NIME Publication Ecosystem Workshop

During the NIME conference this year (which as run entirely online due to the coronavirus crisis), I led a workshop called NIME Publication Ecosystem Workshop. In this post, I will explain the background of the workshop, how it was run in an asynchronous+synchronous mode, and reflect on the results.

If you don’t want to read everything below, here is a short introduction video I made to explain the background (shot at my “summer office” up in the Hardangervidda mountain range in Norway):

Background for the workshop

The idea of the NIME Publication Ecosystem Workshop was to continue community discussions started in the successful NIMEHub workshop in Brisbane in 2016 and the Open NIME workshop in Porto Alegre in 2019. Besides, comes discussions about establishing a NIME journal, as well as better solutions to archive various types of NIME-related activities.

The term “publication” should in this context be understood in a broad sense, meaning different types of output of the community, including but not limited to textual productions. This is particularly important at NIME since this community consists of people designing, building, and performing new musical interfaces.

When I gathered a workshop team and proposed the topic back in January, this was mainly coming out of the increasing focus on Open Research. Please note that I use “open research” here, not “open science”, a significant difference that I have written about in a previous blog post. The focus on more openness in research has recently received a lot of political attention through the Plan S initiative, The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), EU’s Horizon Europe, funder’s requirements of FAIR data principles, and so on.

Of course, the recent coronavirus crisis has made it even more necessary to develop open research strategies, as well as finding alternative ways of communicating our research. This also includes rethinking the format of conferences. The need to travel less is not something that will go away after the coronavirus crisis calms down, however. Long-term change is necessary to reduce problems with climate change. While such a move may feel limiting to some of us that could travel to international conferences every year, it also opens possibilities for many others to participate. The topic of this year’s NIME conference was “accessibility,” and it turned out that the virtual conference format was, indeed, one that promoted accessibility in many ways. I will write more on that in another blog post.

When it comes to openness in research, this is something the NIME community has embraced since the beginning. The paper proceedings, for example, have been freely available online all the time. Also, the database of the archive has been made available as a collection of BibTeX files. Some people don’t understand why we do this, but opening up also the metadata for the archive makes it much more flexible to integrate with other data sources. It also makes it much easier to research the community’s output.

Despite these efforts, there are also several things about the NIME conference that we have not been able to make openly available, such as hardware designs, code, empirical data, music performances, installations, and so on. This is not that we don’t want to, but it has proven hard to find long-term solutions that are maintainable by a volunteer-driven community. People in the community have different interests and skills, so it is essential to find solutions that are both innovative and user-friendly at the same time. The longevity of chosen solutions is also important since NIME is central to an increasing number of people’s careers. Hence, we need to balance the exploration of new solutions with the need for preservation and stability. 

In addition to finding solutions for the NIME conference itself, the establishment of a NIME journal has been discussed for several years. This discussion has surfaced again during the testing of a new paper template for the conference. But rather than thinking about the conference proceedings and a journal as two separate projects, one could imagine a broader NIME publication ecosystem that could cover everything from draft manuscripts, complete papers, peer-reviewed proceedings papers, and peer-reviewed journal papers. This could be thought of as a more “Science 2.0”-like system in which the entire research process is open from the beginning.

The aims of the workshop were therefore to:

  1. discuss how a broader publication ecosystem built around (but not limited to) the annual conference could work
  2. brainstorm and sketch concrete (technical) solutions to support such an idea
  3. agree on some concrete steps on how to proceed with the development of such ideas the coming year

Workshop format

We had initially planned to have a physical workshop in Birmingham but ended up with an online event. To make it as accessible as possible, we decided to run it using a combination of asynchronous and synchronous delivery. This included the preparation of various types of introductory material by the organizing committee and some participants. All of this material was gathered into a pre-workshop padlet, which was sent to the participants some days before the online workshop.

The synchronous part of the workshop was split over two-hour-long time slots. We ended up doing it like this to allow people from all time zones to participate in at least one of the workshops. Since most of the organizers were located in Europe, and the conference itself was scheduled around UK time, we ended up with one slot in the morning (9-10 UK time) and one in the afternoon (17-18 UK time). The program for each of the slots was the same so that everyone would feel that they participated equally in the event.

Around 30 people showed up for each time slot, with only a few participating in both. Since preparatory material was distributed beforehand, most of the online workshop time consisted of discussions in breakout rooms with 5-6 people in each group. The groups wrote their feedback into separate padlets and also reported back in a short plenary session at the end of the hour-long session.

A post-workshop padlet was created to gather links after the workshop. The topic was also lively discussed in separate threads on the Slack channel that was used during the conference. After the conference, and as a result of the workshop, we have established a forum on nime.org, with a separate ecosystem thread.

All the pre- and post-workshop material from the workshop has been archived in Zenodo.

Conclusions

It is, of course, impossible to conclude such a vast topic after one workshop. But what is clear is that there is an interest in the community to establish a more extensive ecosystem around the NIME conference. The establishment of a forum to continue discussion is one concrete move ahead. So is the knowledge gained from running a very successful online conference this year. This included pre-recorded talks, written Q&A in Slack channels, plenary sessions, and breakout rooms. A lot of this can also be archived and be part of an extended ecosystem. All in all, things are moving in the right direction, and I am very excited to see where we end up!

New publication: Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams

SMC-poster-thumbToday I will present the paper Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams at the Sound and Music Computing Conference (SMC) in Stockholm. The paper is based on a new implementation of my sonomotiongram technique, optimised for non-realtime use. I presented a realtime version of the sonomotiongram technique at ACHI 2012 and a Kinect version, the Kinectofon, at NIME earlier this year. The new paper presents the ImageSonifyer application and a collection of videos showing how it works.

Title
Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams

Links

Abstract
The paper presents a non-realtime implementation of the sonomotiongram method, a method for the sonification of motiongrams. Motiongrams are spatiotemporal displays of motion from video recordings, based on frame-differencing and reduction of the original video recording. The sonomotiongram implementation presented in this paper is based on turning these visual displays of motion into sound using FFT filtering of noise sources. The paper presents the application ImageSonifyer, accompanied by video examples showing the possibilities of the sonomotiongram method for both analytic and creative applications

Reference
Jensenius, A. R. (2013). Non-realtime sonification of motiongrams. In Proceedings of Sound and Music Computing, pages 500–505, Stockholm.

BibTeX

 @inproceedings{Jensenius:2013f,
    Address = {Stockholm},
    Author = {Jensenius, Alexander Refsum},
    Booktitle = {Proceedings of Sound and Music Computing},
    Pages = {500--505},
    Title = {Non-Realtime Sonification of Motiongrams},
    Year = {2013}}

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:

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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:

NIME 2013 deadline approaching

nime2013-logo

Here is a little plug for the submission deadline for this year’s NIME conference. I usually don’t write so much about deadlines here, but as the current chair of the international steering committee for the conference series, I feel that I should do my share in helping to spread the word. The NIME conference is a great place to meet academics, designers, technologists, and artists, all working on creating weird instruments and music. Here is some more information about this year’s conference:

NIME 2013 will be hosted by the Graduate School of Culture Technology at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology)Daejeon, Korea, and will also feature a series of special events in Seoul.

There are four submission categories, all with a deadline of 1 February: