OpenWetWare steering committee/SC retreat

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The OWW retreat is a relaxed opportunity to reevaluate the mission and future directions of OpenWetWare.
Location: 68-121
Time: 1pm - 6pm

Location Suggestions

Location should be able to handle teleconferencing. Fast internet connection would probably be sufficient - we could use skype.

68-121 is now reserved from 1pm to 8pm --Sri Kosuri 14:54, 18 July 2006 (EDT)

Agenda (1pm-6pm)

Welcome/Introducion (1:00-1:30pm)

  • Why we're having this meeting:
    • Survival of OWW (technical infrastructure)
    • Decisions are currently made ad hoc, would like to have a mission statement for OWW to use to evaluate options more systematically.
    • Decide on an organizational structure to make decisions and carry them out.
  • This meeting is not a discussion of how we might specifically implement new technologies on the site (e.g. we should focus on bigger issues, rather than technical implementation details.)
  • 5 min introductions:
    • Who you are, what you currently use OWW for and your vision for OWW in the future.

Technical infrastructure

  • What would it take to keep the site operating indefinitely in its current incarnation.

Mission (1:30-3:00)

To help specify a mission statement, we have listed the current mission statement as well as outlined some of the current issues in each of the major areas of use on OWW. We hope that thinking about these issues will help to crystalize the contentious components of the mission statement.

Current mission statement

OpenWetWare is an effort to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering. OWW provides a place for labs, individuals, and groups to organize their own information and collaborate with others easily and efficiently. In the process, we hope that OWW will not only lead to greater collaboration between member groups, but also provide a useful information portal to our colleagues, and ultimately the rest of the world.

Research Laboratory Communities

  • Users have requested private pages on the wiki, for sharing sensitive information amongst collaborators.
    • Usually we can enable both collaboration and open sharing, but in this case they butt heads - what is the priority for OWW in this case?
  • Users have requested a distribution of OWW to run locally in their labs with easy mechanisms to post content to the main OWW site.
    • Is it worth our time to develop tools that are useful to biological researchers independent of the OWW site?
  • Labs use OWW as their lab/collaboration ( homepage
    • How actively do we encourage this (vs. contributing to the shared information resources)?
      • Is there a way to let these "specialized" collaborations occur while encouraging/requiring some contribution to shared resources? Should we be more explicit with rules? i.e. some of your content must contribute to the OWW community as a whole if you are going to host your site on OWW; you can't be an independent unit that doesn't "interact" with the rest of the community.
      • Doesn't having content in the OWW domain make the interaction with the rest of the community automatic?
  • Labs unaffiliated with biology have requested to be on OWW, up till now we have rejected their requests.
    • Should we remain solely a biology resource? If so, where is the line between biology and the rest of science/engineering?
      • Need to have a clear "definition" of biology to do this. May need a more formal mechanism (by committee?) to decide who can join. How is this decided now?
      • What are the worries about other sciences joining? Is it because of a scientific culture clash, or is it more pragmatic (like handling more data than we can)? At the moment, biology is welcoming fresh eyes from a variety of traditional fields like physics and applied mathematics, so it seems like limiting participation to biology only will be a fuzzy endeavor.
    • Are ethicists, policy-makers, science reporters, etc, included in our community?
    • There are currently some non-biolog