 1990, as Systems Librarian, Technical Services Support Team Leader, and Scholarly Communications Team Leader. He is a founding member of the Hong Kong Open Access Committee, and was instrumental in having HKU become signatory to the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in November 2009. He has led in many path-breaking projects, such as the first university in Asia to have all of its thesis collection (25,000) online in fulltext, the first institution worldwide to do an institutional upload of publication data for each researcher into the ResearcherID database, and the creation of author profiles in The Hub for each of HKU’s authors.
Setting the scene, Scott and Waltraut from ODHK will present some of the findings of their “open science” policy paper, before David presents a rare concrete victory for open in Hong Kong – the first CRIS (Current Research Information System) data portal here built upon the HKU Scholars Hub institutional repository. We will then end with a Q&A on what needs to happen next, and how can these lessons be applied to the wider open data ecosystem in Hong Kong. Program for Meet.37:
Scott Edmunds (ODHK/GigaScience): Open science policies and practices in HK, introducing the ODHK case study studying these practice https://osf.io/3egzh/
Waltraut Ritter (ODHK/Knowledge Dialogues): Innovation potential of open research data.
David Palmer (HKU): From IR to CRIS. Open e-Research from the HKU Scholars Hub.
Q&A: What needs to happen next for Hong Kong research data, and what lessons can be learned for the wider open data ecosystem?
Please come with questions and participate in the Q&A at the end. Date:
23rd November 2016, 7.00pm
Add this event to your Google Calendar. Directions:
NOTE: Do not follow Google Maps! Only 5 minutes from Kennedy Town MTR exit A, go UPHILL
Google Maps link: https://goo.gl/maps/3sYaHVScPNG2
Thank you to Campfire Collaborative Space for hosting us.
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Dumb Versus Smart Cities It seemed appropriate in the same week that Hong Kong was hosting a smart city summit to host a meetup getting valuable insight into how a true smart city – Taipei – works. Taipei Mayoral Advisor TH Schee was in town and gave us a “fireside chat” insight into the secrets of Taiwan’s success here, and inspire us with ideas on how to set up an open data policy for Hong Kong. Despite styling itself as Asia’s World City, and “smart city” being the buzzword in Government circles that everybody is targeting to get funding for, Hong Kong has a long way to prove itself in this area. A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple data sources to manage a city’s asset . Without open data to drive them, smart cities are doomed to failure, and Hong Kong’s poor digital policies means it will continue to be overtaken by its neighbours in innovation and technology. This means it is particularly timely and topical to ask policy lessons we can learn from our most successful neighbour in this field, Taiwan.
Hong Kong has dropped out of the top 10 of the WIPO global innovation index in recent years, and is currently ranked 37th in the Open Knowledge Open Data Index. And due to a misreading of the HK Government data licensing policy (which are not open or interoperable by any definition) without this overly generous scoring would mean we would likely rank 20-30 places lower. Contrast this with Taiwan, which in the last Index overtook the UK to be the highest ranked place in the world for Open Data. From the outside it seems a data-driven utopia, with a new “Minister for Data” moving from g0v.tw citizen-run open data groups such as ours to now being in the heart of Government.
