Opasnet WSA contest preparation

From Opasnet
Jump to: navigation, search

This page contains preparational stuff for WSA contest


  • Contest website
  • Registration starts 1.2.2011
  • Registration ends 25.3.2011
  • Jury evaluation starts 7.4.2011 and ends 14.4.2011
  • Opasnet must be in top shape before 7.4.2011

Evaluation criteria

  1. Quality and comprehensiveness of content
  2. Ease of use: functionality, navigation and orientation
  3. Value added through interactivity and multimedia
  4. Quality of design (aesthetic value of graphics / music or sounds)
  5. Quality of craftsmanship (technical realisation)
  6. Strategic importance for the global development of the Information Society
  7. Accessibility according to the W3C (http://www.w3.org)

Product data

A previous version contains comments about content and alternative texts.

Short description

(in English, max. 1000 characters) Lyhyt teksti, tarkoituksena vakuuttaa tuomari siitä että tähän työhän kannattaa paneutua tarkemmin. Hissipuhe!

Opasnet is a collective knowledge production environment for improving societal decision-making. It is designed for self-organised groups to bring in, synthesize, and critically discuss scientific information and value judgements in open assessments that influence decisions. These can take many shapes ranging from testing the validity of claims presented in mass media to constructing policy recommendations and expert advice for the decision makers. The philosophy of Opasnet is to promote information sharing and collective problem solving in all areas of society, especially in governance. Opasnet is open to everyone and its users - citizens, scientists and decision makers - can contribute in various roles from data provider to discussion moderator. If one classifies social media platforms according to what kind of questions they address, Facebook asks 'How are you?', Wikipedia asks 'What is this?', and Opasnet asks 'What should we do about it?'.

Long description

(in English, max. 4000 characters) Tämä on yksityiskohtaisempi selostus työstä, jos on hyviä käyttäjätilastoja tai palautetta, ne kannattaa myös esitellä tässä.

Opasnet is designed for analysis and interpretation of information of general kind, and it enables publication and collaborative production of original research, which has practical relevance for society both in the long term and in the short term.

A typical assessment task in Opasnet would be to collectively answer a question such as 'How should Town Y reduce its energy needs and thus greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % in the next 20 years?' (see http://en.opasnet.org/w/Urgenche) from the public health, economic, and ecological perspectives. Some parts of the analysis can utilize scientific facts and data more directly (e.g. life-cycle analysis of CO2 emissions of different options) whereas some others rely on the values of the citizenry (do I opt for the more expensive choice if it reduces the risk of adverse health effects?). The former question can be answered by experts (government officials, scientists) and the latter requires input from the citizens as regards their values and expectations. For historical reasons, Opasnet contains several risk-benefit analyses about environmental health (a field studying health effects caused by environmental factors). However, all types of research issues and methodologies can be utilized in Opasnet.

To help the users utilize the growing body of knowledge produced in the assessments, Opasnet relies on a systematic theory of information representation, which helps the users to organize the results in terms of well-defined variables and data structures that can be re-used and combined by other users. Therefore, in addition to offering MediaWiki tools for textual knowledge generation, Opasnet also provides tools for model-based analysis. This is important because from policy planning to engineering problems, model-based decision making is becoming more prevalent in all areas of governance. Opasnet provides an environment where the underlying assumptions of the models can be documented and debated, where the models and the data can be published, shared, and collectively improved. Importantly, also the quality and usefulness of the contributions can be evaluated by the users.

Numerical data related to quantifiable variables used in assessments can be stored in a database integrated with the wiki. The database, Opasnet Base, is a storage and retrieval system operated simply through the browser. It is designed to be flexible enough to store information in almost any format: probability distributions or deterministic point estimates; spatially or temporally distributed data; or data with multiple dimensions. It can be used as a direct source of model input data. Thus, users can develop own models and directly download data from a shared repository, utilizing e.g. the current population data, climate scenarios, or dose-responses of pollutants.

Data can be uploaded into Opasnet Base directly from tables on Opasnet pages or by using any external statistical software that supports database connections. Thus, any numerical method and program, open source or proprietary, can be used in quantification of variables, and the results can be stored in Opasnet Base. However, many users have no access to or skills for proprietary computing software. Therefore Opasnet supports R modelling language, and R code can be run on Opasnet server. The user interface is easy: code is written directly on a wiki page, and it can be run by anyone simply by clicking a button. A growing selection of ready-made codes and functions are available on Opasnet pages.

All parts of the integrated Opasnet environment including the R tool and Opasnet Base are open source.

