Important dates

  • First come, first served
    Lightning talk requests
  • February 22, 2012
    Call for presentations closes
  • February 29, 2012
    Schedule released
  • March 23
    Award nominations closes
  • March 29, 2012
    RDFC 2012

RDFC 2012 – The Schedule

We proudly present the schedule of the Reykjavik Digital Freedoms Conference 2012:

March 29, 2012

09:00 Coffee and registration
09:30 – 10:30 Keynote: Open Access in Europe: how is it progressing? – Alma Swan, SPARC Europe
10:30 – 10:50 Open access to scientific research data, Guðmundur Þórisson, University of Iceland
10:50 – 11:15 Coffee break
11:15 – 11:35 Iceland’s participation in OpenAIREplus – Sólveig Þorsteinsdóttir, National University Hospital
11:40 – 12:00 Open Access and the Research Funds at Rannís – Hallgrímur Jónasson, Rannís

12:00 – 13:00 Award Ceremony and Lunch

13:00 – 13:50 Lightning talks organized by Hakkavélin
14:00 – 15:00 Keynote: Before and After SOPA – Glyn Moody, freelance journalist
15:00 – 15:20 Accused of thievery by FTT – Dagþór S. Haraldsson
15:20 – 15:50 Coffee break (30 minutes)
15:50 – 16:10 The Full Potential of the Internet – Jonas Öberg
16:15 – 16:35 Ebooks and accessibility – Birkir Gunnarsson
16:40 – 17:00 Mining for freedom in the european institutions – Stefan Marsiske


The conference will take place in Bíó Paradís, Hverfisgata 54, 101 Reykajvik.

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Social Event at Faktorý

Thursday evening, after the conference, Reykjavik Digital Freedoms Conference invites guests and friends to a social event at Faktorý, Smiðjustíg 6. RDFC has booked the backroom (through the door at the back to right).

An RDFC representative will sell a limited amount of coupons for beers at 500 ISK each. Guests who wish to buy coupons are asked to bring cash.

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Changes to the schedule

We have unfortunately had to change the schedule a bit. Ian Watson will not give his talk on Open access book publishing in Iceland. Ian will play a more central role as the conference presenter, i.e. presenting each talk. Guðmundur Þórisson has stepped in and will give a talk instead of Ian. Guðmundur’s talk will be on Open access to scientific research data.

Presentation: Hallgrímur Jónasson

Open Access and the Research Funds at Rannís

Research funding agencies have played an important role in the spread of open access policies around the world. A number of research funders have instituted requirements that publications supported by their grants be made available to readers without charge. However, not all research funding agencies have done so. This talk will discuss the current status of open access at Rannís, the Icelandic Center for Research, and what the likely future developments are.

About Hallgrímur Jónasson

Hallgrímur Jónasson has been the General director for Rannís, the Icelandic Center for Research, since april 2008. He was the General director for the Technological Institute of Iceland (Icetec) from 1992 to 2007. He was a member of the Science and Technology Policy Council from the beginning to 2008 and a member of the Board of the Technology Developement Fund from 2004 to 2009.

Presentation: Guðmundur Þórisson

Open access to scientific research data

The pursuit of scientific knowledge is built on a foundation of published, peer-reviewed, reproducible and verifiable research findings. Collection and analysis of data – generated via artificial experiments or gathered via observations of the natural world – has always been at the core of this enterprise and its importance has been growing. Fueled by huge advances in computer technology and the emergence of the Internet in only the past two decades, the “digital revolution” has enabled so-called “Big Science” fields such as genomics, astronomy and high-energy particle physics to address scientific questions not previously practical, possible or even imagined. Key to the tremenduous recent advances in these fields has been broad sharing of the data generated, often via deposition in online digital repositories or specialized databases.

