Re: Civic apps and Linked Data

Dear Frans and Alvaro and others,

Fortunately the Eureopean Union is pushing towards open science and all relevant infrastructures to support this. In the new Horizon 2020 research funding program enough space will be available to help address some of the issues described by Frans.

It may also be a promising sign of the times that the Caribbean region is also looking into open access:

We have excerpted the full joint statement to show in detail an inventory of needs, current statement of the art, current practices and goals and objectives and thus provides s detailed snapshot of a collective group of countries wanting to to go this way.

It provides a welcome insight into this matter from the  perspective of new prospective users hailing from professional backgrounds other than ICT and the usual dog food cadres and could help us understand how we can tackle some issues that we may not have yet detected as such.

And open access as any librarian would know is the starting point for any useful linked (open) data environment for information exchange.
We, the participants of the Regional Consultation on Open Access to Scientific information, met at Kingston, Jamaica to exchange knowledge and experiences on the issues related to Open Access to scientific research and scholarly communication and observed and recognized that:
1. OA has benefits to advance sciences, innovation processes and scholarly communication processes
a. It allows public access to knowledge, promoting democratization, equity and symmetry in access to local and international research results for generation of new knowledge to search improving quality of life for individual and societies ·
b. It allows visibility to research results from the region, which today is invisible in mainstream indexes ·
c. It improves research output in the region: reducing times of research process, efficient and timely access to literature, building on existing knowledge, strengthen interdisciplinarity and multidisciplinarity in research, avoids national duplication of investment in the same subjects
d. It facilitates regional and international research cooperation: each country can add research from other regions to its own research agenda, establish research networks e. It allows complementary sharing of international investment in similar research topics, and encourages exchange of scholarly information between and amongst countries, thus generates a common playing field for the scientists and scholars to be available to see what other countries of the region produce and be able to cooperate
f. It allows transference of research results for evidence-based opinions for policy and for building citizenship
g. It enhances LAC research contribution to the global agenda and also allows LAC to participate in the determination of global agendas
2. There are a few problems and barriers to promote OA in the region which require concerted and joint attention. These barriers include from as simple issue such as the lack of awareness to complex policy-linked issues.
a. While OA has rapidly gained popularity since the beginning the 21st century, the past decade has shown that the change towards broader access to scientific knowledge will not happen overnight.
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b. The vast majority of scientific knowledge is still spread via the traditional subscription-based model.
c. Around 20 percent of all scientific publications worldwide are published in OA format today. For the LA region it is higher, however very few publications in the English Caribbean are published and shared using OA route.
d. In order to progress on the road towards OA, the shared interests of all stakeholders must be taken into account. Taxpayers, readers, authors, funders, publishers and editors should all agree that providing broad access to knowledge is not enough.
e. In the quest for OA, the quality of the material available is equally important thus new approaches for peer review, relevance and determination of impact factor are essential.
3. There is a need to raise awareness about the OA publishing, OA Sharing and Open Contents. In order to do so, there is a need to undertake a staged, country-specific awareness strategy. Specifically, there is a need to:
a. Develop image, procedure and significance of quality associated with OA.
b. Disseminate best OA practices from the region and worldwide.
c. Build a regional and national communication strategy for OA promotion
d. Build public opinion about OA, essentially by working with journalists and social networks
e. Organize National and Regional plans for OA awareness. Such events should target officials, decision-makers, editors, journalists, and evaluators of research in funding agencies
4. There is a need to develop and conceptualize policies and mandates for OA in the Region.
Such policies and mandates should consider the following issues:
a. OA national legislation for State funded research results should be incorporated in OA digital repositories (these are in discussion in the Congress in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru)
b. OA institutional mandates should require, more than recommend, deposit of state funded research results in OA Repositories.
c. OA has to be part of the national research infrastructure and budget;
d. There is a need to develop specific policy for OA e-books with research results;
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e. OA initiatives in the region should also address OA research data. Hence there is a need to expand the scope of OA to include issues of Open Data and Open Cloud.
