Grants:PEG/WikiSym Initiative/2014 OpenSym Conference

This submission to the Project and Event Grants Program was funded in the fiscal year 2013-14. This is a grant to an organization.

IMPORTANT: Please do not make changes to this page without the explicit approval of Project and Event Grants Program staff. They will be reverted.

This Wikimedia Foundation grant has a fiscal sponsor. The John Ernest Foundation administered the grant on behalf of The Wikisym Initiative.

Legal name of organization or individual requesting this grant
The John Ernest Foundation
For organizations: Are you a for-profit entity? No
For organizations: If non-profit (US) or equivalent (outside the US) status is available in your country, do you have or are you pursuing such status (please be specific): Yes
Grant recipient organization
The John Ernest Foundation ([1])
Grant contact name
Dirk Riehle
Grant contact username or email
Grant contact title (position)
Project lead name
Dirk Riehle
Project lead username or email
User:Dirk Riehle,
Project lead title (position), if any
Steward, the WikiSym Initiative
Full project name
The 10th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym 2014)
Amount requested in USD or local currency (USD will be assumed if no other currency is specified)
15,000 EUR (20,880 USD)
Provisional target start date
27 August 2014
Provisional completion date
29 August 2014
Project location
Berlin, Germany
Please describe the project in 1–2 sentences
OpenSym 2014 is the continuation of the annual WikiSym conference series (started in 2005). We provide researchers and practitioners of "all things open" e.g. open source, open data, Wikipedia, a forum and a community. Participants present research papers, conduct workshops, hold tutorials etc.

Goals and measures of successEdit

Project goalEdit

Basic success is "another instance that isn't worse than what came before" and better success is growth into "the other open collaboration topics" beyond wikis and Wikipedia.

Basic success is a successful conference with about 100 participants, an enjoyable program, a published proceedings of research papers
Better success is a successful conference with a total of 150+ participants, a broad program drawing equally on all things open (not just wikis), published proceedings, and more practitioners than in previous years

Measures of successEdit

For basic success, we will have had it if we achieve

  1. A conference that worked without major flaw (measure: nobody died)
  2. Had about 100 participants (measure: number of participants)
  3. Had a good overall conference program (measure: diversity of keynotes (at least 2), workshops (at least 1), tutorials (at least 1))
  4. Had a continued strong Wikipedia research program (measure: research paper submission number = 20+)
  5. Had a published freely accessible conference proceedings (measure: downloadable by anonymous)
  6. Are set up for the year 2015 (measure: announcement for 2015 ready and performed at end of conference)

For better success, we will have had it we achieve

  1. A conference that worked without major flaw (measure: nobody died)
  2. Had about 150 participants or more (measure: number of participants)
  3. Had a good overall conference program (measure: diversity of keynotes (at least 2), workshops (at least 2), tutorials (at least 2))
  4. Had a continued strong Wikipedia research program (measure: research paper submission number = 20+)
  5. Had a broad (not just Wikipedia) research program on open collaboration (open data, open source, open educational resources, etc.) (measure: Wikipedia research papers are <= 30% of published papers)
  6. Had a published freely accessible conference proceedings (measure: downloadable by anonymous)
  7. Had non-trivial practitioner participation (at least 40% of participants self-declare as practitioner or industry)
  8. Are set up for the year 2015 (measure: announcement for 2015 ready and performed at end of conference)

Project scope and activitiesEdit

The conference is already set-up and announcing, see Overall responsibility rests with the general chair, Dirk Riehle (responsibilities: overall program, overall marketing, finances). Dedicated research track chairs are taking care of the separate research tracks and their peer review process, see The community program committee is still being built and will organize the community aspects of the conference, e.g. workshops, tutorials, demos. Handling of location and catering is being delegated to a staff member at Fraunhofer FOKUS, our host (and location). Post-conference clean-up and reporting will be done by Dirk Riehle.

Budget and resourcesEdit

Please provide a detailed breakdown of project expenses according to the instructions here.

Grantees are subject to line-item scrutiny of expenses. Changes to the approved budget beyond 10% in any category must be approved in advance.

