Workshop: Open NIME

This week I led the workshop “Open Research Strategies and Tools in the NIME Community” at NIME 2019 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. We had a very good discussion, which I hope can lead to more developments in the community in the years to come. Below is the material that we wrote for the workshop.

Workshop organisers

  • Alexander Refsum Jensenius, University of Oslo
  • Andrew McPherson, Queen Mary University of London
  • Anna Xambó, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Dan Overholt, Aalborg University Copenhagen
  • Guillaume Pellerin, IRCAM
  • Ivica Ico Bukvic, Virginia Tech
  • Rebecca Fiebrink, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Rodrigo Schramm, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Workshop description

The development of more openness in research has been in progress for a fairly long time, and has recently received a lot of more political attention through the Plan S initiative, The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), EU’s Horizon Europe, and so on. The NIME community has been positive to openness since the beginning, but still has not been able to fully explore this within the community. We call for a workshop to discuss how we can move forward in making the NIME community (even) more open throughout all its activities.

The Workshop

The aim of the workshop is to:

  1. Agree on some goals as a community.
  2. Showcase best practice examples as a motivation for others.
  3. Promote existing solutions for NIME researcher’s needs.
  4. Consider developing new solutions, where needed.
  5. Agree on a set of recommendations for future conferences, to be piloted in 2020.

Workshop Programme

11:30WelcomeIntroduction of participantsIntroduction to the topicAlexander Refsum Jensenius

11:45Open Publication perspectivesAlexander Refsum JenseniusDan OverholtRodrigo Schramm
12:15Group-based discussion:How can we improve the NIME publication template?Should we think anew about the reviewing process (open review?)Should we open for a “lean publishing” model?How do we handle the international nature of NIME?
12:45Plenary discussion
13:00Lunch Break
14:30Open Research perspectivesGuillaume PellerinAnna XambóAndrew McPhersonIvica Ico Bukvic
15:00Group-based discussion:What are some best practice Open NIME examples?What tools/solutions/systems should be promoted at NIME?Who should do the job?
15:30Final discussion
16:00End of workshop

Background information

The following sections present some more information about the topic, including current state of affairs in the field.

What is Open Research?

There are numerous definitions of what Open Research constitutes. The FOSTER initiative has made a taxonomy, with these overarching branches :

  • Open Access: online, free of cost access to peer reviewed scientific content with limited copyright and licensing restrictions.
  • Open Data: online, free of cost, accessible data that can be used, reused and distributed provided that the data source is attributed.
  • Open Reproducible Research: the act of practicing Open Science and the provision of offering to users free access to experimental elements for research reproduction.
  • Open Science Evaluation: an open assessment of research results, not limited to peer-reviewers, but requiring the community’s contribution.
  • Open Science Policies: best practice guidelines for applying Open Science and achieving its fundamental goals.
  • Open Science Tools: refers to the tools that can assist in the process of delivering and building on Open Science.

Not all of these are equally relevant in the NIME community, while others are missing.

Openness in the NIME Community

The only aspect that has been institutionalized in the NIME community is the conference proceedings repository. This has been publicly available from the start at, and in later years all publications have also enforced CC-BY-licensing.

Other approaches to openness are also encouraged, and NIME community members are using various types of open platforms and tools (see the appendix for details):

  • Source code repositories
  • Experiment data repositories
  • Music performance repositories
  • MIR-type repositories
  • Hardware repositories

The question is how we can proceed in making the NIME community more open. This includes the conferences themselves, but also other activities in the community. A workshop on making hardware designs openly available was held in connection to NIME 2016 , and the current project proposal may be seen as a natural extension of that discussion.

The Problem with the Term “Open Science”

Many of the initiatives driving the development of more openness in research refer to this as “Open Science”. In a European context this is particularly driven by some of the key players, including the European Union (EU), the European Research Council (ERC), and the European University Association (EUA). Consequently a number of other smaller institutions and individuals are also using the term, often without thinking very much about the wording.

The main problem with using Open Science as a general term, is that it sounds like this is not something for researchers working in the arts and humanities. This was never the intention, of course, but was more the result of the movement developing from the sciences, and it is difficult to change a term when it has gotten some momentum.

NIME is—and is striving to continue to be—an inclusive community of researchers and practitioners coming from a variety of backgrounds. Many people at NIME would not consider that they work (only) in “science”, but would perhaps feel more comfortable under the umbrella “research”. This term can embrace “scientific research”, but also “artistic research” and R & D found outside of academic institutions. Thus using the term “Open Research” fits better for the NIME community than “Open Science”.


The question of freedom is also connected to the that of openness. In the world of software development, one often talks about “free as in Speech” (libre) or “free as in Beer” (gratis). This point also relates to issues connected to licensing, copyright and reuse. Many people in the community are not affiliated with institutions, and receive payment from their work. Open research might have a close connection with open source, open hardware and open patent. This modern context for research and development of new musical technologies are also beyond academia and must be well planned in order to also attract the industry as partners. How can this be balanced with the needs for openness?

