Public Lab Wiki documentation

Staff Call 7 11 2011: Partnerships

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Rio - Liz can go, Kate Balug is from Harvard design school she has mapped in Rio before and has local connections. (323) 839-5353.

Any one want to join Berkman call Wednesday 9 am--to talk about legal issues with public lab? email sara. Sara i think it’s adam, liz, etc, can you just email the # to the whole list? will do

Jeff or others do you want to join call with Tech Review about Roomba tomorrow? 2pm est

Partnerships: Working with NGOs, universities and defining “who the locals are”


  • residents, workers, visitors...sensitive issue that we need to be aware of. who are “the locals”? cultivating local professional expertise trying to reorient them to local issues. Location / place-based expertise rather than [“non-experts?”] Preferences for locals that are? Not for profit, social/justice oriented? possible ideas: locals are not? multinational companies, political parties,

2. NGOs

  • PLOTS is already working with many not-for-profit organizations. What guidelines have guided these partnership decisions? How do we move from shared goals towards PLOTS framework, Open Source, data control?


  • Independently, many PLOTS staff and community members are working/teaching at universities. More teaching / workshop opportunities are coming up where university departments wish to teach PLOTS methods to students, or even apply for grants with PLOTS. What guidelines could guide these partnerships? Are there concerns? (see notes below) Current places: MIT, Parsons, Tulane, PNCA? (not set), RISD,

Liz--uptake of PLOTS tools without credit--Jeff “share alike?”--Knight can back us on that--Jeff--GPL license specified and also support hardware mat- aggressive licensing, making sure we use “viral” licenses, GPL 3, CC “share alike”

Liz-design students doing information gathering but the idea of sharing out data created is far from the history of design which normally only shares end product, she has been discussing with 3 architecture departments that students using civic media tools to gather/extract data rather than do anything civic. Shannon also asked about this password feature on knitter. Jeff--can we use the share-alike license to provoke sharing back data as well as process? We have also encountered issues with sharing data. does helping a local community do mapping mean that their info needs to be on the map public to all? Sara - could amplify problem if there was no existing “awareness strategy”

Navigation of the potential for asymmetrical power in data interpretation- communities vs gov’t, universities vs communities. What is it to have data withheld? how do we securely withhold data? Do we demand different things of different partners, i.e. can we force governments to release data while encouraging communities not to? sara- using civic interest as a guage, are you a civic actor acting in the community interest?

what are issues around writing grants with a university: Universities take overhead Some grants require PIs to work at Universities what are issues around licensing when working on a shared grant with a university.


  • phytoremediation, stormwater capture from rooftop farms, and many more projects exist out in the wild, some have asked for PLOTS support in some way, from custom tool development to fiscal sponsorship. Can we create guidelines around these kinds of partnerships? This could help explain, for instance, why Severine’s group did not work out.


Wilkinson bay map--one of the group a construction company, interns volunteered time (Shannon example) didn’t think we should cut them out because of their ties--tricky and situational. Stewart--photo op situation concerns him. Matt we shouldn’t discount self-interested business partners. Development Seed Gravitek Labs, where R.J. Steinert works, has given him fridays (20% time) to work on remote sensing-- SensorHub-- and he is now working with Leif on, and integrating sensor data into the PLOTS site

Issues: how to share the ethic of open source (& protect our open source community) with partnering orgs. Perceived risk: universities seeing tools/methods as “free as in beer” not “free as in freedom” and are not crediting properly. Opportunity: can we be “our own” PIs on Federal or National Foundation grants? as in, if so, what can universities do for us?

Guideline development?

  • regularly publishing to our community. Prometheus Statement on Open Research. Jeff will contact.

What do “memoranda of understanding” do for us? is this an appropriate partnership document to draft in each case?