A Proposal to Establish the U.S. Digital Progress Administration | by Hal Plotkin | Digital Diplomacy | Nov, 2020 | Medium

“Here are a few thumbnail descriptions of just some of the other progress a Digital Progress Administration could bring within reach:

Shared continuously improving software to more affordably manage public contacts and interactions with government agencies. Why is it so hard, in 2020, to get information about social security issues, military service records, available federal benefits, IRS rules, etc.? Why can’t the state of California, for example, deliver unemployment benefits in a timely way to millions of qualified desperate individuals? Why is it taking California’s DMV months to process a simple change of ownership? Proprietary software vendors, who always seek to “lock in” government contracts in ways that lock out competitors, have no reason to make things simpler, less expensive, or more transparent. Unless we demand those features.
Shared continuously improving software that manages parking, traffic patterns and enforcement, and transportation services including so we can more reliably determine when the bus or train will arrive. Ditto with shared public software that can track and monitor climate change inputs and outputs.
Shared publicly-owned software that finally enables a real start on the dream of Smart Cities, which has foundered here in the U.S. but which is happening more quickly in many other countries, including in China, primarily because U.S. tech vendors insist on owning Smart City software solutions and charging royalties in perpetuity, rather than selling software solutions that other vendors can service and improve.
Software that citizens can use to register their employment status, availability for work, and the amounts they spend on items such as food and housing, to replace the inaccurate statistics on which so many wrongheaded government policies are based.
Software that provides candidates for public office a reliable way to present their platforms and pitches to voters without having to pay huge sums to intermediary for-profit media companies.
A public social network that enforces basic standards of accuracy, decency, and fairness as an alternative to social networks driven entirely by profit motives (think the social networking equivalent of how public broadcasting lives side-by-side with commercial broadcasting).
Something I have been calling for for years: more public investments in the creation and continuous improvement of open educational resources as substitutes for proprietary K-12 and college textbooks, which unnecessarily consume billions of dollars a year in public resources and student financial aid. The government can, today, right now, make free online textbooks available to students at a tiny fraction of their present cost, much of which the public already shoulders. Open educational resource textbook passages can be printed out as needed for just the cost of paper and ink….”

[2011.07571] Software must be recognised as an important output of scholarly research

Abstract:  Software now lies at the heart of scholarly research. Here we argue that as well as being important from a methodological perspective, software should, in many instances, be recognised as an output of research, equivalent to an academic paper. The article discusses the different roles that software may play in research and highlights the relationship between software and research sustainability and reproducibility. It describes the challenges associated with the processes of citing and reviewing software, which differ from those used for papers. We conclude that whilst software outputs do not necessarily fit comfortably within the current publication model, there is a great deal of positive work underway that is likely to make an impact in addressing this.



“Samvera Connect (hashtag #samvera2020) is a chance for the Samvera Community to come together with an emphasis on synchronizing efforts, technical development, plans, and community links. This year, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that we cannot meet face-to-face; instead we’re putting together an exciting, on-line event that we hope will capture many of the best bits that our in-person conference normally offers.  The meeting program is aimed at existing users, managers and developers and at new folks who may be just “kicking the tires” on Samvera and who want to know more. Samvera advertises this yearly conference with the slogan “as a Samvera Partner or user, if you can only make it to one Samvera meeting this academic year,  this is the one to attend!”  ”

To Spur Software Re-use in Research, CANARIE Awards up to $3.4M to Research Teams to Evolve their Platforms for Use by Other Researchers | CANARIE

“CANARIE announced today the selection of 13 successful projects from its latest Research Software funding call. This funding will enable research teams to adapt their existing research platforms for re-use by other research teams, including those working in different disciplines. As a result, new research teams from across Canada will be able to re-use previously funded and developed software to accelerate their discoveries.

The research workflow (data acquisition, storage, computation/processing, visualization, and data management) is common across all research disciplines. By adapting purpose-built software developed for this workflow so that other research teams can also benefit from them, the impact of public investments in research is maximized and time to discoveries can be accelerated:

More research funding is allocated to research, rather than to the development of software that already exists
Efficiencies in software development enable researchers to devote their time and resources to the research itself …”

GitHub Archive Program: the journey of the world’s open source code to the Arctic – The GitHub Blog

“At GitHub Universe 2019, we introduced the GitHub Archive Program along with the GitHub Arctic Code Vault. Our mission is to preserve open source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years.

On February 2, 2020, we took a snapshot of all active public repositories on GitHub to archive in the vault. Over the last several months, our archive partners Piql, wrote 21TB of repository data to 186 reels of piqlFilm (digital photosensitive archival film). Our original plan was for our team to fly to Norway and personally escort the world’s open source code to the Arctic, but as the world continues to endure a global pandemic, we had to adjust our plans. We stayed in close contact with our partners, waiting for the time when it was safe for them to travel to Svalbard. We’re happy to report that the code was successfully deposited in the Arctic Code Vault on July 8, 2020. …”

ReShare fall roadmap will focus on CDL and early implementers

“With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing many libraries from engaging in physical resource sharing this fall, Project ReShare announced at a community meeting held July 13 that its fall roadmap will include support for controlled digital lending (CDL). Work will continue concurrently on development of consortial resource sharing features required by ReShare’s early implementers.

ReShare plans to develop a minimum viable product to support CDL, the process of digitizing a physical item and lending a secure, electronic copy in its place. The CDL product will run on the ReShare platform, and can be used independently or alongside the system’s traditional resource sharing functions….”

Scaling Up a Collaborative Consortial Institutional Repository

“Within our IMLS grant project, we have been working hard with our product management team and developer Notch8 to define and develop consortially-focused improvements to Hyku. For example, last month we shared some logistics for building collaborative workflows, working towards a master dashboard to control multi-tenant user permissions.

At the same time as these development activities are taking place, this project has also focused on the practical aspect of making the existing version of Hyku usable for our consortial partners to pilot as a working institutional repository.  Our work has thus branched into two separate areas: Development and Production.

The Production arm of our work focuses on readying the existing Hyku Commons product for real-world pilot use starting this summer.  As a result of user testing from both the PALNI and PALCI sides, we’ve been submitting tickets for small bug fixes and minor improvements which are now happening parallel to the development of features as outlined in the IMLS grant.  Notch8 has devoted a lot of resources to our project in both arenas, and we’ve established a great working relationship and clear communication of needs from both sides….”