In year 2010 Finnish language version of Opasnet had over 6500 unique visitors; the average time spent on site and the number of pages nearly doubled. The English language version of Opasnet, which contains considerably more articles and assessments, had nearly 2000 unique visitors in 2010, and will grow further driven by international science collaborations in 2011.

Favourite path to the product

(in English, max. 2000 characters) Tähän kannattaa panna selostus siitä, mitä valikkoja/painikkeita klikkaamalla kilpailutyöstä saa mahdollisimman nopeasti parhaan yleiskuvan.

For a more thorough guidance to Opasnet, see http://en.opasnet.org/w/Welcome_to_Opasnet . In brief, Opasnet has three distinct wikis: two language versions, in English (http://en.opasnet.org) and in Finnish (http://fi.opasnet.org), and a third wiki, Heande, for materials that cannot (yet) be published and is mainly used by researchers for their actual work; the third part does not participate in the WSA contest. First you might want to login (top right corner) using username: WSA and password: wsa2011. Everyone can create an account to Opasnet, but you can browse through pages without login.

The structure of Opasnet is very close to Wikipedia with its encyclopedia article pages, categories, portals, page histories, discussion pages, and special pages for different functionalities. The main content is organised as assessment pages that have several sub-pages called variables. Each variable is actually a description of a part of (an) assessment model(s), and many variables have computational code (under title Formula) and/or numerical results (link Show results). Codes can be run by clicking the button below the code.

Assessments are done for the practical purpose of guiding decisions, whether daily decisions by individuals or policies by nations. Therefore, the Main Page contains a list of recent recommendations based on assessments. See e.g. http://bit.ly/fizLvI (Fukushima accident and iodine tablets) http://bit.ly/eyXZ3p (pollutants in salmon).

There are several finished assessments performed in Opasnet about environment and health: http://bit.ly/fX3mup (indoor moisture and asthma) http://bit.ly/g4frtS (radon) http://bit.ly/f232ae (heat islands) http://bit.ly/h5bk3Z (methylmercury). There are also more recent examples about ongoing work: http://bit.ly/gTGfyf (swine flu). Assessments (mature pages in general) can be rated by the readers based on their scientific quality and perceived usefulness. The rating bar shows on the top right corner of a page.

Installation procedure

No installation procedure is needed. Opasnet is a web service which be accessed from anywhere and it can be used with any modern web browser.

(in English, max. 2000 characters)

Special technical requirements

No special technical requirements are needed. Opasnet can be used with any modern web browser. However we recommend to use Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari.

(in English, max. 2000 characters)

Short description of the reason for production

(in English, max. 2000 characters)

The purpose of Opasnet is to improve democratic decision making. The work started in the late 1990's from an idea that decisions in the society are made with poorer information than what actually exists. Several reasons were identified: 1) lack of resources to search for information, which is dispersed; 2) lack of motivation and practices among information owners to make information available for decision making; 3) lack of understanding of the actual values and preferences of citizens; 4) lack of critical, systematic discussion about conclusions that are coherent with information and values; and finally, 5) lack of societal demand to improve problems 1-4.

These problems were especially pronounced in two very different kinds of situations. First, complex, multi-disciplinary, trans-boundary issues such as climate change policies are too difficult to handle by using a single assessment, model, or expert group. Therefore, the current methods work poorly. Second, daily decisions about home insulation, transport mode, or climate-friendly diet are made by millions of decision makers. Each person may choose rationally for oneself but without understanding its societal impacts on e.g. climate. Both kinds of decision makers need guidance by better information.

The work to improve the situation started in early 2000's by utilising and improving impact assessment and decision analysis in environmental health. Later, several innovations for informing decision makers were developed and implemented in Opasnet: an open web-workspace to facilitate information flow between researchers, decision makers, and stakeholders; a method to perform assessments by open self-organised groups; methods to handle critical discussions (both scientific and political); methods to work on quantitative policy models online; and a versatile database to store inputs to and results from these policy assessment models.

Target group for the product

(in English, max. 2000 characters)

Researchers can use Opasnet to apply their research directly to practical and acute problems. With Opasnet, they can also prove the policy relevance to science funders straightforwardly (Cf. US National Institutes of Health (NIH) regulations on Wikipedia publishing.)

By opening up public data and by inviting citizens to participate in policy planning from the beginning is already becoming reality in many countries. In Opasnet government officials can give and get expert advice (e.g. on legal issues concerning proposals), search for best-practices solutions with the citizens through comparing ideas and suggestions qualitatively and quantitatively.

