From Extra Terrestials to Open Knowledge: Open Science and Open Social Science at OKCon

**The following a joint post by Francois Grey and Rufus Pollock who are co-organizing the [Open Science and Open Social Science workshop at OKCon][workshop].**


Remember that screensaver called SETI@home that was all the rage a
decade ago? Over a million people downloaded it, so they could take
part in a search for radio signals from extraterrestrials.

Well, there’s still no news from ET, but SETI@home spawned a whole
host of science projects based on the idea of distributing computing
tasks. And more recently, the trend has evolved towards projects that
distribute tasks for human analysis – like classifying images of
galaxies, in the project GalaxyZoo.

What has this got to do with Open Knowledge? That’s exactly what we’re going to find out at OKCon this year, with a first ever panel on Open Science and Social Science, looking at how volunteer computing and volunteer thinking could benefit the social sciences and economics.

Speakers will discuss projects that simulate the economic impact of
malaria in Africa, track how dollar bills travel around the world, or
try to digitize massive amounts of archival economics data with
volunteer help.

The panel is at 11:00 on 30 June, and there’s a special Q&A session at
12:00 in a parallel workshop room.

For those who don’t just want to hear about citizen science, but want
to get involved in developing new volunteer-based projects, there’s a
[one-day workshop on 29 June, from 10am to 6pm][workshop].

Researchers, software developers, web designers and keen citizen
scientists will get together for a day of thinking, talking and
hacking. The goal is to produce some plans, demos and even prototypes
of new volunteer projects.

At the workshop you’ll meet and get to work with some of the leading
exponents of citizen cyberscience, researchers behind projects like, LHC@Home, Epicollect and QuakeCatcher,