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Event 3 – Themes and Recommendations

Event 3 – Themes and Recommendations

The third Open Knowledge Network event in early July 2017, focused on discussing topics put forward by participants and exploring ways forward for the Network.  The following topics were discussed – open data sets, data literacy, building a network of open practitioners.

Open Data Sets

This discussion focused on raising the profile of open data, identifying university data sets that could potentially be opened,  encouraging data owners to share their data,  collecting usecases around how open data sets might be used in order to demonstrate the value of open data to the wider community.

  • We need to raise the profile of open data sets by making them discoverable in accessible repositories, and encouraging others to do the same.
  • Encourage people to share their data – openness is a cost-saving measure in the long term.
  • Open doesn’t necessarily mean usable. We need to provide information and tools so users can work with data.
  • Show potential data creators what analytic tools are available and how users can manipulate their data.
  • Demonstrate how data can be used outside its original remit.
  • Although we can’t predict how open data will be used, it can be useful to have a particular set of users in mind, with the flexibility to reach wider audiences.
  • We need to think about the resource implications around checking and anonymising data.

Examples of data sets that could be opened

  • Energy per building, waste and recycling, procurement, investments, travel, survey data, learning analytics, research outputs – project database, catering sales.
  • Technical equipment – useful to have an open list of technical equipment and the people who are able to use it.
  • Admissions data –  data that is currently open relates to number of applications and admissions. Demographic data is currently withheld. More explicit data would potentially be more useful to students deciding which programmes to apply to as they are only allowed a limited number of university applications.  (How much of this data is made available through the KIS?) New General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines may have an impact here.

Actions and recommendations

  • Collect usecases demonstrating demand for open data and how it might be used.
  • Collate case studies to demonstrate how data sets have already been used.
  • Identify what data students want.
  • Make list of Data Stewards accessible and open.

Data Literacy

This discussion focused on exploring what constitutes data and information literacy, how our understanding of data literacy is changing and how we can support staff and students to become more data literate.

  • Data literacy is not about being an expert on a particular data set, it’s about understanding what data means and how one might access it.
  • Information literacy is changing from retaining information, to knowing where to find information.
  • Interpretations of data can be different and subjective.
  • It’s important to be able to determine the reliability of data sets.
  • Need to be aware of inconsistencies in data and unconscious bias in algorithms, and how they encode the bias of their creators.
  • Need reassurance that the data creator has a degree of understanding of how the data works.
  • Should we be able to query and manipulate data in order to be data literate?  Do we need programming knowledge, or simply better tools?
  • Data literacy should incorporate thinking about what happens to personal data. Who gathers data about you?  Who retains  and has access to this data? What do they do with it?

Actions and recommendations

  • Create an Information Literacy Hub providing access to resources and support on digital literacy, data literacy, information literacy, and copyright.
  • Wikipedia and Wiki Data are great resources for teaching people how data is created. You can see how it has been pieced together by different authors, which in turn encourages students to question and interrogate data.

Building a Network of Open Practitioners

This discussion explored how we can build a network of open practitioners and help to enable colleagues to find other open practitioners working in the university and further afield.

  • How can we encourage more networking within the university around Open Knowledge? Social media works more widely with open educators all over the world. But what about internally, can we replicate this?
  • Use existing networks rather than creating new ones.
  • Face to face meetings are useful. OKN is an existing network, continuing these meetings on a regular basis would support the development of a network.
  • Events are good for networking, but how do we get researchers involved? Data literacy training events, and thematic events might be useful, to draw together people with similar interests.
  • Promote open practice in our everyday work and focus on being open advocates.
  • Promote and encourage the use of existing hashtags and social media. Hashtags may not reach people who are not currently engaged with social media but are useful for connecting people who are already engaged.

Actions and recommendations

  • Use the IS Innovation Fund.  Allocating funding to projects using open resources would encourage colleagues to engage with open practice and open data.
  • Incorporating hashtags (e.g. #oer, #opendata, #openscot, #opendataEDB, #ukoer) in staff profiles would help to broaden existing networks within the university. This would improve discoverability as the University website has good search functionality.  This would raise the visibility of open practitioners within the institution – linking, locating and advocating.  Consider  include an option for hashtags in the Edweb staff profiles template?

