OpenWetWare:Steering committee/Outreach chairs/SC Reports

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May 2007

This month we took a step back and started to develop infrastructure that will be useful in the outreach effort, as well as for oww members in general. We did not focus on recruitment of outreach officers or preparing outreach documents, since we would like some of this infrastructure to be in place before those efforts start.

We recognize that we need to gather more information from current oww members to better understand what they like and don't like about the current oww system. We would also like to find out how they came to join oww, and what their current usage patterns are. To this end, we have drafted an oww user survey. We would like to take the month of May to allow the sc to edit the survey, and to discuss with the extension chairs how best to implement the survey. We hope that in June the survey can be implemented and conducted. We hope that the survey will be a useful tool for the other chairs as well.

With the knowledge gained from the survey, we hope to better identify potential new members, as well as explain to them what are the benefits of oww in a more complete fashion, and focus on recruitment and developing our outreach documents.

This month we have also discussed creating an improved new user entry system through automatically generating tutorial documentation in their user/home page that will give them an immediate editing experience, and we hope a more gentle introduction to the wiki environment. We also hope, through careful design of what content is auto-generated, that this introduction can also serve to promote content creation by explaining the benefits of doing so. Finally we hope to introduce good content structure habits with this documentation which should improve the current organization of content on oww as time goes on.

In summary, as outreach officers we are committed to help the OWW community to grow. However, before getting more people involved, we felt the need to understand a bit better the package we want to 'sell'

  • Using a survey targeting the OWW community, we would like to get a snapshot of the current OWW experience?
    • Who is behind OWW ? (labs, groups, individuals ...)
    • What are they doing ? (browsing, editing, collaborate, share ...)
    • What kind of data is available (Protocols, Projects, Raw data, Lab notebook ...)
    • What is working well/ not so well ?
    • What are the expectations for the future of OWW ?
  • When someone is joining OWW, we would like to ensure that they have a positive experience and quickly understand the benefit of contributing to the community. It could be essential to trigger a 'snowball effect'.
    • Easy access to relevant info
    • Auto-generated initial content for user-page and personal projects
    • Tutorials
    • Acknowledgment system with regards to contributions
    • Easy access to current issues within the OWW community.

More specifically, we accomplished the following:

  • started looking into the google maps pluggins to create a map-based outreach officer page
  • prepared an online survey to learn more about the OWW community
  • created a list outreach@openwetware at the Outreach list page for communications within the outreach group
  • created a mock 'home page' that contains the auto-generated content

Targets for the next SC meeting:

  • finalize the questions for the oww member survey
  • finalize the content and structure for the auto-generated content (what is the content?, where is this placed?, how do we implement this?)

April 2007

We have been discussing how best to structure the outreach effort. On an organizational level, we have agreed that it is best to have people based in each area to be able to put a face to recruitment. The structure will consist of local outreach chairs in major academic areas. The responsibility of these people are to recruit and organize volunteers to head up the outreach on a school-by-school basis (and maybe eventually on a department-by-department basis to be organized by the school-level people).

The responsibilities of the local people will be to put up recruitment materials (flyers, emails, etc.), and try to give some department, or lab group presentations. Ideally we will have a set of standard materials for the local people to present - maybe a presentation, standard fliers, etc.

We need to do two main things from here - try to find regional outreach chairs, and start to prepare these materials. As a first step to prepare the materials, we are starting to collect some basic information on OWW:

  • the existing oww community - the labs, regions and countries represented
    • this will also help us recognize where we need to concentrate our efforts
  • combine existing resources together: Getting Started, Why Join? and OWW Presentations, Highlights
  • Some basic OWW facts - number of users, hits, etc.
  • list of pages that we can do a wiki tour with (similar to NCBI coffee breaks)
    • Prepare an outreach officer recruitment document that describes the position.

Please see the Outreach page for more specific details. Once these materials are gathered, we can get started putting them together into a nice compelling introduction to OWW in terms of what features it has, and what it can provide.

Targets for the next SC meeting

  • Submit to the SC a wiki document to present the goals behind OWW and the advantages to be part of it (basically a PR document, created from existing resources, that will be used later by outreach officers).
  • Survey on the current status of the OWW community (geographical distribution, areas of interests, status of the organizations involved, type of information hosted), and suggest a strategy to stimulate the OWW growth in some existing, or not existing, areas (would be great to team up with the analytics chair).
  • Recruit some additional outreach officers (at least 1 outreach officer per continent).We could use this nice combination of Google Earth and a picture album to visualize who is where.

December 2007

Julius B. Lucks 08:46, 1 November 2007 (CDT): Stub of some notes - I'll fill in soon.

  • Rolled out new content of generated user page
    • By scanning the new user pages, it looks like 16% (11/68) have changed their User page content, and 84% (57/68) have not. There did not appear to be any correlation between the account creation time and whether or not they have changed it (although I did not check this explicitly.)
      • I think changing the Welcome email to be simpler, and direct them to their new User pages would be a nice strategy to promote them changing this page.
      • Also, Bill and I have started to seed the User_talk pages with this text that teaches new users about messaging via the talk pages, as well as encourages them to edit their User pages.
  • We only have 18 survey entries. We need to do something about advertising the survey better.
    • Ricardo Vidal 11:49, 6 November 2007 (CST):I put up a post at my blog and contacted a couple of people I think use OWW. Maybe making a small button to put up on OWW-user personal sites/blogs?

Julius B. Lucks 08:59, 1 November 2007 (CDT): Over the SC list, we discussed the possibility of 'publishing' OWW works on The basic idea can be seen on the [OpenWetWare:Steering_committee/Publishing_chairs#Recent_Ideas|Publising Chairs page]. This idea has been discussed with, and they think it sounds like a great idea. We need to discuss several things:

  1. Does this idea make sense for OWW? There is nothing stopping an OWW user from publishing a pre-print derived from the OWW wiki on, but do we want to officially promote it (and thereby have somethin to do with best practices)?
  2. How can we roll this out? Bill is already working on integrating the arXiv API with the wiki, and there was talk of adding it to the biblio pluggin. This means that arXiv id's will work just like pubmed id's and people can easily cite their arXiv works. We could even make this automatic when a work has been turned into an e-print.
    • The arXiv is not yet ready to handle automatic submissions (but will be soon). We could make a 'Publish to' button or link which then describes the manual procedure of turning the wiki page into a presentable PDF for submission. We will also have to write something about authorship in there as well. We will also have to create a list of journals that will accept a publication that has been posted on arXiv (Nature, PNAS, etc.) and a contact at that journal just in case an issue arises.
  3. Identify a user or group of users that is ready to try this process out and walk through it with them.