Opasnet allows citizen networks and special interest groups to help in governance and to which parts of planning tasks can be outsourced. Opasnet invites these groups to develop their ideas to mature enough level so that they can be directly used by authorities as parts of official plans.

Opasnet is the missing link between peer-reviewed science journals and daily newspapers. It helps to re-animate investigative journalism by offering a free pool of collectively enriched information that journalists can use when preparing articles for their respective newspapers. The primary material, with all the comments, and supplementing material can always be found on Opasnet for those newspaper readers who are interested in seeing the larger picture or suspect bias in the journalistic process.

Politicians can engage in discussions and teach themselves more about subject issues. Political parties can test their platforms openly in collaboration with the people.

Many assessments provide practical guidance that everyone can use. Individual people can teach themselves how the global problems affect their personal life and well-being (health, money etc.), and also see, how their individual choices ultimately affect the bigger picture.

WSA Award winners 2011

WSA Award winners 2011
ID Category ProductTitle Country Company
2039 e-Health & Environment EPI Life Singapore EPHONE INTERNATIONAL (S) PTE LTD
2040 e-Health & Environment Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Digital Museum China Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine International Exchange and Cooperating Center (BTCMIECC)
3012 e-Health & Environment http://www.verdeate.com Colombia Ideas Online
2004 e-Health & Environment SPARX New Zealand University of Auckland
2031 e-Health & Environment COLLAPSUS Netherlands Submarine
3001 e-Learning & Education Wikigoviya Sri Lanka Audio Visual Centre, Department of Agriculture
3044 e-Learning & Education Technology and Civilization in Ancient China China Information Center of China Association for Science and Technology
3039 e-Learning & Education Rufoof United Arab Emirates Flagship Projects Marketing FZ-LLC
3030 e-Learning & Education Bitstrips for Schools Canada Bitstrips Inc.
3057 e-Learning & Education Dnevnik.ru Russian Federation Dnevnik.ru
4041 e-Entertainment & Games JoyTunes Israel JoyTunes
4035 e-Entertainment & Games My name is Haas Netherlands Mijn naam is Haas
4018 e-Entertainment & Games Mini-mundi: tamagotchi” online game for the environment Guatemala MilknCookies
4027 e-Entertainment & Games Sumo Ireland OmniMotion Technology Ltd.
7002 e-Business & Commerce Areoscan New Zealand Areograph Limited
7027 e-Business & Commerce Hootsuite Canada HootSuite Media, Inc.
7050 e-Business & Commerce Monaqasat Lebanon NuServ Online Tender Services LLC
7006 e-Business & Commerce HammerKit Finland HammerKit Oy
7058 e-Business & Commerce Star Ghana Multiplant Ltd
4052 e-Entertainment & Games Limbo Denmark Playdead
8050 e-Inclusion & Participation Erada Egypt Egypt ICT Trust Fund
8003 e-Inclusion & Participation Epooq Finland Oppifi Oy
1040 e-Inclusion & Participation Help for children Lithuania State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service Under The Ministry of Social Security and Labour
8012 e-Inclusion & Participation News and learning with sign language Hungary Hallatlan Foundation
8049 e-Inclusion & Participation MEXICO IN COMMUNITY Mexico IT Cooperation Center Iberoamericana AC
4003 e-Science & Technology - Making movies with a screensaver Finland Laurea University of Applied Sciences
6017 e-Science & Technology Peer Water Exchange India Peer Water Exchange
6023 e-Science & Technology Discover Primary Science & Maths Ireland Discover Science & Engineering
6034 e-Science & Technology PORDATA Portugal Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation
6046 e-Science & Technology Scinexx Germany MMCD NEW MEDIA GmbH
1014 e-Government & Institutions e-Annual Report Estonia Centre of Registers and Information Systems
1015 e-Government & Institutions my cpf – CPF Service Transformation Singapore Central Provident Fund Board Singapore
1020 e-Government & Institutions Empowering India India Liberty Institute
1028 e-Government & Institutions Tunisian Industry Portal Tunisia Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation
1038 e-Government & Institutions DigID Netherlands Logius
3017 e-Culture & Heritage World of the Habsburgs Austria Schloss Schoenbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H
5002 e-Culture & Heritage Vaeggen/The WALL New Zealand Gibson Group Ltd
5027 e-Culture & Heritage Redress Remix Canada Stitch Media
5035 e-Culture & Heritage The Nude Maja Venezuela La Maja Desnuda
5056 e-Culture & Heritage The Germans Germany ZDF