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Past, Present and Future of Open Science (Emergent session): A virtual meeting set of tools for future OHBM meetings? #90

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jsheunis opened this issue Jun 25, 2020 · 49 comments

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@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 25, 2020

A virtual meeting set of tools for future OHBM meetings?

By Aina Puce, Indiana University

  • Theme: Past, Present and Future of Open Science
  • Format: Emergent session

Abstract

The idea here is for a user-friendly 'dashboard' tool that would be able to co-ordinate OHBM virtual conference activities - either on a small or large scale, that could be used not only for parts of the OHBM main meeting, but also for OHBM-sanctioned courses, & OHBM Chapter activities all year round. The dashboard could combine existing tools for online presentations with video/chat e.g. Crowdcast, for social gatherings e.g. Gathertown, social media e.g. Twitter etc. If we were clever, we could design a tool that people could also use during the face-to-face OHBM meeting too - to navigate/search poster & talk content easily [using scrapable program content that would include abstracts]. The dashboard would have to be easy for a user to navigate, & this might include a language translation tool. The dashboard would also need to provide user-based avatars, so that users could upload their photos & maximize their ability to network, include their personal pronouns & an audio recording of their name, so that everyone could learn to pronounce it correctly. Other features could also be added to maximize the social & intellectual experience that we all associate with the face-to-face OHBM meeting. How to implement this? 1. Identify desirable tools/elements that would be added to the dashboard - liase with other Open Science groups to make sure we do not invent the wheel; 2. Check for potential security/privacy issues associated with chosen applications; 3. Run a [series of] hackathon[s] during the coming year to design the dashboard - implemented via a series of projects consisting of manageable chunks; 4. Dry run the dashboard for a workshop/mini-seminar a few months prior to OHBM; 5. Fix the bugs in the system; 6. Dry-run the dashboard via volunteers again & fix any outstanding bugs; 7. Try to implement for OHBM 2021 [scale to be determined depending on COVID-19 situation...]

Useful Links

https://github.com/ainapuce

Tagging @ainapuce

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 26, 2020

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 26, 2020

Thank you Starborn. If we do go ahead we will need a lot of folks to help, so this is nice to hear!

@francopestilli
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francopestilli commented Jun 26, 2020

I like +1

@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 26, 2020

Tagging @handwerkerd

@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 26, 2020

@ainapuce Thanks for the submission! I'm wondering if we could perhaps broaden the scope of this emergent session for a few reasons:

  • There were many comments/discussions via various channels (mattermost, gathertown, twitter) on how community members have experienced the virtual OHBM meeting so far. There is also the "OHBM lessons learned" Google doc initiated by @handwerkerd which collect comments to "help aggregate lessons learned from the online OHBM 2020 meeting that can help benefit future OHBM meetings both online and in-person". Even so, it feels like it would benefit the wider community more to discuss these main points openly in the emergent format, so that more people can contribute, see and be informed about where OHBM might be headed.
  • For improved inclusivity and diversity, it would be great to hear a variety of voices speak on unique challenges experienced with attending (or not being able to attend) this year's virtual conference. We can use the emergent session as a platform to bring such voices to the front, so that those lessons can help us build a more inclusive "next-generation" OHBM.
  • The current abstract suggests a discussion that centres around workshopping the technical aspects of a suggested solution. Perhaps that could be a follow-up next step, given that the above mentioned points might bring new challenges, ideas or solutions to light?

I don't think we should particularly avoid talking about possible solutions or their implementations. And the conversation could very well lead to the same endpoint as per your suggested focus. But I think it would be beneficial to start from a broader perspective, hear from diverse voices, and then perhaps drill down into more practical aspects of implementation. What do you think?

Please tag anyone who you think could be great for this discussion.

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 26, 2020

Sure @jsheunis ! I wrote up the abstract based on the discussion we had in Gathertown for what to do with regard to dealing with the software challenges we have had - as a way to start a discussion. Indeed, I would be delighted to have a session like you are proposing, if people think this is where they would like to go first instead. If you would like to propose a session such as that, that would be great. Happy to come listen, or to contribute - or do what ever people think might be useful.

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 27, 2020

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 27, 2020

@Starborn - no google doc from my end - just the abstract that I poster here at this stage to seed thinking about the issue...

