It will be about knowledge production on wikipedia

So, after some talks and research, the topic of my bachelor thesis has been narrowed down a little bit. Together with Fabian Flöck I will look into the mechanisms of collaborative knowledge production on the web, specifically on Wikipedia. Collaborative online plattforms with masses of contributors offer many new phenomena to look at, which has never before been accessible for researchers. Questions like: Who defines what is right? By which criteria will a contribution be accepted or reverted? How does the organization of knowledge and their contributors evolve over time? Are there people, who “own” knowledge? Why do people agree or disagree? How do disputes evolve? Which criteria leads to better quality of the article?

How knowledge appears, evolves and gets communicated are questions coming deeply from my philosophical hassle about what truth is. Especially the last year, as part of my philosophical courses I took at the IFZ in Graz (Einführung in die Technikphilosophie, Technik – Ethik – Politik), these question reflamed and matured through engaging with thoughts from Heidegger, Latour and Nietzsche.

The specific questioning is of course still open, but it will be something around how do editors in Wikipedia work more or less good together to write encyclopedia articles. Looking for specific patterns (they are everywhere¹) on the evolution of an article and the contributions of editors behind it.

Lots of questions now in my head. So next I will try to dive a little bit into Wikpedia and existing literature about it to get an understanding of actual questions and the state of research.


Title: Martin_Heidegger_for_WP
Author: Herbert Wetterauer
License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Komm mit uns mit auf eine Reise in unendliche Weiten!

Der Weltraum: unendliche Weiten. Unsere Mission: Neue Welten entdecken.

Das Erstsemestrigentutorium Geographie und Open Science @ Uni Graz laden auf eine Entdeckungsreise in die Johannes Kepler Volkssternwarte ein.

Durch die Rosetta Mission mit der ersten Landung auf einem Kometen ist das Weltall und dessen Entstehungsgeschichte wieder in aller Munde. Da uns für befraute/bemannte Reise zu den Sternen leider noch kein passendes Gefährt zur Verfügung steht, bleibt uns vorerst die Beobachtung aus der Ferne. Was “Ferne” in der Astronomie bedeutet, und was sich dort alles finden lässt, kannst Du mit uns am 8. Jänner rausfinden.

Zu Beginn gibt es eine Erklärung und ein Vortrag über Astronomie und Citizen Science, danach eine Gruppenführung mitsamt Sternwartenbesichtigung. Falls die Sterne sich zeigen, wird auch die Livebeobachtung durch das Teleskop für uns möglich sein – wir hoffen auf einen kalten klaren Winterabend. Um den Abend abzurunden, gehen wir danach in ein Lokal in der Nähe vom Lendplatz. Hier gibt es noch Fotos vom letzten Jahr.

Ihr seid herzlich eingeladen mitzukommen, egal ob ihr studiert oder was ihr sonst so macht. Der Abend wird vom ÖH Projekt “Open Science @ Uni Graz” zusammen mit dem Geographie-Tutorium organisiert.


Donnerstag, 8. Jänner 2015

18:00: Treffpunkt Lendplatz beim Bauernmarkt
18:15: Hinfahrt
19:00: Beginn Vortrag & Führung
21:00: Rückfahrt
22:00: Lokalbesuch @ Lend (Exil, Scherbe, o.ä.)


Da die Gruppengröße der Führung auf 25 TeilnehmerInnen beschränkt ist und um die An- und Abreise zu koordinieren, bitten wir um kurze Anmeldung bis zum 5. Januar via email an openscience [et]

Wichtig: Auf warme Kleidung achten, die Führung findet im Freien mit längerem Sitzen statt.

An- und Abreise

An sich ist geplant, eine Fahrgemeinschaft zusammen zu bringen. Also wenn du dein Gefährt zur Mitfahrt zur Verfügung stellen willst, meld dich bitte bei openscience [et] und schreib rein, wie viele Plätze frei sind. Letztes Jahr ging es sich sehr gut mit privaten Autos aus – wir koordinieren das auf jeden Fall. Und Bitte an die Fahrer*innen: Route vorher ausdrucken oder ansehen, damit auch alle hin finden.