UoE OKN Sustainability

How can we build a sustainable Open Knowledge Network.  Has the network been useful and beneficial? Should it continue?

  • While there is value in sharing experiences of open practice within the univeristy, we could further this by linking with Open Knowledge Scotland.
  • In order the get the best outcome, it may be helpful to split internal university goals and wider external goals and consider them separately. Researchers/teachers/administrators may have different priorities. It’s useful to bring communities together but maybe we should also think about differences?
  • Think about running practical workshops rather than information events.  E.g. How to use data visualisation tools.  Embedding data literacy in courses. IPR and open licensing.  Identify areas to focus on and then run practical sessions.
  • Further embedding open practice into policy might be a useful objective for the future.
  • Consider passing the network onto another community within  the University? E.g. those involved in open research or open data?
  • Alternatively consider a model similar to the elearning@ed forum, where the committee and aims change annually.
  • Demonstrate the purpose and value of the network. Report back to the IS innovation fund with achievements so far,  a list of further goals  and apply for continued funding.


Event 2 – Presentations

Event 2 – Presentations

On Friday 28th April 35 colleagues from across the University came together for the second UoE Open Knowledge Network meet up.  The event featured a morning of speakers followed by workshops in the afternoon.  Guillaume Evrard has created a Storify of tweets from the event here University of Edinburgh Open Knowledge Network

PhD Thesis Digitisation Project

by Gavin Willshaw, University Library & Collections

Wikipedia in the Classroom –  World Christianity

by Alex Chow, School of Divinity

Details about this course can be found on Alex’s Wikipedia page here Wikipedia in the Classroom


by Jeremy Knox, Research in Digital Education

MOOC Production at UoE

by Jo Spiller, Education Development & Enhancement

International Open Science Conference report

by Lorna M. Campbell, Learning, Teaching and Web Division

A transcript of Lorna’s talk is available from her blog here International Open Science Conference Report .

UoE Internet of Things Programme

by Ewan Klein, School of Informatics

Ewan’s slides can be accessed from SharePoint here University IoT Programme.

Use of Wikipedia as a teaching tool in Biomedical Sciences

by Chris Harlow, Centre for reproductive Health

Open Data at the University of Edinburgh

by Wilbert Kraan, Data Architect

Learning by Developing in a Living Lab

by James Stewart, Institute for Science, Technology and Innovation

Introduction to Edinburgh DataShare

by Pauline Ward, Data Library

Edinburgh DataShare is a digital repository of research data produced at the University of Edinburgh, hosted by Information Services. Edinburgh University researchers who have produced research data associated with an existing or forthcoming publication, or which has potential use for other researchers, are invited to upload their dataset for sharing and safekeeping.

Wikidata and Histropedia Workshop

by Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence

Slides and resources from Ewan’s workshop are available from Google drive here Wikidata and Histropedia.

Incentivising Open Research

Incentivising Open Research

In addition to a keynote and lightning talks, the recent UoE Open Knowledge Network event hosted a series of parallel discussion sessions focused on open educational resources, the interface between unrestricted and open data and incentivising the sharing of research data.  This latter session, led by Pauline Ward of the Data Library, identified a number of key points to address and potential actions to take forward.

Key Points

Greater sharing of research data can happen through:

  • Financial incentives.
  • Culture shift to ‘open by default’.
  • Leading by example e.g. raise awareness of clinical anonymised data already in DataShare.
  • Encouraging all researchers to put their own data on wikidata. Raising awareness of Wikidata’s potential for data linkage and visualisation, reputational gain, powerful analytics, citation impact.
  • Clarity asap from HEFCE on how impact (from data in particular) will be defined and measured in the next REF.
  • New research to demonstrate increased citation impact from sharing data.


1. Formulate an offer of training on DataShare and Wikidata as an incentive for a volunteer researcher to become a Data Champion (for the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, after the Data Safe Haven becomes available this Summer).

2. Ensure clear guidance is available to researchers on how to mitigate the risk of infringing the General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force in 2018. (There has been concern the stringent penalties may be deterring data sharing.)

We’d welcome thoughts and comments on these points and actions, so please let us know what you think.