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 27, 2020

@satra
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satra commented Jun 27, 2020

having a discussion on the challenges that people face (whether social, logistic, or technological) and the kinds of features people would want to consider would be good. there are several folks who have already done some of the how and they could be invited for a brief exposure to why they did the what they did.

would be useful to consider different scales of events, bandwidth, timezone requirements for support, and since this is a common problem that many have encountered, perhaps considering what some of the more design and technology oriented folks like the mozilla foundation and others are doing/contemplating for their events would be good to initiate a chat with.

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 27, 2020

Yes indeed. After working hard on OHBMx & also chatting with the folks from Neuromatch & being involved with Neuromatch Academy, I have also made many, many valuable contacts who have & also who are willing to share their experiences of 'how to' & 'how not to' organize & run an online conference. What is the shared message I get so far & based also on my own experience as well? That it takes a hell of a lot more work to run an online meeting than a face-to-face one. The logistics - pre-meeting are way more complicated. During the meeting there must be open communication channels between those on organizing group pretty much 24/7 - given that we are doing this globally & have to vanquish the time zone problem. At OHBMx back in March we used 3 time zones [3 hubs to co-ordinate the tweeting program]. The time zones were shared with Neuromatch folks. OHBM2020 & Neuromatch Academy is also basing its activities on the 3 time zone route - this seems to be manageable - although one can fall foul of some countries changing to or having/not having daylight saving.

You know I was thinking about this the other day & I had to laugh that there is no single good solution. Just think of your lab's neuroimaging pipeline - you probably are using a number of different utilities that perform best for certain types of processes. From what I can see here with respect to running an online meeting, the same issues apply...

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 27, 2020

So I will certainly want to do a proper survey of the available options - now that we actually have the time to do that. This was not possible when we had to switch from face-to-face to completely online meeting with the lockdown in late February. I have already been compiling a list of possible utilities, so if people wish to respond here with suggesting for applications to check out, that would be great. Also, experience - good & bad with particular apps - that is also very important to get.

@savannahcookson
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savannahcookson commented Jun 27, 2020

Dan Lurie, Stephanie Noble, and I have been developing a club night/large group social event on gather.town over the past few days; we/I can share our learnings from that. (note that the club night event will be held from wednesday July 1st 10pm UTC to thursday july 2nd 2am UTC, so we would not be available for sessions during that time)

@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 27, 2020

Thanks @ainapuce. It would be great to have you and perhaps @pbellec from the OHBM side. And then a few people who have considered different technical options / solutions (as @satra mentions). Perhaps also @handwerkerd given the context of the "lessons learned" doc. And importantly also people who can highlight challenges experienced by traditionally excluded or marginalised people. The quickest challenges that come to mind are related to electricity / connectivity / data limitations, but also certain online services being blocked in some countries. I am of course missing many other challenges.

I posted in mattermost to encourage others to comment here if they are interested in joining or want to suggest someone.

@Starborn here it is

@emdupre
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emdupre commented Jun 27, 2020

In terms of folks who have experience and I would love to hear from on this -- in addition to the OSSIG organizers, of course-- I just want to tag in @complexbrains and @anibalsolon, both of whom have spent a lot of time and energy thinking about these challenges and how to address them !

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 27, 2020

Oh yeah - all good people!!! This is great. Also Enrico Glerean in Helsinki would be good to get involved - he was the one of the main brains on OHBMx. I already know @anibalsolon too - that would be great! So, for the emergent session you guys should change the abstract to something you feel will work & put the names on it. Or add other abstracts. Not sure what you guys would think would go best. I am sure Pierre Bellec will be definitely in on this too!

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 28, 2020

@angielaird
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angielaird commented Jun 28, 2020

I’m posting this here since @jsheunis requested that this emergent session broaden its scope a bit to facilitate building a more inclusive OHBM meeting.

The opening ceremony is a special time when many of our new trainees get their first glance at what OHBM is all about. Virtual viewing deprives us the opportunity of looking around the audience and seeing how diverse our community is. The lack of that representative diversity at this year’s opening ceremony was disappointing and set a poor tone for many of our newer members who at first glance likely wondered if OHBM is an accessible/appropriate community for them. As a PI, I shouldn’t have to quickly DM my BIPOC students and say “don’t worry, it’ll get better; trust me, there are so many members here just like you”. Russ tweeted an early suggestion that the opening ceremony was impersonal and might benefit from a live emcee. I would expand this suggestion and have members of the student/postdoc SIG, open science SIG, and merit award recipients play a role. This would showcase the fabulous contributors in these groups, improve the diversity of the opening ceremony, and deliver a more dynamic and welcoming introduction to all members of OHBM.

