[Osmf-talk] Linking University Research and OSM: Academic Working Group?

Mark Iliffe mark at markiliffe.co.uk
Wed Sep 26 21:31:33 UTC 2012

Hello All,

Thanks for your responses. Taking the format that Richard used for the Welcome Wagon I'd propose this for the Academic Working Group (AWG);


Academic institutions use OSM data. Be it part of their published research or testing hypotheses. Some of the publications are listed on the wiki: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Research. However within OSM and OSMF this research is undertaken under the researchers own initiative. Researchers are looking at OSM through recommendation (supervision) or self interest within their own academic structures. Given the growth of OSM and the research into it, it seems likely that academic interest will widen and grow.


Support academic research in OSM, encouraging best practices and acting as a forum for researchers. This has the aim to support researchers starting out with OSM but also to unify a community of existing researchers; collaborations and knowledge sharing will hopefully follow. Identification of areas of research for the community as a whole among potential themes of usability and business models (as a starting point). 


- Uniting existing researchers, either at existing institutions or those following independent academic study.
- Provide documentation (a la learnOSM) but focused for researchers.
- Provide a forum for researchers to discuss their research and bridge into the community
- Support and provide problems to the academic corpus.
- Communicate potential collaborations, needs, wants.
- More TBD

Working Group vs. Community

I think this is hitting a gap that exists in the community currently. I don't see potential areas for conflict. However that being said do we have enough members within the OSM(F?) to create and steer the working group?

WWWG vs. other WGs

There is a small amount of overlap in interest between this proposed AWG and other Working Groups.  I can see potential overlap with communications and strategic working group. Communications as this would aim to focus on building up the OSM academic community. Strategic as they may wish to commission studies or at least support them, into critical areas of OSM. 

Next steps

Again, I'll throw this to the OSMF. Where should we go from here?



On 26 Sep 2012, at 14:27, Emilie Laffray <emilie.laffray at gmail.com> wrote:

> +1 from my side.
> I would be interested in helping in this working group. I have always wished to get more involved in that kind of research without having the time and commitment to do this properly. 
> Emilie Laffray
> On 26 September 2012 12:59, Mark Iliffe <mark at markiliffe.co.uk> wrote:
> Hello All,
> As is the nature of long threads on mailing lists that many ideas get spun off. One of the many things that has cropped up when I "OSM" (as a verb), is the usability of our project's tools and processes;
> On 24 Sep 2012, at 18:55, Richard Weait <richard at weait.com> wrote:
>> Evaluating user experience on editors is out of scope for what I
>> envision for WWWG[1].
> The Welcome Wagon suggestion I think provides a way to partly solve this and drive adoption by new members, however I think there is also a way to go on the usability of the tools. This I believe is distinct from a "Welcome Wagon" group as this effects all of us, not just those who are learning OSM.
> There is an extensive list of publications on the wiki (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Research) and research on the usability of data and tools has raised a special issue of Transactions in GIS here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tgis.2012.16.issue-4/issuetoc. I think this is a small amount of work in the corpus of research on GI Usability and where OSM is used in a research setting.
> When asking questions on how to evaluate tools surely that is something which is done by academic institutions ("ie. the stuff that they're good at"), while we get on with our thing. I'm not discounting the many academic researchers in the OSM(F) who wear two or more hats in representing their respective interests, however co-ordination and collaboration are core to our project and the academic world. In effect I believe a forum where these worlds can meet should exist. Be it as a working group with clear goals, tasks or a more informal grouping on a mailing list.
> "So, let's hear it.  What do you think?"
> Best,
> Mark
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