UoEOKN breakout sessions, CC BY Natalie L.Carthy
Sharing Practice – Free For All

Sharing Practice – Free For All

The first University of Edinburgh Open Knowledge Network event took place at the Informatics Forum on Tuesday 31st January.  The aim of the event was to enable colleagues to share practice and to highlight some of the diverse range open knowledge activities going on around the University.  Open Knowledge is about creating an inclusive, international community and sharing knowledge both within and outwith the bounds of the institution.

A storify of tweets and pictures from the event is available here: UoE Open Knowledge Network 1 

Lorna M. Campbell introducing the UoE Open Knowledge Network, CC BY Stephanie Farley

Free For All

The University of Edinburgh recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Library of Scotland encouraging collaboration and partnerships between the two organisations and we were delighted to welcome Gill Hamilton, Digital Access Manager at the NLS, to open the UoE Open Knowledge Network.  Gill gave an inspiring keynote that provided a unique historical over view of openness and also highlighted some of the National Library’s open initiatives including sharing image collections on flickr, hosting Wikimedians in Residence, and making data available through the NLS Data Foundry.  Gill also spoke about some of her own personal open knowledge activities:

“I like to edit lochs and dead women and remove hyperbole on Wikipedia

Ultimately Gill reminded us that open knowledge and open data are more important than ever in this era of “alternative truths”.

Following Gill’s keynote we had a series of lightning talks from colleagues around the University, some of which are included here.

OER Policy at the University of Edinburgh

– Stuart Nicol, Education Development and Enhancement

We are not in a post facts world

– Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence

Open Content / Open Collections

– Claire Knowles, Library and University Collections

Open Data in the Global South

– Dan van der Horst, Geosciences

MESH – Mapping Edinburgh’s Social History

– Richard Rodger
[PDF Download]

Edinburgh Cityscope Data and Features

– Richard Good

Open Data: who decides?

– Dave Berry, Enterprise Architecture

Building student capital through student led outreach engagement and learning development

– Colin Graham, Geosciences

Event 1 – Sharing Practice

Event 1 – Sharing Practice

Date: 31 January 2017, 09.30- 15.00
Venue: Informatics Forum
Hashtag: #UoEOKN

The first UoE Open Knowledge Network event will feature an opening talk by Gill Hamilton Digital Access Manager, National Library of Scotland, followed by a series of lightning talks highlighting open knowledge activities and initiatives around the university, followed by break out sessions to discuss relevant issues and future activities.  


09.15 – 09.30 Coffee

09.30 – 09.45 Introduction – Ewan Klein and Lorna M. Campbell

09.45 – 10.20 Opening Talk – Gill Hamilton, Digital Access Manager, National Library of Scotland

10.20 – 11.30 Lightning Talks Panel 1

10.20 – 10.30 Stuart Nicol, OER Policy, EDE

10.30 – 10.40 Colin Graham, Senior Professorial Fellow, Geosciences

10.40 – 10.50 Dominic Tate, Head of Library Research Support, L&UC

10.50 – 11.00 Dan Van der Horst, Senior Lecturer in Environment and Society, Geosciences

11.00 – 11.10 Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, LTW

11.10 – 11.30 Discussion

11.30 – 11.50 Coffee

11.50 – 13.00 Lightning Talks Panel 2

11.50 – 12.00 Richard Rodger, Professor of Economic and Social History

12.00 – 12.10 Jen Ross, Senior Lecturer in Digital Education, Centre for Research in Digital   Education

12.10 – 12.20 Dave Berry, Enterprise Architecture, ISG

12.20 – 12.30 Richard Good, Edinburgh Cityscope

12.30 – 12.40 Claire Knowles, Library Digital Development Manager, L&UC

12.40 – 13.00 Discussion

13.00 – 13.50 Lunch

13.50 – 14.00 23 Things prize giving

14.00 – 14.45 Break Out Sessions

  • The interface between unrestricted and open data – Wilbert Kraan, Enterprise Architecture.
  • Incentivising researchers to make their work as open – Pauline Ward, EDINA and Data Library.
  • Open Educational Resources  – Charlie Farley, EDE.
  • Delegate led sessions.

14.45 – 15.00 Plenary and next steps