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

@Starborn: yep that makes a lot of sense. I will try to get a list of all the things we have come up with together b4 we go into the session. I am presuming you guys are already recording the Comcast sessions - that way we will not miss anything in this emergent session...

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

Yeah @angielaird. The opening ceremony this year was tough - a mad scramble to get everything together to make it work. It was meant to be live - as was my interview with Leslie Ungerlieder - crazy last minute effort on weekend b4 to do the recording. In the end we got afraid & did not want to take the risk of screwing up the start of a meeting that is this big in a HUGE way. So we punted on being very boring & conservative. That said, we are planning a live closing session if you are wishing to see a wild & crazy ride. So tune in to this one & see me try to be coherent at 2 am on the last day next week when I take over as OHBM Council Chair... Jai-Hung Gao will have the last laugh as outgoing OHBM Council Chair - it will be during his daytime!

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

@angielaird: here is something you might like to share with your students. These are some pics from OHBM in Rome last year... This first one is a pano I took with my iPhone [I downsized it so I could post it here] of the audience who attended the 1st keynote - given by Dani Bassett [who of course got the Young Investigator Award this year at OHBM 2020]. There were ~4000 people in the audience. I was hanging out on stage with her before her talk to chat with her so that it might make things a bit less stressful. When I looked out at the audience - what an amazing sight it was. What struck me? The diversity. Perhaps you will look at this image & be disappointed. From my point of view [as an official OHBM 'Dinosaur' - participating in the 'Dinosaur Symposium' in Rome in 2019 & having been to OHBM meetings since that 1st one in Paris, that was the lightning bolt that hit me standing there. Paris in 1995 was pretty much white & mostly male... So I got my iPhone out & went crazy with it & took a pano. I have a bigger file with better res if you need it.
OHBM_AuditoriumPANO_small

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

@angielaird: more on diversity. Not the best for diversity from one point of view - but from the point of view of featuring strong women for your students here are more pics from last year's OHBM. A pic of me & Dani Bassett - before she gave her [very impressive] keynote. A pic of living legend Riitta Hari delivering the Talaraich address - an event that also allows us to honor the contributions of an exceptional scientist. And a last one taken by Franco Pestilli from the 'nose bleed' section of the auditorium as I am introducing Dani with her long list of accomplishments as she sits & waits to give her keynote. Hope that helps somewhat...
OHBM2019_Dani Aina
OHBM2019_TalaraichLecture
OHBM2019_03

@soichih
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soichih commented Jun 28, 2020

@ainapuce I'd love to be part of implementing something like this!!

I've been to a few "techie" conferences (like ng-conf) that provide seamless conference social networking experience through a dedicated mobile/web app that can augment the real conference experience. These platforms starts way before the conference begins (you can login as soon as you register) and end much later than the actual conference itself. I think what we are prosing here could really be a year-around OHBM community platform that can foster collaboration and open science.

Similar to @Starborn's idea.. I've been wishing that we could propose conversation topics on OHBM conference site (and maybe allow people to up/down vote the conversation topics?) then set a date/time for chat session / virtual f2f meeting to have that conversation.

Seconding @angielaird 's comment and if I may try to address it, I think we could recommend attendants to record a 3-minutes video introduction of ourselves, and build a profile page where all of the participants' intro video can be browsed/played. I think this would create a similar effect of seeing everyone in a large auditorium. We could group people by the fields, or areas of expertise, etc.

Also to help with inclusiveness, we should give those "Leadgerboard" score whenever anyone talks(chat) to a unique attendant, and maybe give an extra point if that person is new to OHBM - or people who are from the non-neuroimaging field. Similarly, to foster networking, we could implement a feature to "introduce" someone to someone else, and give extra Leadgerboard score to the introducer - based on the initial conversation about their research topics / interest, etc. People can find anyone on the internet, but there is something special about "being introduced" by someone that other person knows.

If we could keep up with who is interacting (through chatting?) with who, then we can show all those connections as a giant graph (something like https://brain-web.github.io/community/) and OHBM organizers can identify people who are not as well engaged to others to help them connect with other attendants, or identity some un-wanted patterns (clustering, or islands, etc..) and proactively reach out to folks. (We could let people opt-in to this analysis during conference registration - so if they want to be left alone, they could).

