WEEK 10: OPEN SCIENCE? Or OPEN EVERYTHING?

3 May

“Sharing data will change the way medical science works…”

However this argument should not be limited to science. To limit the argument is to limit its capabilities.

‘Ushahidi’, is a social resource used to monitor issues. It is a great example of how data transparency allows us to look at issues differently, to look at them in a way that is coherent and informed. Ushahidi is crowd sourced information site which is data driven. Simply anyone can SMS a piece of information, tweet it, upload it online, and this formulates collaborative data about a selected issue. Check out the following video on what the community expects out of Ushahidi:

What the community wants

“Shared data will mean more and faster progress” this is true in the political realm, not just the science room.

Mapping violence against women: India.

Data regarding violence against women in India is mapped. But what’s the significance?

Well, it indicates where, what kind of abuse, numbers. And this illuminates that there is a serious issue in India relating to fundamental human rights of women. Illumination is key. Although it is not that simple, to see and then to fix. Data is instrumental in identifying issues in a comprehensive and informed way. It is the key to progress. It can change the way we look at violence.

Elections in countries that are still deemed as developing democracies can also be monitored through ‘free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping’.

ZAmbia Elections Data Collection

Free and open sourced data sharing is huge in terms of data transparency,  and it highlights the growing collaborative culture online. More importantly, its what data transparency can shed light on that is the real feat. The above examples harness the energy of the human swarm, with many people contributing their data, a larger story is told. A larger ‘protest’ can be made. Platforms like Ushahidi also illuminate the bottom up approach, the site is dynamic, collaborative, it always changes, and the outcome of issues can never be pre-empted. Open science, or open everything, is key in understanding big issues, and understanding is key in resolution.

REFERENCES:

Pisani, Elizabeth (2011) ‘Medical science will benefit from the research of crowds’, The Guardian, January 11, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/11/medical-research-data-sharing>

Ushahidi, ‘Monitoring Zambia elections’: http://www.bantuwatch.org/, accessed on: 3/5/12

Ushahidi, ‘Violence against women, India’: http://www.maps4aid.com/, accessed on: 3/5/12

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