I visited the RDA Plenary and the Open Science Conference + Barcamp last weeks. Besides a lot of input from other research fields I experienced a more advanced conference/workshop structure.
I often heard the feedback that the openmod break-out-groups are difficult to understand and participate (especially for newcomers). And it’s hard to follow up and work on certain topics on a long-term. I remember @stefan.pfenninger and @timtroendle collecting feedback.
So I suggest to adapt a more result orientated concept like the one from RDA Group which I like a lot. I try to sketch the idea in short:
- BG (Break-Out-Group) / Do-a-thon
A one-time event like the “normal openmod BoG”
Can be used to talk about something, do something (e.g. Write/Hack-a-Thon) or plan and create IG or WG.
- IG (Interest Group)
Interest groups are open-ended in terms of longevity. They focus on solving a specific problem and identifying what kind of infrastructure needs to be built. Interest Groups can identify specific pieces of work and start up a Working Group (WG) to tackle those.
IG could correspond to the forum “Category” (e.g. Modelling, Data, Licensing) but can also be more specific (e.g. Batteries, Wind power, Gas-sector).
- WG (Working Group)
Working Groups are short-term and come together to develop and implement solutions, which could be tools, policy, practices and products that are adopted and used by projects, organizations, and communities. Embedded within these groups are individuals who will use the infrastructure and help in making it broadly available to the public.
A working group would exist for a chosen time (1-3 years) and will work towards a specific goal (e.g. Recommendation, Article, Standard). It will need a higher degree of commitment and a more consistent input. The openmod workshops can be used to present results, include new members or simply work together. There are “chairs” for each group which are elected and function as team-leader/ motivator.
Because the openmod is big enough and a lot of people always show up and also participate in the forum, this can be a good next step. This concept does not need an overall openmod governance but can fit into the anarchic decentralized structure.
I don’t know if the concept of “group leaders”/“chairs” is suitable for us? All above elements are open for discussion and should be adapted to the needs of our community. I’m happy to hear your comments and experiences and perhaps we try this on the next workshop in Zürich.