TH Schee has been at the front line of this Taiwanese Open Data revolution, and has written interesting blogs on the topic, but it was great having him come and talk us through the backstory and potential policy lessons in person. With extra juice stories of the unsung heroes behind the scenes to be told. Meet.33 was our first gathering in a while, and it was great to see such a huge turnout. Thanks to Justice Centre Hong Kong for giving us the space in Sai Ying Pun at such short notice, and to Adam Severson for giving us an intro on the great work they do single handedly supporting refugee legal services in Hong Kong. Adam also give us a quick intro on the difficulties they as a NGO face decision making in an information vacuum where the government politicizes immigration and crime data but refuses to share any of it. Open Data versus Natural Disasters Getting a government sceptical of transparency to share data is a challenge, but one that Taiwan seems to have managed admirably. The process of trust building and collaboration between civic hackers and government in Taiwan had an unlikely ally: mother nature. Or more specifically, natural disasters such as the many earthquakes and typhoons that pound Taiwan with unfortunate regularity. The disastrous typhoon Morakot in 2009 was the turning point in how Taiwan dealt with data. Official government communication early in the crisis failed, causing people to turn to websites run NGOs and the civic hacker community. Web users began reporting the real-time situation on the bulletin board forum PTT and on early social media platforms like plunk. At the height of the crisis an unofficial Morakot Online Disaster Report Center was established by a group of internet users from the Association of Digital Culture. The government quickly realized that this information was saving lives, and this website was then integrated into local governments’ communication systems and updated from the official disaster response center. From the trust and experience gathered in the front line of “internet rescue management” the people involved help seed the initial environment that has allowed this open data driven society to bloom (see this published case study for more). TH presented a very detailed timeline of this covering the founding of communities such as g0v.tw and opendata.tw, data journalism and open data social enterprises spin offs, and how many the people involved in these citizen organization then made their way into the heart of government. Initially from the Mayors of Taipei and Taichung running on open data policy driven platforms, culminating in Audrey Tang becoming minister without portfolio in the new national government. How we can take policy lessons from this in soft , natural-disaster-free Hong Kong is another matter, but it shows we need to be prepared, and we need to build similar networks of organisations leading by example. One advantage Taiwan has had is a strong open source and open access community in academia (particularly Academia Sinica) that has always been a safe haven and place of continuous support for these efforts. We don’t yet have an equivalent in Hong Kong, but some members of ODHK have just put together an overview and survey on research data policy (see the pre-print), a nascent Asian open access network is forming, and this years Open Access Week looks to be the biggest in Hong Kong so far, with 3 events organised already. We recorded TH’s talk on periscope so you can see the archive there, as well as inspect his incredibly detailed slides. A one hour discussion really wasn’t enough, and we hope we can tempt TH back another time to give us more insight. We have more regular meetups in the pipeline, and our next one is on the Wednesday 12th October on open data tools at Campfire in Kennedy Town. We hope to see many of you there, and continue to build these communities that will hopefully let Hong Kong follow a similar trajectory to Taiwan. Save Save Save
Open Data versus the Mosquito The current global panic about zika can be boiled down a “data gap” issue. Gaps in understanding of why it has started spreading so rapidly now, a gulf in fathoming its effects on pregnant women (evidence linking zika and microcephaly is still only spatio-temporal rather than causational), and gaps in sharing the research data and clinical specimens that will enable the global research community to keep one step ahead of the virus spread. As with Ebola, there has been much frustration of many key players not sharing these materials. Despite the fact that in a life-and-death situation wild speculation and panic fills the vacuum, and closed data risks lives.
All this makes the zika crisis a perfect opportunity to harness the benefits and showcase the utility of open approaches. In particularly open and collaborative efforts using Open Data and Open Source hardware. An international group of makers / hackers / scientists / citizen scientists trying to develop innovative measures against zika, and Open Data Hong Kong have teamed up with MakerBay to join these efforts. Join us at the zika hackathon on the 16th February at MakerBay in Yau Tong (see their event page here). We’ll be linking up with the global google hangout with other zika hackathon participants in Brazil, Australia, Singapore, and beyond. Then discussing and pitching projects where we can contribute from here in Hong Kong. From both of our data hacking and hardware hacking perspectives, and where these different stands of “open” can be combined to produce crowdsourced data collection tools and apps to see if citizens can do better than the supposed experts in filling in these data gaps. The “Asian tiger mosquito” Aedes Albopictus, which is among 60 types of mosquito that can carry the virus if it bites an infected person, is endemic to Hong Kong. The warmer year-round weather and more extreme rainfall patterns we are currently seeing will make the city even more favourable for mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, sparking warnings from local health officials to eliminate breeding areas. On top of the threats of zika, we already have sporadic dengue outbreaks from these vectors, and the Hong Kong government currently has an Oviposition Trap (Ovitrap) screening program to detect the presence of adult mosquitoes. With only 52 locations across Hong Kong selected for the vector surveillance, and the mosquitoes having a roughly 200m range, more than 98% of Hong Kong is currently not covered and there is a need for much more data collection and presentation (the FEHD presenting not very helpful PDFs). Contrasting this with the more dynamic data driven approaches of dengue reporting Singapore uses, Kaggle competitions for West Nile Virus modelling, and Spanish efforts at crowdsourcing tiger mosquito spotting (with no Hong Kong data collected to date) show a few approaches we could follow here.
