MSL on the Road: CSCW, Science and Social Computing

If you follow the activities of the Mozilla Science Lab, you’ll notice that we participate in and coordinate a TON of events. With the help of our science fellows, we’ve expanded our calendar of community calls, working open workshops, global and local sprints to include projects with partners like Docathon, BrainHack Global, CSV Conf, Bioinformatics Open Days and many more! Part of constantly expanding our activity portfolio centers around conference attendance and contributing our event models to broader discussions around coordinated community events for open science.

Last week, at the 20th annual CSCW (Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing) in Portland, Oregon, the Science Lab participated in a workshop to crowdsource and share methodologies, tips and tricks for stellar event design. Read on to learn more, and feel free to share our assets widely :).

Small-group discussion at the Working Open Workshop (Berlin, 2016)

The Program

Last year, a research collaborative at Carnegie Mellon reached out to the Mozilla Science Lab to contribute to some of their research on hackathons: how they’re organized, ideally executed, and/or poorly implemented in the context of science and open web events. From this collaboration came a recently-minted paper called Hacking and Making at Time-Bounded Events: Current Trends and Next Steps in Research and Event Design (currently available in the ACM Digital Library). This theme and research guided the development of a one-day workshop pre-ceding ACM’s CSCW, where the CMU researchers were joined by several co-organizers who juried session proposals over the past two months, collaboratively composing a schedule of hackathon-related research spanning university-wide hack events, social and community driven programs, and ethnographic studies on the social dynamics and etymology of “hacking.” The complete schedule featured paired talks and discussions around various types of hack-events, including “sprints” like the Science Lab Global Sprint, “code fests”, “hackdays,” and “hackweeks.” Participants tackled open questions like the ideal scope and size of a hack event, the logistics and scheduling hurdles encountered in the planning process, as well as diverse funding, topology, and mission models.

Collaborative hacking at the Working Open Workshop (Berlin 2016)

The Outcomes

Well-aligned with Mozilla’s mission to support the web as a global public resource and ensure that web literacy and digital inclusion are at the forefront of conversations around collaborative internet health, the workshop was a great resource share around structured hacking events. To this workshop series, the Science Lab contributed a short paper and presentation on participatory and remote event design, cataloguing our annual tentpole activities like Mozfest and the Global Sprint alongside semi-annual happenings like training workshops and Working Open Workshops. You can check out the website and workshop proceedings, and stay tuned for updates to come out of our mailing group list and our Slack channel (which you’re welcome to join if you’re interested!).

Epic slide presentation, click to view the whole deck!

Upcoming Events

To follow on this hacking event design theme, we’re supporting a few awesome events this week which you can note in #mozfellow Teon Brook’s blog from Monday.  This week, we’ll host our second Working Open Workshop (Friday + Saturday, March 10-11) in Montréal Canada. Check out our resources below to follow along remotely, or join us for lightning talks at our Open Science Kickoff Meetup on March 10th, 6:30-9PM.

Flyer for our Montréal Open Science Mixer (courtesy of @PeterGrabitz)

Interested in hosting a Working Open Workshop (WOW) in your city? Get in touch with the Mozilla Science Lab via

Meantime, happy hacking!