Unkosten: 3,5€ für die Sternwarte

Johannes Kepler Volkssternwarte, Anton Afritsch Weg 16, A-8052 Thal bei Graz

Größere Kartenansicht

How I set up my scientific work environment

How to set up your scientific project on the PC? Here is how I do it – from knowledge management over GitHub to this website.

I love preparing projects – maybe this is the most loved part of every project for me. Thinking about all the crazy stuff you will do in the future, letting thoughts fly around and connecting all kinds of ideas and perspectives together. Beeing creative about practice. But maybe it is all about trying to prevent troubles in the future.

The process described here is always at the beginning, long time before I know what I will do exactly in my research, course or thesis. More specific processes like literature research or how I use iPython for data analysis will follow.

Knowledge management

It always starts with organizing knowledge. Writting every thought together and trying to find a structure for it. Some thoughts start on a paper, some directly in my .org file.

Mostly I seperate them in those sections:

  • ToDo for tasks of course. Later on in big projects there are subsections seperated in sequences like now, next week, after publication etc.
  • Timeline for general planing and scheduling. Some planing and scheduling for very important process-steps (like research) will be saved in the specific section of it. This decision is always a checks and balance between having central overview and having it where you work on something specific.
  • Notes for saving all kinds of thoughts and facts.
  • Documentation for the ongoing documentation of my work, like content for my next blog posts as well as schedules for it.
  • Research for all I need to save research specific. Questions around the hypothesis, data structure, notes on results and so on, but just for a specific problem.
*.org-file for knowledge management

*.org-file for knowledge management

All this is rather flexible and changes from project to project a little bit. But why do I not share my *.org-file on a regular basis? It is sometimes really messy, things for private purpose or with security restrictions are in, or german written notes. Basically, it is very important and always under change and so the effort to keep it always able to be published would be way too many effort for me right now.


Second step is to create an own folder and initialize in it as git repository for later uploading onto GitHub. As usual, I start with creating the folder structure at my local harddrive. It is not always the same, but seems like some things reoccure.

  • applications: Sometimes, applications have their special files, like project files or templates.
  • code: One subfolder for the sourcecode of every used programming language, like python, shell, c and so on.
  • data: Data collected and created for quantitative analysis. Subfolders are raw (for raw data) and different file-types like json, csv, shape, etc (seperation also inside raw folder). For sharing the data later on, the file-size and file-type is crucial. GitHub is working line based, so it can not create incremental updates of binary files and the file-size is limited to 100mb. So for big datasets I recommend other repositories, like Figshare or domain specific ones.
  • docs: In here is all the literature, notes about it and all other related documents before I save it in my Zotero library. Most documents in here will never be published cause of copyright restrictions! I will write an own post about my literature research process with zotero and how my citation and notes archive work.
  • images: Content depends on usage, but mostly figures created through the analysis. A raw folder is inside for figures which will not be published afterwards and an final folder for the published ones. Also pictures for website or other documentation purpose can be saved.
  • reports: Inside are all reports, mostly written in LaTeX. Every report is one subfolder (except there is only one) with a subfolder for images.
local folder structure

local folder structure

After creating the empty folder structure, I initialize a git-repo (git init) and add the (markdown-template). In there I write all basic informations about the thesis, how to participate, license terms and the requirements necessary for it. Soon after this, the folders get filled with papers, some data and project files of software used – always seperated in raw and processed/edited by me. So, when the is written, the LICENSE information is added and the basic structure created, I upload the first set of files onto my GitHub-repository. But beware of copyright issues: Control if you own the rights to share your content. If not gitignore helps you to not add files to your git repo.

