Future of the Barcamp Open Science: A Survey and What we Take From it

For a few years now, each spring at the Wikimedia Germany office in Berlin, we are hosting the Barcamp Open Science (#OSciBar). It is held in conjunction with the Open Science Conference. The main organization behind OSciBar is the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science. (Learn more about OSciBar here: https://www.barcamp-open-science.eu)

Since its beginning in 2013, the OSciBar changed a lot, and ultimately established itself as one of the central networking and skill sharing events for the Open Science Community in Germany and beyond. For several reasons, this year we considered making a few changes to the event. To make sure that the barcamp meets the expectations of (potential) participants, we kindly asked everyone to participate in a quick online survey and received more than 90 responses. In the spirit of open data and processes, of course we made the original survey data available on Zenodo. Additionally, we’d like to quickly summarize what we make of the results.

Of the 90 respondents, 50 claimed that they already participated in one of our barcamps in the past. This is a great starting point! – What do the answers tell us? First: the survey results clearly show that our stakeholders don’t see the need to change that much. Quite the opposite: A few of the suggestions we made were clearly more often rejected than supported. Consequently, for example, there won’t be a longer barcamp (2 days), we won’t detach its date from the Open Science Conference, and we won’t make an effort to have multiple physical barcamps at different places.

Which leads us to the changes we’re actually going to introduce in 2022, and which are supported by the survey results. First, there will be an OSciBar main event in spring on 7. March 2022 (before the Open Science Conference), again as an online event (hopefully for the last time). Secondly, we will focus on one additional, physical barcamp event in autumn or late summer 2022, in the south of the DACH area. For this event, we will try a new concept which was clearly supported by the participants of the survey: We will have one or a few workshops surrounding the barcamp, where interested people can learn something new, e.g. good software practices in research. In order to make this happen, we will invite one or more other organizations / groups from the open science field to collaborate on the whole event. 

In general, we want to be more open and inviting regarding our event. Your written responses tell us that sometimes the Leibniz Open Science community appears as a closed group to newcomers. Therefore, we will intensify our efforts to make it easier for newcomers to get connected and started. We want to ask you to share some session ideas before the actual barcamp starts, and hopefully some of you might even share a video, where they quickly introduce their session idea. Plus, there will be onboarding events for everyone, where we explain our experiences and hopes in relation to the barcamp, answer questions, and discuss new ideas. We will update you soon on what activities we are planning for OSciBar 2022.

Reading about your experiences and expectations  from the survey was insightful and we would like to thank all participants. We are looking forward to hearing more from each other next year, to discuss together about what a good event looks like in order to learn about Open Science, and to share our experiences to connect with each other.

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