Last summer, we launched a major programming effort to upgrade Open Context. The upgrade involves completely rewriting all of Open Context’s software so as to more efficiently scale Open Context and take advantage of technology standards that have emerged to prominence since our last major upgrade back in 2009-2011. We’ve now deployed the new version of Open Context on a testing / development server generously provided by the German Archaeological Institute (DAI).
At this year’s SAA meeting in San Francisco, Open Context will have it’s first-ever exhibit hall booth! Swing by booth #603 to say hello! If you need a reason to visit, here are three: “I have questions (or suggestions) about data publishing!” Many people have data they want share, but questions about how to go about it. We’re happy to talk about your data sharing concerns and help you understand what kind of time and effort will go into publishing your data.
Q: What do you get when you mix a room full of zooarchaeologists with 200,000 records from seventeen archaeological sites? A. An exercise in herding cats B. A research paper in PLoS ONE C. Both of the above For better or for worse, the answer, in this case, is “C. Both of the above.
With summer wrapping up and a new fellowship about to begin, it’s time to share some updates about Open Context. Warning! Much of this post is pretty geeky. So if you don’t enjoy geeking out on the nitty-gritty of archaeological informatics issue, you’re welcome to move on to something else! I’m busy working with John Ward on completely rebuilding Open Context from scratch. Open Context is now over 7 years old, and has already gone through two significant revisions.
We are happy to report the publication of a paper synthesizing several integrated datasets documenting zooarchaeological specimens from Neolithic Anatolia. The open access journal PLOS ONE published the paper on Friday. The paper presents results of a large-scale data sharing and integration study funded by a “Computable Data Challenge” award from the Encyclopedia of Life and by the National Endowment for the Humanities (see project description).
The DINAA project had a very successful reception at the 79th Annual Society for American Archaeology conference in Austin, TX last month. With several presentations spanning traditional conference papers, posters, and a lightning talk at the Digital Data Interest Group meeting, conference-goers were provided with no shortage of opportunities to learn about multiple aspects of the project and its implications for the future of archaeological research. Papers: David G.
Here’s the first of several posters about the DINAA project that will be presented at the SAAs this week in Austin. About the Poster: Yes, this poster is printed on fabric. With a tip from a colleague on Twitter, we discovered Spoonflower, a company that prints on fabric. What a result!! The fabric poster is on wrinkle-free material, the colors are accurate, and the printing is as sharp as if it were on paper.
We recently concluded a workshop for the DINAA project, held at the University of Tennessee (UT), Knoxville Office of Research on March 19th and 20th. The workshop brought together more than 30 participants, including managers and researchers from universities and state and federal agencies across Eastern North America, as well as graduate students from UT and Indiana University.
On February 13-14, the IFHA Project at UC Davis hosted the first Innovating Communication in Scholarship (ICIS) conference. The theme this year was Publish or Perish – the Future of Academic Publishing and Careers. Open Context’s Eric Kansa attended the conference as a panelist in the session “Beyond Journals & New Forms of Digital Publishing.
It’s getting to the end of the year, and I’m feeling a little retrospective and I’m (anxiously) looking forward to the future. We have enjoyed a great year with Open Context (see here). More generally, it’s obviously been a big year for all things “open.” The White House has embraced Open Access and Open Data policies, and even recognized the work of some advocates of reform, and that has been hugely exciting.
2013 has been a really big year for open data. In February, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced a new mandate for open access to peer-reviewed outcomes of federally-funded research, including publications and data. The various agencies have been exploring how they will enact this new policy, and have welcomed input from the public. Beyond these developments on the federal level, many institutions have shifted gears to promote the free exchange of data.
The continent of North American has a long and rich history of human occupation spanning more than 13,000 years. The Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) is a multi-institutional project to help make the history of settlement in the Americas accessible to everyone. The two-year project, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, began in September 2012.
In the article On Ethics, Sustainability, and Open Access in Archaeology available in the September 2013 issue of the SAA Archaeological Record, co-authors Eric Kansa, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, and Lynne Goldstein provide recommendations to the SAA for improving access to research results in archaeology. The authors welcome comments on the following five recommendations: Gain experience with Open Access. The SAA needs to better understand the opportunities and costs associated with Open Access.
While Sarah and Eric Kansa are busy finishing up field work and “data wrangling” at Poggio Civitate, our colleagues and collaborators will discuss the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) project at the 2013 Digital Humanities Conference. Josh Wells (PI) will take part in a session Current Research & Practice in Digital Archaeology (organized by Ethan Watrall) to give an overview of DINAA and our progress thus far.
We’re proud to announce that today the White House is recognizing Eric Kansa as a “Champion of Change” in Open Science. We are honored and gratified that the White House has chosen to recognize the research community in the humanities and social sciences, including archaeology, the discipline where we focus most of our efforts.
Today, Open Context’s Eric Kansa spoke (via phone) at the meeting on Public Access to Federally-Supported Research and Development Data and Publications: Data, hosted by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The meeting, taking place May 16-17, is hearing invited and public comments on the White House OSTP memo on expanding access to data resulting from federally-funded research, with the aim of informing agencies as they develop policies in response to the memo.
This blog post looks at the open access debate, and notes how sustainability is as much of an ideological and political question as it is a financial issue. It is intended to follow up on previous blog posts (first, second, third) that discussed how the Aaron Swartz prosecution and death highlighted tremendous injustices in the legal framework governing scholarly communications.
On April 17, members of the Central and Western Anatolian Neolithic Working Group met at Kiel University to participate in the International Open Workshop: Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes III. Working group participants presented their hot-off-the-press analyses of various aspects of integrated faunal datasets from over one dozen Anatolian archaeological sites spanning the Epipaleolithic through the Chalcolithic (a range of 10,000+ years).
What does a fragment of a Canton blue and white porcelain plate from the early 19th century in Alaska have in common with a stone jar from the mid-18th century Northern Mariana Islands? Give up? Both were published in Open Context this week! The two projects these objects come from also share a common theme— documenting early globalization in the greater (much greater!) Pacific region.
This has been a busy data month for me, as I prepare zooarchaeological datasets for publication for a major data sharing project supported by the Encyclopedia of Life Computable Data Challenge award. The majority of my time has been spent decoding datasets, so I’ve had many quiet hours to mull over data publishing workflows. I’ve come up for air today to share my thoughts on what I see as some of the important issues in data decoding. Decoding should happen ASAP.