5. It is essential that State funded research results, viz.: Peer-review scientific and academic journals and articles; Postgraduate thesis (master and doctorate); Academic and research books: Research reports; and Research data are all made available through OA routes.
6. Both Gold and Green routes are suitable form of OA for the region.
a. For Green routes, inclusive and cooperative OA solutions should be promoted to avoid new enclosures on knowledge access and dissemination.
b. Regarding Gold route, and considering that – i) only 30% of OA journals in the world presently require article processing charges (APCs); ii) APC are mainly fixed by international publishers and entrepreneurs, and fixed at international prices which are unaffordable for the average developing country; iii) research in Latin America and the Caribbean is mainly government funded; and iv) the region has a decade of experience with OA regional gold initiatives (SciELO and Redalyc) with more than 1.000 journals with no APCs - it is therefore recommended that the Gold OA route in the region continues its present emphasis on sharing costs.
7. There are many critical roles that UNESCO should play to advance OA agenda in the region. Not only that there is a need to contextualize agreed strategies at the country level, but there is also a need to coordinate with other key players in the region to avoid duplication. In particular, UNESCO should:
a. Influence governments from the region to adopt OA policies. Provide OA awareness materials in local language, technical and policy support, capacity building and promote partnerships to raise funds.
b. Strengthen South-South cooperation between the Caribbean and Latin America to promote OA in the region.
c. Consider developing SciELO Caribbean as a journal publishing and archiving systems with the help of SciELO and other regional OA Champions.
d. Generate awareness among high officials of governments and research agencies about importance of OA for scientific development and its contribution to national development.
e. Support and influence the member states of the LAC countries to develop a Regional common OA policy, as has been developed by the European Commission.
f. Strengthen regional cooperation and interoperability among existing OA regional programs.
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g. Work with La Referencia, as the regional representative of the green route, to strengthen its activities and promote membership from other countries of LAC.
h. In the regional gold road, UNESCO should endorse and support activities such as those promoted by SciELO, Redalyc and Latindex, to improve quality of scientific and academic journals.
i. Include LAC OA best practices and experiences when advocating OA in the international context and promote OA South-South cooperation.
j. Coordinate activities with other agencies working on OA issues in LAC, ex. OECD, INASP, IDRC, IADB, etc.
k. Lobby to include OA discussions in the high level policy meetings linked to the WSIS 2015
8. UNESCO will implement following activities to address issues as identified above. We understand that these projects will be implemented based on the willingness of country, and activeness of the host organization/institute in the country:
a. Support to enhance awareness about Open Access in the country and the region.
b. Support to prepare Open Access Policy
c. Support for the implementation of Open Access Policy
d. Support to build capacity on Open Access
e. Support to facilitate the work of existing Regional Mechanisms (such as La Referencia, SciELO, Redalyc, Latindex, among others) to better serve the scholarly community in the region.
Post Script
9. We would like to thank Ministry of Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining; and Ministry of Information, Government of Jamaica, University of West Indies and UNESCO National Commission for Jamaica for hosting the Consultation. We also appreciate the UNESCO cluster office in Kingston and its staff for making necessary arrangements.
10. We would like to Thank the respective national commissions and governments for sending us here and providing us with an opportunity to learn, develop capacities, and network in the area of Open Access.
11. We would like to thank the Government of Japan for providing financial assistance to UNESCO to organize the Regional Consultation.

Milton Ponson
GSM: +297 747 8280
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Project Paradigm: A structured approach to bringing the tools for sustainable development to all stakeholders worldwide by creating ICT tools for NGOs worldwide and: providing online access to web sites and repositories of data and information for sustainable development

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 From: Frans Knibbe | Geodan <>
To: Alvaro Graves <> 
Cc: Linked Data community <> 
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2013 5:05 AM
Subject: Re: Civic apps and Linked Data

On 27-6-2013 0:12, Alvaro Graves wrote:

Hi Frans, 
>I think there is a chicken-and-egg problem there. Governments won't release Linked Data since they don't see the value of doing so because nobody uses it (at least that's what employees from several government have told me). 
That could be a factor, but I don't think it is the whole story. Well, it probably depends on which government and who in the government you are talking to. I think in my country there is a fairly broad desire to make national data public, as Open Data. Many people in government recognize that not only society will benefit, but government itself too. Much time and money is spent now on getting data from one institution to the other and trying to merge data. Having it all online, in proper formats, would be an enormous boost to productivity of many civil servants. 