@michele181
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michele181 commented Jun 28, 2020

Hi, sorry I am late to this. Just to flag that I have been working with climate scientists and have the help of Oxford Research Software to work on an open platform that would effectively be a dashboard integrating APIs of all these amazing tools that have been co-opted during OHBM. I have funding for this, but its main purpose is to be a general use, scalable tool (is not specific to OHBM). The funding is to run Hackathons to develop this.
My main aim is to reduce academic flying by providing a very easy to use platform (across academic disciplines).
I do not want to duplicate efforts, so would like to keep involved in this until I know if this is a separate OHBM specific project or something with a wider scope. I am building a group of people interested in this project and organising the Hackathon in the coming months

@r03ert0
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r03ert0 commented Jun 28, 2020

hello! we're very interested in the issue together with @katjaq and would love to participate in the discussion!
Our main interest is distributed collaboration. We'd love a community where we are able to work together disregarding physical location. Meeting and communicating is part of the problem, and so is having tools for real-time interaction for tasks other than document writing. BrainBox is our main example (real-time dist. collab. for MRI-like data) and we hope to take MicroDraw there as well (dist. collab. for histology-like data).
Sharing and coordinating projects, discovering collaborators, and the means for having discussions – ranging from the coffee-break-like to the full work-like – is super important. We've been pushing for the BrainWeb together with a distributed network of enthusiasts (@recoveringyank, @complexbrains, @Remi-Gau , @sofievdbos, @anibalsolon, and others) and would love to keep pushing the idea of a permanent distributed collaboration space. Ephemeral 3-day, 1-week meetings/conferences should benefit from such framework, in the same way as when you have a house you can invite people for dinner 🍩 🍨 🍰 🍭 😄

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 28, 2020

@r03ert0
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r03ert0 commented Jun 28, 2020

hi @Starborn: would you be able for a debugging session? Are you in brainhack's mattermost? Could be now if you have time :) (ping me on mattermost, i'm connected!)

@katjaq
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katjaq commented Jun 28, 2020

thank you for the ping @r03ert0 . Hello dear all, yes please count me in in this discussion and future developments 🙏

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 28, 2020

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

@michele181: that is great! I was thinking along those exact same lines, but if there is something already planned, then no point re-inventing the wheel. Sounds like people are thinking similarly in many different places.

@complexbrains
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complexbrains commented Jun 28, 2020

@emdupre thank you so much for mentioning me and @anibalsolon. Both @anibalsolon and I would love to share our experiences, ideas and humble opinions with the community. Even though we both are pretty shy in going to the stage 😊 we both and all of the Brainhack members would be happy to be involved in any work that would contribute towards building tools and workflows to create more inclusive and embracing community.

@aina @jsheunis Thank you so much for initiating and organising this, I am pretty sure it will lead us towards very valuable discussions and solutions for the future of the community 🤗

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 28, 2020

@complexbrains thanks for your thoughts. I am actually shy of going to the stage as well - and indeed if you saw the interview I did with Leslie Ungerleider you will see that this is a universal problem for scientists. You feel exposed with nowhere to hide. My own biggest fear is that I will trip & seriously hurt myself when I go to get up onstage. Have had that fear for 30+ years. So you will always find me taking a slow walk to get up there [actually good for keeping heart rate down - at least for me]... If I seem calm when I get up there that is because I am thinking: Phew, made it. :)

@complexbrains
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complexbrains commented Jun 28, 2020

@ainapuce Thank you for your supporting words. You were amazing in that interview as usual and as always it feels so comforting and warm to watch and listen to you. We are just at the very beginning of the such amazing journey and there are more experienced people here on matters therefore I personally would avoid to be taken that as if I would look like I claim any expertise on such but more my own observations, I am sure same applies to @anibalsolon too. But we both are so happy to work/discuss on how we can make the tools and sources more accessible to any so we can increase the efficiency and productivity in scientific works and engagements. Therefore happy to involve whatever it takes! So thank you again, for all the hard work you have already been given for many years and many more to come! 🤗

@raamana
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raamana commented Jun 28, 2020

[I have read through most of the comments, but in a rapid way, so I apologize if this was suggested and discussed before..]

I support the idea of collecting community suggestions to compile list of essential, desirable and ideal feature sets. However, I suggest the dashboard/platform development be commissioned (and paid for) by the OHBM from a professional software company, given 1) it’s a nontrivial thing, 2) it’s not a “sciencey” project, 3) we must avoid using [unpaid] volunteer labour for an [effectively] closed conference with a registration fee (on the higher side that too)..