However, outside of a small number of these high-profile disciplines and/or certain classes of data where data sharing is more or less the norm, there are signs of trouble. A great deal of research is being published based on primary or processed data that is in one way or another inaccessible (e.g. behind a journal paywall, or simply unpublished), or accessible but nearly or completely unusable (e.g. non-standard data formats, insufficient descriptive metadata).
This is truly alarming, because these research findings are therefore often not amenable to be independently reproduced, verified & validated by other researchers. The current situation also results in wasted opportunities and far from optimal use of research funding. Research data can frequently be reused and re-purposed, often via integration with other, related datasets to address different scientific questions not considered original study that generated the data. Many important datasets are heavily under-utilized and could – with better access and a focus on maximizing reuse value – have a great deal more scientific impact.

The presentation will outline some of these important issues around research data sharing, data use/reuse and data citation, and discuss some key parts of the solution(s) going forward, with a focus on several relevant international efforts.

About Guðmundur Þórisson

Gudmundur ‘Mummi’ Thorisson is an academic and consultant interested in scientific communication, in particular as this relates to open access to and use/reuse of research data in the life sciences. He has been involved in various projects relating to identity & unique identifiers in research and scholarly communication, most recently the Open Researcher and Contributor ID initiative and VIVO. Through his work in the GEN2PHEN project he has contributed to a number of database projects in the biomedical research domain.

Gudmundur holds a PhD from the University of Leicester, where he is currently employed part-time as post-doctoral researcher, whilst also working with researchers at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik where he is now based. Before starting postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom in 2006, Gudmundur spent a number of years working as a scientific programmer in industry and academia, after graduating with a B.Sc. degree in biology from the University of Iceland.

Some relevant fragments of Gudmundur’s public online identity:

Presentation: Stefan Marsiske

Mining for freedom in the European institutions

How can coders affect policymaking? We need tools to defend our newly discovered freedoms on the internet. Much of the threats are of legal nature. For improving our chances at succeeding there are now tools like Pippi Longstrings, memopol, respectmynet and a tool with a boring name: parltrack.

About Stefan Marsiske

Stefan Marsiske is a free software developer who cares about human rights in the Internet context, he supports various organizations dealing with such issues. He is a founder of startups, a hackerspace, he serves as the VP for infrastructure in the Hungarian Open Standards Alliance and he is a co-author of the FCForum charter. He has ten years of telecommunication industrial background.

Presentation: Birkir Gunnarsson

eBooks and people with print disabilities – Match made in heaven or a barrier to digital inclusion? It‘s up to us!

The evolution of the printed book into a set of digital files displayed on computers or smart devices brings about a gigantic change in the way we read and interact with it. It also holds the key to unlocking a whole new world of information to people with print disabilities (visual impairments, cognitive impairments such as dyslexia, and people with certain types of mobility impairments); a group that accounts for between 10 and 15% of the population in a typical western society. It is estimated that only 5% of books are available to this group in accessible formats in the western world and only 1% of books in developing countries. This is often referred to as the „book famine“.

The digitization of the book, if done correctly, combined with software on smart devices that provide non-visual access or enhanced reading experience can go a long way towards making most books accessible and levelling the playing field for access to information.
For this to happen, standards need to be in place, open source software and technologies need to be deployed and worlwide expertese on the problem needs to be utilized.

We already have the EPUB3 standard for the creation and playback of eBooks which was created in close collaboration with experts in digital accessibility requirements, we have open source software that can turn digital information into speech, braille, large print, or a combination of all of these, and we have devices such as smart phones, PDAs and computers capable of running this software. The key to eliminating the book famine lies in making sure we can leverage these technologies and get the big publishers and device manufacturers to utilize them. This is being done through various means, ranging from technical and standards development to law suits and awareness campaigning.

This presentation will explain the problems print-disabled people are faced with, the EPUB3 standards and the promises it holds and the challenges to making accessible eBooks a reality, including the reluctance of some major eBook and hardware vendors to go along with the standards, opting instead to create proprietary ecosystems of inaccessible hardware and software.

It will explain why an inaccessible eBook is in some ways a bigger problem than its printed counterpart and, if time allows, provide a short overview of the most popular eBook reading systems and to what extent, if any, they offer accessible solutions.