FAIR Principles

Another term that is increasingly used in the community is that of the FAIR principles, which stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. It is important to point out that FAIR is not the same as Open. Even though openness is an overarching aim, there is an understanding that privacy matters and copyright issues are preventing general openness of everything. Still the aim is to make data as open as possible, as closed as necessary. By applying the FAIR principles, it is possible to make metadata available so that it is openly known what types of data exist, and how to ask for access, even though the data may have to be closed.

General Repositories

There are various “bucket-based” repositories that may be used, such as:

What is positive about such repositories is that you can store anything of (more or less) any size. The challenge, however, is the lack of specific metadata, specialized tools (such as visualization methods), and a community.

There are also specific solutions, such as Github for code sharing.

As of 2018 a new repository aimed at coupling benefits of the aforesaid “bucket-based” approach with a robust metadata framework, titled COMPEL, has been introduced. It seeks to provide a convergence point to the diverse NIME-related communities and provide a means of linking their research output.

Openness in the Music Technology community

Looking at many other disciplines, the music technology community has embraced open perspectives in many years. A number of the conferences make their archives publicly available, such as:

There are also various types of open repositories and tools, including:

Best Practice Examples

  • CompMusic as a best practice project in the music technology field 
  • COMPEL focuses on the preservation of reproducible interactive art and more specifically interactive music
  • Bela platform

New paper: MuMYO – Evaluating and Exploring the MYO Armband for Musical Interaction

usertest3Yesterday, I presented my microinteraction paper here at the NIME conference (New Interfaces for Musical Expression), organised at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Today I am presenting a poster based on a paper written together with two of my colleagues at UiO.

MuMYO – Evaluating and Exploring the MYO Armband for Musical Interaction

Kristian Nymoen, Mari Romarheim Haugen, Alexander Refsum Jensenius

The MYO armband from Thalmic Labs is a complete and wireless motion and muscle sensing platform. This paper evaluates the armband’s sensors and its potential for NIME applications. This is followed by a presentation of the prototype instrument MuMYO. We conclude that, despite some shortcomings, the armband has potential of becoming a new “standard” controller in the NIME community.



    address = {Baton Rouge, LA},
    title = {{MuMYO} - {Evaluating} and {Exploring} the {MYO} {Armband} for {Musical} {Interaction}},
    abstract = {The MYO armband from Thalmic Labs is a complete and wireless motion and muscle sensing platform. This paper evaluates the armband's sensors and its potential for NIME applications. This is followed by a presentation of the prototype instrument MuMYO. We conclude that, despite some shortcomings, the armband has potential of becoming a new ``standard'' controller in the NIME community.},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression},
    author = {Nymoen, Kristian and Haugen, Mari Romarheim and Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
    year = {2015}

ICMC 2006 proceedings details

A colleague of mine recently asked if I could help her find the bibligraphic details of the ICMC 2006 proceedings. Apparently this information is not easily available online, and she had spent a great deal of research time trying to find the information.

I was lucky enough to participate in this wonderful event at Tulane University, and still have the paper version of the proceedings in my office. So here is the relevant information, in case anyone else also wonders about these details:

  • Editors (Paper chairs): Georg Essl and Ichiro  Fujinaga
  • November 6-11 2006
  • Publisher: International Computer Music Association, San Francisco, CA & The Music Department, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
  • ISBN: 0-9713192-4-3



NIME 2013

Back from a great NIME 2013 conference in Daejeon + Seoul! For Norwegian readers out there, I have written a blog post about the conference on my head of department blog. I would have loved to write some more about the conference in English, but I think these images from my Flickr account will have to do for now:


At the last of the conference it was also announced that next year’s conference will be held in London and hosted by the Embodied AudioVisual Interaction Group at Goldsmiths. Future chair Atau Tanaka presented this teaser video:

Kinectofon: Performing with shapes in planes

2013-05-28-DSCN7184Yesterday, Ståle presented a paper on mocap filtering at the NIME conference in Daejeon. Today I presented a demo on using Kinect images as input to my sonomotiongram technique.

Kinectofon: Performing with shapes in planes


The paper presents the Kinectofon, an instrument for creating sounds through free-hand interaction in a 3D space. The instrument is based on the RGB and depth image streams retrieved from a Microsoft Kinect sensor device. These two image streams are used to create different types of motiongrams, which, again, are used as the source material for a sonification process based on inverse FFT. The instrument is intuitive to play, allowing the performer to create sound by “touching’’ a virtual sound wall.

Jensenius, A. R. (2013). Kinectofon: Performing with shapes in planes. In Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression, pages 196–197, Daejeon, Korea.


   Address = {Daejeon, Korea},
   Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
   Booktitle = {Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces For Musical Expression},
   Pages = {196--197},
   Title = {Kinectofon: Performing with Shapes in Planes},
   Year = {2013}