Root folder of github repository with rendered

Root folder of my GitHub-repository with rendered


The last step is to add all information to an overview page here at openscienceASAP. This is the central point of contact for the scientific project and connects all dots, from blog posts over data and sourcecode to persons and their social media streams. Before adding the overview page (template), a new category as child of the research category will be created at the backend, so every post can be found via the category functionality (Category Bachelor Thesis Stefan Kasberger). Right now, it is still very empty, but it will be updated over time with the actual status.

Overview page of bachelor thesis at

Overview page of bachelor thesis at


And finally: A crucial point is to think about copyright right from the beginning. For me, easy usage of my content is very important, but also that it is cited when it is reasonable. By default I use the MIT license for sourcecode, self-created data is under public domain and published text under CC BY 3.0 AT.

My residence at the GESIS institute in Cologne

The next four months I will live in Cologne and write my bachelor thesis at GESIS. Why that and what is this? Here are the answers.


GESIS Köln by Stefan Kasberger (CC BY 3.0 AT)

So, here I’m, living since two weeks in Cologne. Whenever I told friends, that I will go for my bachelor thesis to another country, most people asked me “Why that?”, cause it’s not that usual. So, here my answers:

1. My advisor is Markus Strohmaier (@mstrohm), the scientific director of the Computational Social Science department and lead of the Data Science team here. He is a well reputated and active researcher in the field of data science with focus on social questions and an interdiscplinary approach. Our connection goes back to some talks about Data Science, especially Network Science back in 2012, and his drive to solve problems and focus on research impressed me from the beginning – unfortunately that is something rare in Austria. So, when he surprisingly asked me if I want to come to Cologne for my bachelor thesis, the answer was quite easy.

2. The GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences is the largest infrastructure institution for the Social Sciences in Germany. It is based in the heart of Cologne, not far away from the Kölner Dom and the main train station, something very pleasant. I have joined there the Data Science team, where problems at the intersection of Computer Science and Sociology are being adressed. I’m looking forward to learn a lot from the many professionals here and hopefully it gives me the opportunity to get deeper insights into how research is done and organized in 2014.

3. Cologne always had a very good reputation: liberal, open and very hospitable. So again, I took the opportunity to live in a city outside Austria, and my amazing experiences with city life and german culture the last semester in Berlin made the decision quite easy.

So, seems like all of the more abstract requirements stated in my first post are fullfilled. So let the games begin!

Schwerpunkt Diversität im Wintersemester

Das Projekt Open Science @ Uni Graz geht in das dritte Semester. Den Schwerpunkt setzen wir im Winter auf Diversität und Inklusion.

Wir wollen in den nächsten Monaten Menschen erreichen, die aus den unterschiedlichsten Gründen den Zugang zum Thema Open Science (noch) nicht haben oder noch gar nichts davon gehört haben. Dabei legen wir in erster Linie den Schwerpunkt auf Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund und Frauen. Beides Gruppen, die in dem IT-affinen Umfeld von Open Science stark unterrepräsentiert sind – und das möchten wir gerne ändern.

Erste Aktivität ist Support bei entsprechenden Gruppen einzuholen und deren Erfahrungen einzupflegen. Wenn du hier wen weißt, bitte melden. Bei der Sprache wird nochmals mehr auf die Inklusion geachtet, gendergerechte Sprache wurde hier am Blog von Anfang an verwendet.

Was müssen wir verbessern?

Besonders möchten wir euch bitten, uns Feedback zu geben. Was können wir tun um das Thema an unterrepräsentierte Gruppen heran zu tragen? Was müssen wir verbessern? Wie müssen wir die Kommunikation anpassen? Welche speziellen Bedürfnisse haben die einzelnen Gruppen? Meldet euch entweder hier mittels Kommentar oder via mail an Uns liegt das Thema sehr am Herzen und freuen uns über eure Mithilfe.

Vorschaubild: Diversity-Discrimination-05 by Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center International Team (CC BY 2.0)