Are you interested in getting involved and use your creativity to develop innovative technologies and contribute to understand and prevent zika from spreading? Let’s meet up! The event will be co-hosted by Scott from ODHK and Ajoy, Jacky and Nicolas from MakerBay, and efforts will be longitudinal following the ongoing international hackathon efforts. For more see:
Tuesday, February 16th 2016, 6:00pm Add to: Location:
Location: MakerBay, 16 Sze Shan Street, C1 Yau Tong Industrial Building Block 2, Yau Tong, Kowloon
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See this event on Facebook. UPDATE 23/2/16: MakerBay have a write-up of this event now posted, and you can see the archived livestream below. Thanks to everyone who attended, and keep following to see how the pitched projects develop.
Taking Open Data to the Final Frontier: The Human Genome
How big is your data? Stephens ZD et al. (2015) Big Data: Astronomical or Genomical? PLoS Biol doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002195
Genomics (DNA sequencing) is a Big Data science and is predicted by some to soon exceed the demands of all other Big Data domains such as astronomy, streaming video, and social media. Hong Kong is at the forefront of this genomic revolution, local researchers making key breakthroughs in circulating DNA based prenatal testing and cancer diagnostics (also predicted to become a multi-billion dollar industry), and hosting the world’s largest sequencing centre in Tai Po (BGI Hong Kong). As we move towards “precision medicine”, all of us as patients will increasingly need to make informed decisions based on how medicines, treatments and lifestyle choices are interact with our genetic background. Despite that, genomic literacy and understanding of the cutting edge work in this rapidly growing field by the Hong Kong public is very poor, with little local awareness as to what it entails, and how it will be soon impacting upon all of their lives. In an era of “direct to consumer” DNA sequencing pioneered by companies such as 23&Me, millions of people now have access to their genome-scale data. Due to perceived ethical issues there can be legal restrictions to what people can do with it, with many in the healthcare industry feeling people should not be trusted to access to their own data. Countering this, there are a growing numbers of people taking matters into their own hands, carrying out genome blogging, and citizen lead genealogically/ancestry work (e.g. this PLOS paper). A new generation of tools and platforms such as OpenSNP and promethease are democratising access, citizens are crowdfunding their own projects, and genomic apps are even appearing on the market. Just this week the new DNA.Land genomic data sharing portal launched, and over 5,000 people have posted their genomic data in the first few days. For interested potential “genome hackers” we have a number of people at the forefront of this open genomics revolution presenting at this meetup, including Fiona Nielsen of DNAdigest and Bastian Greshake of OpenSNP . For a preview of what to expect see these previous events from DNAdigest and this interview with Bastian, . We’ll cover the tools and resources any non-biologist hacker can get started with (R-, python, bioconductor, and the databases you can find data). Demonstrating that the personal genomics era is already here, we’ll also have a prize draw so lucky participants can get their alcohol metabolism genes sequenced and presented through a fun new genomic app not yet on the market.
The event will attempt to address questions such as:
What questions can you ask of your genetic data?
How much can you do as a citizen scientist, what activities are reserved for academic researchers?
Sign up to this event via the eventbright link and please submit any questions or suggestions for topics related to “Hacking the human genome”. For more experienced genomics experts, the meet follows an all-day workshop on “How do I find human genomics data to power my research?“. The event is hosted at MakerBay in Yau Tong, and we’d like to thank Fiona and Cesar for their help and support in setting the event up. Date:
Monday, October 26th, 7:30pm Add to: Location:
Location: MakerBay, 16 Sze Shan Street, C1 Yau Tong Industrial Building Block 2, Yau Tong, Kowloon
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UPDATE 28/10/15: the great folks at MakerBay did a live stream and we can see the archived video version here.