We could certainly help test it through the iterative development process, but anything more seems unjustified IMHO.

This is just my personal individual opinion.

@raamana
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raamana commented Jun 28, 2020

A potential alternative is to offer a grant to a team among us to pay for the development but that might involve some complications (legal, ethical etc)

Moreover I’d hate to see this team (volunteer or otherwise) being criticized if the final product doesn’t work to the satisfaction of the full OHBM membership, which is rather large and diverse. And issue will definitely arise as we, despite being very good at research data science software, are not actually professional web IT software developers (there might be few exceptions of course).

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 28, 2020

@raamana
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raamana commented Jun 29, 2020

yes, as I noted earlier:

I support the idea of collecting community suggestions to compile list of essential, desirable and ideal feature sets.

Also, just to clear, I support the idea of developing an integrated platform to make participation easier and more enjoyable. perhaps a more beefed up app we used to use for the real-world conference help (for easy scheduling, note taking and setting up meet ups etc). Over the last week, we all commented on various forums providing feedback and suggestions.

Happy to elaborate ton of other ideas and opinions I have more in the debate (too lazy to type them out!.. Hey GitHub, support voice replies please :)..). Cheers!

@r03ert0
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r03ert0 commented Jun 29, 2020

Interesting point @raamana! One question could be whether or not the way in which we work and the tools we use for that are part of our research or not. One could ask why should neuroscientists develop stats software? Shouldn't that be left to professional statisticians and software developers? Many people in our field would argue that that's indeed the case, and they wouldn't neither spend time learning and developing stats software (just pay for JMP, SPSS or why not Excel), nor support funding for neuroscientists willing to do that work (stats, machine learning, coding, etc.). I would argue on the contrary that there are aspects of collaborative work which are specific to collaborative neuroscience work, and that they need to be investigated by neuroscientists. As researchers it will be hard/impossible to produce consumer-grade software, and that's also the case for SPM, FSL, Freesurfer, etc. Companies could better do that part, and some like GE or Bruker do ship software based on collaborations with researchers in our field. Some others like BrainVoyager have been even created by researchers from our field :)
So: (1) we shouldn't expect that researcher-created code should produce a consumer-ready product – I agree. (2) we should leave the development of collaboration methodologies in our field to companies – disagree.

@Starborn
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Starborn commented Jun 29, 2020

@michele181
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michele181 commented Jun 29, 2020

I think @raamana raises some interesting points. We should be clear on what we want to develop. If it tools to enable easier conferencing and collaborating that is great. The more it can generalise to other areas of our research, the better. If it is a platform to replace the current virtual conference, then I agree we need to think carefully about who does the work and how they are compensated.
We are currently paying a company and paying high registration fees, so it does seem unfair to have members to make tools themselves for free (unless registration then also becomes free and the tools created can be used beyond OHBM). This is why I have been working to create an all purpose, open source platform that can be used across conferences/meetings and even disciplines. The primary aim is to discourage academic flying by making it very easy to run these sorts of events (including hybrid conferences). The motivation is somewhat different, though the outcome may be similar.

It seems to me the first thing we should decide on is exactly what we want, before we decide on how to create it.

@raamana
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raamana commented Jun 29, 2020

Roberto, the difference between stats software and conferencing software is we are trained in stats (and develop them on a regular basis), but not in the development of IM software, IRC protocols, live video streaming, participant synchronization, CDN, OAuth issues, single sign-on for multiple disparate paid software, social media sync etc. I have sufficiently deep CS background, and read about these tech everyday to know that it is not only a huge project (likelihood of failing high if done by amateurs) but also that it will burn out even the most committed of us pretty quickly (as this contribution won't be valued much, for those among us pursuing science careers)..

perhaps the following analogy might help: we do research and data analysis, and not electrical maintenance and sanitation, in our research institutes, because that's what we like, are paid for and are actually good at. I make my own coffee and clean my toilets by myself at home, but I wouldn't sign up for delivering those services, for a 4000-strong international neuroscience conference.

regarding

(1) we shouldn't expect that researcher-created code should produce a consumer-ready product

I think we are within our rights to expect a working, reliable and reasonably useful conferencing solution, because we want to focus on science and not be bogged down by useless medieval archaic software that drive us away from the conference.

