Because good research needs good data

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather at IDCC 2018

Birds of a Feather (BoF) will take place 2-3.30 pm on Wednesday, 21 February 2018.

The sessions are:

- Use of (Open Research) Data in Teaching, by Myke Yetten

- The Reproducibility Crisis, by Emma McDonald

- Cost of Data Management, by Marta Teperek

- GDPR, by Paul Stokes & Chris Roche

Please go to helpdesk to write your name on the session you wish to attend.

To view all topics submitted, please go to /news/birds-feather-idcc-2018 and enter your ideas as comments.

About Birds of a Feather Sessions

Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions are informal opportunities to bring together people with a common interest who already intend a particular event. Unlike a workshop, keynote speech, or particular paper, you don't go to IDCC because a particular BoF session is happening. The BoF is for people who are interested in a particular topic, find that they will all be at the same event, and want to use their co-location to explore that topic. It shares characteristics with the notion of the unconference.

In general, this also means that there are things that shouldn't happen in a BoF. There shouldn't be any lengthy presentations or teaching taking place. There should be an equal opportunity for everyone to contribute. Although it may be helpful to have someone to facilitate the discussion to ensure everyone gets their say, or to designate someone to record discussion or outcomes, you want to avoid an event that's being led by someone standing in front of the room. A BoF isn't about a performer and an audience - it's more of a round table. That can mean that the ideal BoF has a limited attendance.

Why have a BoF?

There are multiple reasons for having a BoF. Two common ones are:

  • Bringing together a niche community of interest;
  • Exploring an idea for a project, a standard, a piece of software, a book, an event or anything similar.

The niche community BoF will typically be people who find it useful to exchange experiences and ideas, who all clearly identify as belonging to that community, and who are unlikely to find an event that's specifically for them. People who share some characteristic, who are from a particular research domain, who are all users of a particular tool or service, are all possible groups. You do need to be a niche, though. If your self-identified group includes more than 20% of the conference's attendees a BoF isn't the right way to meet. That's one of the reasons we put a 50-person cap on the BoF sessions, although it also has to do with room sizes and the session length. An example of this kind of group from IDCC16 was the BoF on handling sensitive data. As an example, please see blog on Sharing personal/sensitive research data by Fiona Nielsen and Marta Teperek.

The second type of BoF - exploring an idea - is usually a one-off, or part of a limited sequence of BoFs at different events around the world. If the discussion tells you that the idea isn't going to fly, then it all ends there. Otherwise, your next steps should be to do something more formal. Establish a group for collaboration, put together a team to write a project proposal, an event organising committee, or get a working group going in an organisation like the RDA. Whatever you do, you should not expect to meet as a BoF again and you should want to tell the world about what you are going to do next. The data capability session held at IDCC 2016 informed work in projects such as the EOSC Pilot. You can read both the BoF proposal and session notes in a google doc.

BoFs at IDCC - how and when

To propose a BoF session at IDCC, simply use the comment tools at the bottom of this news item /news/birds-feather-idcc-2018 by 12 noon on Monday, 19 February 2018, but the earlier the better.

Your proposal should be a short statement of what you want to talk about and who might be interested. 'Short' can mean as little as one sentence, or as much as a paragraph. We have 90 minutes available for BoF sessions; that's relatively short, especially for a larger group. Be realistic about what you can achieve in that time. Use whatever other means you can think of to get others interested in your proposal before the conference starts. We'll aim to use twitter and maybe email to conference delegates to draw their attention to some of the proposals. If time allows, we may give you a chance to pitch to the IDCC audience.

At the conference itself, we'll put up sign-up sheets for all the proposals we've received. People will have until the end of Tuesday, 20 February, to put their name against BoFs they are interested in attending. The ones with most delegates will be scheduled and will run on Wednesday afternoon, 21 February. We'll announce the results on Wednesday morning to give the organisers some warning. You only get a few hours notice but that doesn't matter. A BoF doesn't require lots of preparation, just enthusiastic attendance. Any presentation should be limited to 5 minutes at most in total, and should only be used if it's necessary to set the scene or explain an idea before the discussion commences. BoFs aren't workshops, or lectures, or training sessions, or a place to give the paper you wanted to give at the conference.

For successful BoFs, we'll also be looking for rapporteurs who can report back to us and the IDCC audience on what happened.

We have 4 rooms available for BoFs. We'll limit attendance at 50 people.

Previous BoFs

For inspiration, please see topics from previous years.

- BoFs 2017

- BoFs 2016

- BoFs 2015