Project budget table
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Personnel Student helpers 15 days €180.00 €2,700
2 Personnel In-house Event Organizer (required) 5 days €600.00 €3,000
3 Personnel Technicians (A/V, WLAN, "chairs", other tech) 6 days €600.00 €3,600
4 Events Conference Dinner €8,000
5 Events 1st Day Reception €3,000
6 Events Breakfast, Lunches, Coffee Breaks €12,000
7 Events Invited Speakers Travel, Accommodation €3,000
8 Organization Organizer Travel, Accommodation €3,000
Total cost of project

EUR 40,000.00

Total amount requested from the WMF Grants Program

EUR 15,000.00

Additional sources of revenue that may fund part of this project, and amounts funded
  1. Other sponsors (asking, none confirmed yet, but we have a good history)
  2. Participation fees (full fee for corporate and academic citizens, lower subsidized fee for self-paying citizens)

Non-financial requirementsEdit

None, though we intend to work with Wikimedia Deutschland and integrate or cooperate with their outreach activities.



In the sections below, please describe how the project is related to the Wikimedia mission and Wikimedia's strategic priorities.

Fit to strategyEdit

OpenSym is a key place to publish research into Wikimedia Foundation projects and all things related to the Wikipedia philosophy, which we call "open collaboration". With the growth and extension of Wikipedia, we have been growing as well, covering not only the research and practice of wikis and Wikipedia, but also the research and practice of open data, open source, open educational resources, etc. OpenSym is an activity/project/conference that is independent of the Wikimedia Foundation and we have learned that this remains important to you. Thus, we believe we are the place for work that ultimately helps you improve the quality and credibility of your work.


Please provide a brief statement about how the project is related to other work in the Wikimedia movement. For example, does the project fit into a work area such as GLAM, education, organizational development, editor retention, or outreach?
OpenSym is as old as Wikimania and the Wikipedia researchers at OpenSym also like to go to Wikimania. It is two different conferences though and OpenSym is more about academic research and its rigorous review processes than Wikimania.
If successful, will the project have the potential to be replicated successfully by other individuals, groups, or organizations? Please explain how in 1–2 sentences.
We repeat every year; we don't see any need for copies. However, if people would like to do so: We are (for a somewhat academic) conference very transparent, publishing/blogging about our processes and data on our blog at
Please list other benefits to the movement here.
We are a community conference and that's valuable (though we are not the only ones, obviously). Ultimately, we believe that the unique and enduring value of OpenSym, formerly WikiSym, is to be a program, community, and publication outlet that drives the research forward that is relevant to you and that publishes it in one easily and freely accessible and historically complete place, which is here: Nobody else is doing it in this focussed and consolidated fashion. Obviously nobody also then has this 10 year track record.

Open Access ProceedingsEdit

Last year, we had a discussion on the accessibility of the conference proceedings. From a practical perspective, all work is freely accessible, see However, in previous years our publisher, the ACM did not have a clear open access policy in place. They do now. For OpenSym, this has led to the following conclusion:

  1. We will stick with the ACM as the publisher
    There are multiple reasons. As an open access publisher, the ACM qualifies as an option. We prefer this option over (a) commercial publishers (Elsevier, Springer) as we expect this to keep open access fees low and (b) self-hosting (any of the free services but with no prestige and unclear longevity). The label ACM is important to our community as it conveys and supports the label of academic peer review and quality assurance.
  2. Authors now have multiple options with OpenSym, as explained in more detail here [2]
    • Traditional copyright transfer. Author loses copyright, paper is published. Paper will be freely accessible from the OpenSym servers (under the ACM policies) and will be accessible for a fee from the ACM servers
    • Open access publication. Author pays the ACM for open access. Paper will be freely accessible from the OpenSym and the ACM servers
    • No publication, only presentation. For authors, who would like to present their work and benefit from discussion and exposure but would like to not have a publication we offer the research-in-progress presentation

What we cannot do and will not do is to force a particular option, license, or behavior, onto authors. Some of this discussion in our community can be found on our blog at as well as in the talk pages for last year's grant request.

A note from User: Dirk Riehle: This solution does not allow for "remixing" of research papers. Access yes, but not remixing. However, I am not aware of an accredited publisher who allows that anyway. I would like to add that while from a philosophical perspective, this is an important decision, from a practical perspective, not much will change. We have always been with the ACM because we like that papers can be made freely available on the web, without paywalls. The ACM is a non-profit and does not try to extract as much profit from publications as they can. I don't expect many authors to pay for open access; I think most are simply fine with the free accessibility of their work. Remixing is frowned upon in academia as it brings authors close to (self-)plagiarism.

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