(2) we should leave the development of collaboration methodologies in our field to companies

see above -

also, there is absolutely nothing about the virtual conferencing or collaboration software that is specific to neuroscience. Absolutely nothing. It's plainly a conferencing software.

Again, I support the idea of paying a lab (with software developers) to develop a new or support an existing open source conferencing solution. My concern is that that lab might suffer reputational damage (among peers) if their product wouldn't live up to our expectation (and they shouldn't suffer it). Bigger concern is if the next year's virtual conference fails like it did this year, can we expect folks to keep coming back? I think OHBM is too good a community to risk such a fate, just because we failed to invest necessary $$ to develop the tools we needed.

so, we have to draw a line somewhere and identify who were are, what we do, what we do best given what we have, and focus on them.

again, I love you all, and I wouldn't discourage you from pursuing what you want to pursue. After all, this is a free world (mostly). Just be cognizant of what it is, and what you want to get out of it.

PS: this took me more than an hour to articulate and type all these, so I'd suggest we move this over to the debate format over video chat et, which would also make it easier for others to learn our diverse views and chime in (with polls etc).

@r03ert0
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r03ert0 commented Jun 29, 2020

@raamana: you are right. Given the scope of this project ("A virtual meeting set of tools for future OHBM meetings?") the issue I was discussing is not relevant : )

@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 29, 2020

Hi everyone. Such a great conversation! I think to have a fruitful discussion in one hour we should perhaps start broadly, asking: what do we want for OHBM 2021?

Everyone here has joined in somewhere on the spectrum of the topic, whether it's trying to make the meeting more inclusive, codifying the steps we could take to build a better meeting platform, or actually putting the tech stack together. To get us all on the same page, i think we should first discuss what we all would like to see next year, given the existing/new challenges, constraints and goals (e.g. global pandemic, minimizing environmental impact, improving inclusivity and diversity).

Suggestions for talking points:

  • Acknowledge the current scenario (pandemic, environmental disaster, inclusivity and diversity needs to improve) and the impact on academic conferencing (in OHBM and/or otherwise)
  • Discuss the lessons learned (so far) about the virtual OHBM 2020 meeting
  • Discuss the features we'd like to see in 2021 (high level, e.g. big virtual poster room that allows X, Y, Z)
  • Discuss how some of these features might look (more technical, e.g. poster room in Crowdcast)
  • Discuss possibilities of how to approach the implementation (crowdsources, outsourced, who pays?, ...)
  • Discuss next steps (for OHBM council, community, ...)

What do you think?

@ainapuce
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ainapuce commented Jun 29, 2020

@handwerkerd
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handwerkerd commented Jun 29, 2020

Since I've been mentioned a few times here, I do want to comment. I stumbled into combining my own ideas along with ideas I've heard from others into a "Lessons Learned" doc at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XbdgtQkPen1btBrQgk4qb1-NF_YJh8Xr7lvOolY7P9w/edit?usp=sharing Any non-anonymous person is welcome to contribute. Just contact me directly and I can give you editing or commenting permissions. There are a lot of great ideas in this thread that could be added.

Continuing with the goal of supporting diverse panels, I'm happy to help continue documenting ideas in writing, but I don't need to be a featured speaker during this session. Depending on this panel's time and my parenting responsibilities, I will try to attend and, if I can attend, I would be willing to briefly speak.

@pbellec
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pbellec commented Jun 29, 2020

@jsheunis I think it would be great to hear about people experience this year and expectations/hopes moving forward, and discuss how to move forward to make these happen. I don't think we will have time to touch on technical solutions in an hour time frame, it feels way too early. If/when a committee is tasked with building next year's HBM platform, they should have these technical discussions, inviting input from the community.

To follow up on @raamana 's points. I think there is a huge value in creating an open source technical platform to support the needs of our community. Mostly it is about re-using existing pieces, and building a few new ones, so I don't think the expertise is outside of our community. It is not about creating a new conferencing solution, but gathering the pieces that make sense for the HBM conference. At the very least, we could try to flesh out a roadmap, assemble a team, and give ourselves a deadline early 2021 to evaluate the feasability of the solution. This would give us enough lead time to switch back to communique if needed (not unlike what we ended up doing with aperture btw). The long term benefits of maintaining our own platform will be huge:

  • likely much cheaper;
  • ability to quickly adapt to the needs of HBM, especially when it comes to accommodating the needs of different countries;
  • empowering us as a group;
  • most importantly, others can re-use and build on what we have, and we can adapt, re-use what others have. In the long term this helps making the academic community at large more efficient and sustainable.