There are several reasons why not all national data are published as
    five star data right away:

1) Budgets are cut because of the economic crisis. It is hard  to
    start up major innovative projects.
2) Some data administrators don't like the idea of sharing the
    treasure they hoard.
3) Some data administrators don't like the idea that people might
    find weak spots or errors in the data.
4) Publishing data sets the right way takes a lot of effort and
5) Publishing Linked Data means publishing semantics and metadata
    too. With old school data management these things can too easily be
6) Some people feel that there first should be official standards
    from official standard institutions.

This list is probably not complete.

>I disagree with Kinsgley in terms that Linked Data is not complicated, it is more complex than releasing CSV files. The evidence for me is the fact that very few governments have actually released LOD platforms :-) I think there is an intrinsic value of LOD that can't be obtained by releasing 3-star data, however in many of these situations people can make short term plans (i.e., release in whatever format you have, don't spend too much time on modeling, converting, etc.).
I think that for the kind of data that are needed for attaining critical mass for civic apps, yes, the publication process is very complicated. Both technically and organisational.

>From the point of view of developers, I don't see as many tools to use LOD as for using CSV, JSON, etc. I think this is a critical point in encouraging the use and publication of LOD.
I think the avarage developer could quickly learn some basic SPARQL. The idea that you can build a query, send it as a HTTP request en get some data in JSON format is quite powerful. I think learning SPARQL is similar to learning SQL. Many developers know a bit of SQL. You do not need to know everything to get things done.

>Alvaro Graves-Fuenzalida
>Web: Twitter: @alvarograves
>On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Frans Knibbe | Geodan <> wrote:
>Hello Alvaro,
>>I think a big reason is the lack of data. I believe that
                if governmental institutions in my country would publish
                their data as five star data there would be a boom in
                development of civic apps, and in the publication of
                other data sets as Linked Data too. As things stand now,
                the core of national or regional data that is published
                as Linked Data is so small that it can very easily be
                ignored. There is no critical mass.
>>On 26-6-2013 16:03, Alvaro Graves wrote:
>>Hello everyone,
>>>A few days ago I attended ABRELATAM'13 an unconference focused on Open Data in Latin America. I proposed a session about Open Data + Linked Data to discuss how semantics and LOD in general can help government and civi organizations. I want to share the main ideas that emerged from the conversation:
>>>- SW/LOD sounds really cool and the direction where thing should move.
>>>- However there are many technical aspects that remain unsolved
>>>- Since for many people having a relatively good solution using CSV, JSON, etc. is easier, they don't want to use SW/LOD because it is an overkill and too complicated.
>>>So my question is: Why we don't see lots of civic apps using Linked Data? Where are the SW activists? Why we haven't been able to demonstrate to the hacker community the benefits of using semantic technologies? Is it because they are hard to use? They don't scale well in many cases (as a googled pointed out)? Are we too busy working in academia/businesses?
>>>I know very few civic apps using semantic technologies and I don't think I have seen anyone that has made real impact in any country. I would love if you can prove me wrong and if we can discuss how can we involve more activists and hackers into the SW/LOD community.
>>>Alvaro Graves-Fuenzalida
>>>Web: Twitter: @alvarograves
>>President Kennedylaan 1
>>1079 MB Amsterdam (NL)
>>T +31 (0)20 - 5711 347
>> | disclaimer

President Kennedylaan 1
1079 MB Amsterdam (NL)

T +31 (0)20 - 5711 347
E | disclaimer

Received on Thursday, 27 June 2013 14:02:46 UTC