About Birkir Gunnarsson

Birkir Gunnarsson works in many areas of Assistive Technology and web accessibility for various organizations in Iceland including the Iceland National Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Library for the Blind and Dyslexic and the Blindrafelagid, Iceland Association of the Visually Impaired. He is also a member of Anec, the European Consumer Organization and the European Blind Union Access to Information Experts Committee. Birkir holds bachelor degrees in Computer Science and Economics from Yale University and has worked with Microsoft and Design Science, a company that makes math authoring and reading software such as MathType and MathPlayer.

Birkir also worked as a financial analyst for Wachovia Bank and Glitnir Bank, both of whom ended up in bankruptcy situation. Though he does not consider himself effectively contributing to that unfortunate outcome.

Presentation: Jonas Öberg

The Full Potential of the Internet

“Our vision is nothing less than realizing the full potential of the Internet.” So starts the vision statement for Creative Commons, an organisation best known for its work in stewarding the commons through its licenses. While providing the necessary technical and legal tools to support universal access to research and education is necessary to realize the full potential of the Internet, the work can not stop there. Stewarding the commons carries with it a responsibility to ensure that people from any part of the world can participate in and take equal responsibility for the commons. Copyright, as well as net neutrality, privacy and other topics are all equally important and must be addressed together in order to realize the full potential of the Internet for all. This talk will focus on new and emerging trends, challenge the common perception of Creative Commons and outline a vision for the future where Creative Commons licensing is the norm, and net neutrality is never questioned.

About Jonas Öberg

Jonas Öberg is a long term activist and proponent of freedom in the digital age, having been a volunteer for the Free Software Foundation, co-founder of the Free Software Foundation Europe, and recently appointed European Regional Project Manager for Creative Commons.

Presentation: Sólveig Þorsteinsdóttir

Iceland’s participation in OpenAIREplus

The OpenAIREplus project is about open access, research archives, and especially how it is possible to make scholarly publications within Europe available through open access. As such, the purpose of the project is to work towards open access and long time preservation of scientific articles and data.

The OpenAIREplus project is funded by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme. More than 40 universities and research centers in Europe participate in the project.

Scientists who have received grants from the European Union since 2008 have agreed to publish their articles in open access.

This presentation will be in Icelandic!

About Sólveig Þorsteinsdóttir

Sólveig is the head of the health research archive of the Landspítali University Hospital. She is a member of the group and manages Hirsla, an open access repository, designed as a place to store, index, preserve and redistribute scholarly work of hospital employees. She has received a grant to participate in OpenAIREplus on behalf of Iceland.

Presentation: Dagþór S. Haraldsson

Accused of Thievery by FTT

The presentation examines the copyright royalty collecting societies in Iceland, such as FTT, and explains how they accuse regular people of being thieves while in fact acting worse themselves. The presentation will look at the newest solution proposed by the copyright industry, the old idea of an Internet levy, and examine why it is unfair, especially in comparison to how things work in real life. The presentation is based on an article, written by the presenter and published in Fréttablaðið.

About Dagþór S. Haraldsson

Dagþór is just like you, a regular person being accused of thievery. The great injustice, outlined in his presentation, drove Dagþór to write the article on which the talk is based where he laid out how unfair the current system is. Currently he works as an office worker for one of the larger shipping companies in Iceland, after a successful career in sailing.

Presentation: Ian Watson

Open access book publishing in Iceland

We will take a look at the Icelandic scholarly publishing world and ask questions about the way that books and monographs are funded and distributed. We’ll look at successful and less successful examples, and we will try to figure out what combination of business models can ensure a thriving scholarly culture which maximizes the number and quality of works produced and works read. The focus of open access scholarly publishing is broadening to include books as well as journals, but how big of an impact will this have?

About Ian Watson

Ian Watson is assistant professor of social sciences at Bifröst University. He also manages the Dagsbrún Library at the Reykjavík Academy and edits the open-access Bifröst Journal of Social Science. Ian holds a PhD in sociology from Rutgers University.