Lastly I would like to address two comments: avoid volunteering work, and the fact that HBM charges its members.

  • Re volunteering, it is at the core of functioning of a society like HBM, and we already rely on a small army of volunteers. The question is to avoid over-burdening volunteers, and make sure their work is appreciated and useful. I also think it would make sense to assign strategic funds to help build the platform, if needed, but volunteering in itself is not an issue.
  • Re charges made by HBM. HBM is a non-profit society. It contracts a company (LLMSI) to help with the organization, but all money is re-invested in the meeting, the SIGs, the chapters, awards, and now a cheap community-lead community platform. I am all for making HBM more accessible, and lowering fees in many ways, but let's keep in mind that OHBM is first and foremost a community, and not a for-profit company.

@jsheunis
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jsheunis commented Jun 29, 2020

@ainapuce yes it's an hour, although we could perhaps extend it if the following session is not yet booked.

@pbellec yes, an hour is way too short, probably even just for discussing the first 3 points. I added technical aspects to the list, since that was what the initial abstract focused on and I don't want to fully exclude aspects that anyone here might want to focus on. But IMHO it would be better to focus purely on defining what we've learnt this year and what we envision for the next event.

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ainapuce commented Jun 29, 2020

Sure. I you guys want to extend I am good with that - just do not want to take time away from other ppl who might want to present other stuff...

@raamana
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raamana commented Jun 29, 2020

again, as I noted earlier:

I support the idea of collecting community suggestions to compile list of essential, desirable and ideal feature sets.

Pierre and others, I do NOT disagree on the value of a well-integrated virtual conferencing platform. I BELIEVE IT IS ESSENTIAL. In fact, going forward, I might not pay for any virtual conference without test-driving what is being offered (as I fairly disappointed this year -- again not blaming any committee members or exec. It was just bad experience nonetheless. I apologize for my direct and blunt nature of communication).

As for

Mostly it is about re-using existing pieces, and building a few new ones, so I don't think the expertise is outside of our community.

I disagree - as I believe managing paid-services (checking registration etc) would involve lot more than making a webpage of links and thumbnails. No point delving into technical details on what the development of a well-integrated platform would entail, esp. given it is not fully fleshed out in our own heads. Atleast for what I have in mind, which may be very different from you and others, I believe it is clearly misguided to take on this challenge, esp. in the tough times of having to deal with tough academic times because of COVID19 etc.

Reg

At the very least, we could try to flesh out a roadmap

yes, as I noted few times, this is what, and this is all we should be doing.

give ourselves a deadline early 2021 to evaluate the feasability of the solution. This would give us enough lead time to switch back to communique if needed

I think this is a risky plan - given events of this year, experimental plans is not a great strategy. We should have a finished and tested solution by January/Feb 2021, so we won't be in the same situation then as we were in Feb 2020 and scrambling AGAIN for something decent. I'd be very conservative, esp given what is at stake, as I noted before:

Bigger concern is if the next year's virtual conference fails like it did this year, can we expect folks to keep coming back? I think OHBM is too good a community to risk such a fate, just because we failed to invest necessary $$ to develop the tools we needed.

That said, I agree on the advantages of owning the platform, and having the flexibility to tweak it as we go.. The solution then would be to find such a vendor, contract them out in such a way 1) we design its features, 2) incorporate easy extensibility and 3) we own the result and rights etc. If you believe we volunteers can do it, I am certain professional software companies can deliver it as well (Indian IT companies are not expensive at all!).

On volunteering, yes to avoid over-burdening them, but I am very sorry this project would not help advance the science careers of these volunteers. I have lived experience to definitively comment on this issue - no matter what fancy-speaking PIs claim on twitter, research software AND open science contributions are valued much less (if at all) than hard science publications for academic faculty positions in respectful universities. One is welcome to pursue this for personal satisfaction, and love from peers in this circle, but picking up this project is not in interest of those seeking science careers (academic or industry).

yes, to OHBM being not-for-profit. I believe in them, which is why I engage in this community actively (joined their D&IC recently as well). Being NFP doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. In fact, reducing reg fees (and hence making it more inclusive across the world) had been on agenda for a long time (I believe many of you here know this well).

Again, this just my 2 cents.

Again, I might disagree with you on some of the points, but I certainly love you all.

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