Abby’s favourite #mozsprint moments: PaperBadger at the global sprint and beyond

On June 4-5, the Science Lab hosted it’s second annual global sprint (#mozsprint). For 50+ hours, 30 sites around the world collaborated to generate over 100 pull requests! This event helped myself and others participate in a global expression of the open research community while digging deep in the fundamental work needed to run an open source software project. By experiencing both the technology and community around the Science Lab, we shaped tools and made plans to further science on the web.

This year, I served as project lead on the Contributorship Badges for Science project (PaperBadger) while co-hosting a local site in Toronto. I wanted to take some time to share some of my favourite moments and lessons around the people, my project, and future plans coming out of #mozsprint.

Community: seeing the people come together

I was able to talk to and collaborate with community members from all over the world through our open video stream, irc, twitter, email and GitHub. PaperBadger alone saw contributions come from Florida, Morocco, London and Toronto!

Here are some of my favourite moments watching the Science Lab community bond and grow:

Every ~8 hours, we had project check-ins over the video stream. All active sites would give a quick update on their project status and progress.


Outside of the check-ins, there was constant chatter over twitter, irc and occasional face to face questions over the video stream


Thanks to the video feed and twitter, we could be a part of the fun moments at all the different sites! A few of my personal highlights:

CERN showed up, ready to hack in a bus. Yes, a bus.


Meanwhile, Jaffna, Sri Lanka was standing room only.


Melbourne won #mozsprint by throwing a party complete with #mozcake.


Even Beaker showed up in Palo Alto to contribute a few lines of code!


Technology: seeing my project come together

PaperBadger is a prototype testing ways to use open badges to assign digital credentials to contributions on academic papers. This project saw 20 merged pull requests over the two days by a group of amazing community members. We were able to strengthen collaborations and surface new community contributors.

Our GitHub repo was incredibly active those two days.


There were many email notifications…


Here are a few of the many changes implemented for #mozsprint:

The front-end, built using React, was fleshed out with lots of help from Ali. Notably, he added prettyprinted JSON if you want to browse through the api endpoints.


Rob and Will from ORCID, the unique researcher identifier, implemented ORCID authentication. Now, when you try to issue a badge, you will be prompted to log in via ORCID. Try it out here!


To help keep our code correct and easy to contribute to, Austin and Ai worked tirelessly to refactor the code and implement testing on PaperBadger. Austin even added Travis, which I think is magical!


We want to make it as easy as possible for you to jump in and contribute to the project! We got rid of one extra step from Getting Started — Ali added Habitat to read in your environment variables.


Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 11.41.41

To hear more about these changes and what’s next for PaperBadger, join our project call at 11am ET, on Thursday, June 25!

Learning: seeing the plan come together

By running this project, I was able to understand what kind of support we need to provide to the community if we want more researchers leading and contributing to open source software for science. Part of the success of #mozsprint came from the lowered barriers to entry to a new project. Project leads were available, there were many avenues for communication and new contributions and naive questions were expected.

Following Mozilla’s tradition of hosting project calls to discuss open source work with the public, the Science Lab is going to start holding monthly project calls on the third Thursday of the month for our technical prototypes helping further web-enabled science. These calls will be a safe place where a new contributor can learn about the project and regular contributors can learn from each other.

What’s next: Join us June 25 (and every third Thursday of the month)

This call is open to designers, developers, researchers, publishers — pretty much anyone interested in participating and learning more about the project. We could use all sorts of input on this (beyond just code), so if you’re new to open source, come join us – we’d love to have you involved. We want to give researchers a painless way to experience open, iterative workflow and learn how open source can help their community.

WHAT: Call for anyone interested in helping build Contributorship Badges for Science (PaperBadger)
WHEN: June 25, 11am ET

Thank you all for a great #mozsprint! I hope we can bring more of this kind of collaboration and openness to our communities through regular project calls. See you there!