I’m going to http://hack4ac.com/ (Hacking academia better together) tomorrow in London. From the site:


We have two goals

  • Demonstrate the value of the CC-BY licence within academia. We are interested in supporting innovations around and on top of the literature.

PMR: Yes – this is critical. Only documents with CC-BY or CC0 can be fully legitimately re-used. (All attempts to convince you that CC-NC or “viewable by humans” are either misguided. misinformed or deceitful). This is the digital age where we need to work with machines to increase our powers by an order of magnitude. CC-BY means better science, more community involvement, greater downstream value and much more

  • Reach out to academics who are keen to learn or improve their programming skills to better their research. We’re especially interested in academics who have never coded before.

PMR: Yes. Coding is relatively unimportant. What matters is knowing what to do, finding material, organising it, evangelising and creating teams. You probably need to find a coder and feed them some pizza but the other aspects are the important ones.

What do you mean by focussing on CC-BY licence within academia?

The CC-BY licence is the Creative Commons licence that allows for downstream remixing of the original work, so long as the original author is credited. It puts no other restrictions on what you can do with that work. The recent Research Councils UK Policy on Open Access prefers all new work that they fund to be published under this licence.

The hope is that by having access to remix and reinvent the scholarly literature we can create better tools on top of that literature. This hackday will explore ideas around what one can do with this kind of material.

PMR: Yes, Yes.

OK, what should I build?

We are just starting to gather ideas now, but how about a tool to help unlock all of the great material in institutional repositories? How about a tool to re-imagine what a journal article looks like? What about a tool to help gather real time metrics on topics of interest? What about a tool to data mine all of the CC-BY literature for trends? What about a tool to help identify whether a paper is CC-BY in the first place? There are many many exciting ideas, and we want to hear yours!

PMR: Yes. Hacking is often a question of finding a number of tools and glueing them together. (Cost: ca 2 pizzas)


Jason (PeerJ) asked Ian (eLife), and he said yes.

PeerJ has created Charlie the blue monkey, so I’ll be bringing cardboard Charlie:

(When are we going to have a proper Charlie?)


You don’t need to wait until the day of the event to get started, in fact you can start pitching your ideas now. We’ve created an ideas pitch page on the wiki for anyone to list their idea and what type of skills are needed to make it happen.

What happens on the day of the event?

On the actual day, anyone with an idea will have 90 seconds to pitch. If you don’t have an idea then that is fine too! Just look for a team that you want to join.

PMR: I’ll pitch something.

PMR: There are still a few tickets left – grab them now. It will be fun.