OS Café: Open Tools

Our first virtual Open Scholarship Café: Open Tools

Following our (virtual) Open Scholarship Week in May we organised our first virtual Open Scholarship Café on 16th of June 2020. After an open call to community we had five volunteers presenting a diverse range of tools that are open to use.

Agenda OSCafe 16 June 2020

Open Statistical Software

What tools are used in statistics? There is a long list but it is fair to say that many students will learn first how to use SPSS, a proprietary software owned by IBM and licensed at considerable cost. However, there are free and open alternatives and Chris Noone showed us two of them:

The first one is JASP which is an open-source project supported by the University of Amsterdam and other sponsors. JASP offers standard analysis procedures in both their classical and Bayesian form. Why the name JASP? In recognition of Bayesian pioneer Sir Harold Jeffreys, JASP stands for Jeffreys’s Amazing Statistics Program. The two components of JASP are released under GNU licences.

The second software that Chris demoed was JAMOVI. JAMOVI is a user-friendly, statistical spreadsheet, built on top of R, with a mission to not just provide free easy-to-use statistical software, but to decentralise the publishing of statistical methods as much as possible.

Create presentations with emacs-reveal

Next was Niall Moran who showcased presentations that are generated with emacs-reveal and make use of the HTML presentation framework reveal.js. We saw Niall use this for his slides at the Open Scholarship Week in May. Niall has put a useful and short introduction here: https://niall-moran.gitlab.io/emacs-reveal-howto/#/sec-title-slide. Further tips on how to use emacs-reveal can be found at https://oer.gitlab.io/hints.html.

Niall demoing emacs-reval

Discover Open Educational Resources

Next up was Kris Meen from the NUI Galway Library who showed easy ways of finding Open Educational Resources (OERs). OERs are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone and available under a license that allows users to use, remix, improve and redistribute.

Kris showed participants how easy it is to locate high quality OERs using OpenStax and OER Commons. For further resources you can look at this crowd-sourced Google doc (thanks to Iain McLaren).

Kris demoing Merlot

Editing images with GIMP

We all use the word “to photoshop” as a synonym for image editing so widespread is the use of that proprietary software. However, there are some free (bit not open) online tools available such as Photopea or Pixlr but nothing matches the power of the image editor GIMP which is also free and open source!

Eoin Cullina gave us a brief introduction to the software, which is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. GIMP is released under GPLv3+ licenses.

Eoin showcasing the many editing options of GIMP

Introduction to Jupyter Notebooks

Finally, Kevin Moerman gave an introduction to Jupyter Notebooks for Teaching and Research. The Jupyter Notebook is a living online notebook, letting staff and students weave together computational information (code, data, statistics) with narrative, multimedia, and graphs. Nature called it the “data scientists’ computational notebook of choice”.

Kevin presented examples from his own use of Jupyter Notebooks to show that you can easily and clearly communicate science with these and the science remains “alive” and fordable (shareable, reproducible). This might lead to a new form of publication, the executable paper.

Kevin showing functionality of Jupyter notebooks