Steve Bennett blogs

…about maps, open data, Git, and other tech.

What I learned at e-Research Australasia 2012


  1. Waterfall development still doesn’t work.
  2. Filling an institutional research data registry is still a hard slog.
  3. Omero is not just for optical microscopy.
  4. Spending money so universities can build tools that the private sector will soon provide for free ends badly.
  5. Research data tools that mimicking the design of laymen’s tools (“realestate.com.au for ecologists“) work well
  6. AURIN is brilliant. AuScope is even more brilliant than before.
  7. Touchscreen whiteboards are here, are extremely cool, and cost less than $5000.
  8. AAF still doesn’t work, but will soon. Please.
  9. NeuroHub. If neuroscience is your thing.
  10. Boring, mildly offensive after-dinner entertainment works well as a team-building exercise.
  11. All the state-based e-Research organisations (VeRSI, IVEC, QCIF, Intersect, eRSA, TPAC etc.) are working on a joint framework for e-research support.
  12. Cytoscape: An Open Source Platform for Complex Network Analysis and Visualization
  13. Staff at e-Research organisations have much more informed view of future e-Research projects, having worked on so many of them.
  14. If you tick the wrong checkbox, your paper turns into a poster.
  15. People find the word “productionising” offensive, but don’t mind “productifying”.
  16. CloudStor’s FileSender is the right way for people in the university sector to send big files to each other.

Build it? Wait for someone else to build it?

And a thought that hit me after the conference: although a dominant message over the last few years has been “the data deluge is coming! start building things!”, there are sometimes significant advantages in waiting. e-Research organisations overseas are also building data repositories, registries, tools etc. In many cases, it would pay to wait for a big project overseas to deliver a reusable product, rather than going it alone on a much smaller scale. So, since we (at e-Research organisations) are trying to help many researchers, perhaps we should consider the prospect of some other tool arriving on the scene, when assessing the merit of any individual project.

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