A fellow member of the OSM Foundation replied to a conversation on the mailing list: “As a guerrilla academic…“. The context was around a suggestion for increased academic cooperation within OSM. To this end I proposed a new working group for the OSMF: Academic Working Group. This would have the aim of improving the academic quality and communication of those using OSM in their research and facilitating collaboration.
Below is the start of the manifesto. It’s not complete, but it’s a start.
Academic institutions use OSM data. Be it part of their published research or testing hypotheses. Some of the publications are listed on the wiki: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Research. However within OSM and OSMF this research is undertaken under the researchers own initiative. Researchers are looking at OSM through recommendation (supervision) or self interest within their own academic structures. Given the growth of OSM and the research into it, it seems likely that academic interest will widen and grow.
Support academic research in OSM, encouraging best practices and acting as a forum for researchers. This has the aim to support researchers starting out with OSM but also to unify a community of existing researchers; collaborations and knowledge sharing will hopefully follow. Identification of areas of research for the community as a whole among potential themes of usability and business models (as a starting point).
- Uniting existing researchers, either at existing institutions or those following independent academic study.
- Provide documentation (a la learnOSM) but focused for researchers.
- Provide a forum for researchers to discuss their research and bridge into the community
- Support and provide problems to the academic corpus.
- Communicate potential collaborations, needs, wants.
- More TBD
Working Group vs. Community
I think this is hitting a gap that exists in the community currently. I don’t see potential areas for conflict. However that being said do we have enough members within the OSM(F?) to create and steer the working group?
WWWG vs. other WGs
There is a small amount of overlap in interest between this proposed AWG and other Working Groups. I can see potential overlap with communications and strategic working group. Communications as this would aim to focus on building up the OSM academic community. Strategic as they may wish to commission studies or at least support them, into critical areas of OSM.
Again, I’ll throw this to the OSMF. Where should we go from here?
Written and submitted from the London St. Pancras to Nottingham Train.