OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Goals

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  • Jasonk 03:09, 9 August 2006 (EDT): At the retreat we decided that the steering committee would be responsible for prioritizing the areas where OWW would expend resources (whether time or $). To serve this I think we need to have a list of short-term goals. (and probably a long-term vision as well). I put this page up just to get the ball rolling, please add/edit anything and post comments.


Short term goals (6 months)

  • Since we are putting in place an organizational structure for the next 6 months, it seems like that is a good time frame for some short term goals.

Define a long-term organizational structure for OWW leadership

  • The new structure will be decided upon in December, and new officers will be elected in January.

Encourage the growth of (a wide variety) of communities on OWW

  • The reasoning here is that the most important thing is to continue to build a critical mass of users who are comfortable using the site in their daily research. Then if we want to role out more complicated things in the future we’ve got a user base to actually try them out with (and a userbase to suggest/develop new things in the first place). I think Jay's point at the retreat about wikis being included in OS 12, and the follow up discussion about how OWW is not principally a tool site supports this focus - the strength of OWW will be in the community of users that we've grown.
    • Johncumbers 23:57, 9 August 2006 (EDT) How difficult would it be to have a refer-me program for OWW. Not to track growth, but as a security measure for the future. You either have to be referred by somebody currently on the site, or you have to be part of a university lab. If we try and implement this early on, then we might avoid vandalism and mis-use at a later date. I foresee this as a problem if we don't do anything about it.
      • Jasonk 00:17, 10 August 2006 (EDT): The ease of reverting changes (combined with having logins) all but eliminates concerns about vandalism, I think. Basically, it's a one shot and your done sort of situation, seems manageable in the long term. The problem with a referal system is that ~50% of new users are just coming in off the web unreferred. Limiting to university labs is an option, but that's more a question about who we want in the community rather than a question of vandalism I think. e.g. Do we want to ban high school students? college students not in labs? people at companies? retired scientists? ex-scientists? etc. We talked about this at the retreat a bit, and seemed to agree on being pretty open about who we allow into the community - this may be something we want to revisit at some point. As a note, there's no requirements to comment on papers submitted to PLoS one, other than a valid email and an "unambiguous identity".
  • List of communities that would fit on OWW and brief examples of projects we could prioritize in support of them.
    1. Labs
      • tutorial for adding custom recent changes for your lab
      • Develop the 'lab wizard' -- you type in the name of your lab and it autoeneartes a lab template, with LabName:Protocols, LabName:People, LabName:CustomRecentCHanges, etc... would let labs get off the ground MUCH easier. And lighten the load on superusers explaining how the naming conventions work.
    2. Courses
    3. Research fields (e.g. fanconi anemia, synthetic biology)
      • Johncumbers 23:55, 9 August 2006 (EDT) This is a good one, creating sub-communities within the wiki
      • Improved discussion areas?
      • Lab RSS feeds
    4. Institutions
      • Could build up the MIT institution page (e.g. list all shared equipment, etc) as an example for other institutions to model after
    5. Resource Centers (e.g. MIT flow facility, Caltech Microfluidic Foundry)
      • Provides a great opportunity for the user community of a resource center to troubleshoot, share protocols, and interact with the employees of the center. The caltech foundry has already expressed some interest in this, and I think it would be a great fit for the MIT flow facility as well.
  • Recruiting new groups - advertising?
  • Lucks 07:23, 9 August 2006 (EDT): I might suggest that we do a survey of how current users use OWW and see if that gives us clues into how to expand the community. I thought the brief one we did at the beginning of the retreat already showed a variety of uses that were interesting and could be expanded upon. I also think that there are a number of users that could be encouraged to use the site more (myself one of them), and it would be nice to know the reasons why they are not using it more. Perhaps the SC could undertake this survey.
    • Kathleen 08:57, 9 August 2006 (EDT): Austin set this page up a while ago for testimonials, although no one has contributed to it yet. Maybe we could put this in a more visible place and encourage contribution to the page.
      • Lucks 10:10, 9 August 2006 (EDT): Maybe we can ask specific questions that will be easier to aggregate as well as allowing the open testimonials. In order to get a response, it might be better to set up an online survey that pops up on people's talk pages so that when they are using OWW they see the message until they do the survey.
      • Johncumbers 23:55, 9 August 2006 (EDT) some of the quotes and perhaps photos would look great on the front page. rotating around for example. or is that a bit cheesy these days?

Recruit superusers

  • Suggestions? I think having the defined goals might help, because it will provide obvious places for people to plug in.
  • Welcoming committee - would help our overall retention of new people on the site, as well as more easily identify very excited folks and point them to SC-sponsored projects so they can get involved.

Improved technical infrastructure

Medium term goals (1-1.5 years)

Shared resources

  • Encourage users to contribute to shared resources pages (protocols, materials, etc).
    • Tools for tagging/categorizing protocols so that they are automatically collected.
    • Improved mechanism for creating a new protocol or material page (e.g. go through a form that automatically creates links from common areas, things like that).

Long term goals(2-3 years)

Publishing results

  • Put in place mechanisms for users to share results in a way that enables them to receive credit (e.g., firm authorship, DOIs?). This would be moving into the territory of alt publishing models.
  • Would be helped by a universal author ID and mechanisms/metrics for measuring contribution to the site.
    • Austin 15:33, 9 August 2006 (EDT): There is an extension and may be incorporated into the MediaWiki core an OpenID module. I'm not clear about details, but it appears similar to a universal ID that you can use anywhere.
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