Hi all. Kade here with our first Aletheia post!
I participated in the annual Mozilla Global Sprint, which in their own words is “a fun, fast-paced and two-day collaborative event to hack and build projects for a healthy Internet. A diverse network of scientists, educators, artists, engineers and others come together in person and online to innovate in the open.” I was working on Aletheia, my personal opensource project. For those of you who haven’t come across Aletheia before, Aletheia is a decentralised open access publishing platform for scientific research, giving people an alternative to publishing in and sourcing information from scientific journals that publish behind paywalls.
This was my first official hackathon and it was an amazing experience, for myself as well as for Aletheia as a project. There is something marvellous about being part of a global event, watching various communication channels explode with talk from people right across the world. It was an invaluable experience first and foremost as a preparatory exercise as Aletheia had to get to a point that people could find the project, easily see what it was about and then have clear paths to contribution, it had to be ready to receive contributors during the Sprint. This meant having a GitHub repository set up with sufficient documentation, entailing an outline of the project, contribution guidelines and installation instructions for those technically inclined (Aletheia is still work in progress, so we don’t yet have a nice .exe or tarball to just install the application, but we’re working on it).
Aletheia was mentored by Mozilla in the lead up to the Global Sprint, a huge thank you to Anna Krystalli and Chris Ritzo who guided me through the Open Leadership Training Series, to Abby Mayes for running the series and to all the Mozilla staff and volunteers who contributed to the content. I’ve never seen training delivered so effortlessly across so many regions. The calls may be at odd hours for some, I have attended more than one call at one am in the morning, but they are good fun. The content of the series is free for anyone to work through and while being long its very comprehensive, running through concepts like defining your idea, turning it into a project, hosting the project on GitHub and building a community around your project. Without the Open Leadership Training Series Aletheia wouldn’t be what it is today.
So preparing for the Global Sprint got Aletheia to a stage were we can onboard contributors, participating in the sprint delivered those contributions. We had one developer find our project through the list of projects taking part in the Sprint that Mozilla advertises, and we had another hear about our project from a status update call. As far as getting Aletheia to a minimum viable product, the importance of gaining contributors cannot be overstated. Also, the Sprint was a great opportunity to talk to people in the same and related fields about the exciting work everyone is doing. With all the doom and gloom in the news of late, it restores faith to see people working hard on projects to benefit others. Now that the Global Sprint is over the Aletheia team look forward to our minimum viable product, as well as seeking funding and public speaking opportunities to evangelise opensource solutions to the problems that beset academic publishing.
Want to follow our progress, or want to contribute yourself? The future we envisage, a world with no paywalls locking away scientific information from the many for the benefit of the few, is a not a world governments or corporations are going to give to us. It has to build it ourselves, you and I, dedicated individuals from all kinds of backgrounds and with all kinds of skills, anyone can contribute to Aletheia. Follow us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check out the project on GitHub repository and if you want to be a part of building a better world, email us at [email protected]