User:Daniel Mietchen

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Contact-new.svg Daniel Mietchen
Daniel Mietchen.jpg
Employer:Structural Brain Mapping Group, University of Jena
Languages:German, English, French, Russian fluent, others basic
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Professional background

I am a biophysicist working on the evolution of animal communication systems. Currently, my focus is on brain morphometry.


3D Magnetic Resonance Microscopy of Dehydrated Biological Specimens (pdf)
The temperature dependence of electrorotation - automated dielectric single-cell spectroscopy (pdf)
Catalytic activities of alternative hammerhead ribozymes

My interests


  1. Brain morphometry
  2. Non-invasive imaging
  3. Magnetic Resonance
  4. Cognitive evolution
  5. Vocal learning
  6. Systems biology


  1. Sustainable science
  2. Integrating wikis with scientific workflows
  3. Central Asian folk music


My wiki projects

  • I registered for eL4C41, a Learning4Content workshop to get in contact with others interested in the use of wikis for scholarly and related uses, and to play around with some of the MediaWiki extensions installed at WikiEducator but not on other wikis that I frequent.

My optional community service (learning contract) project

100px-L4C-small.png  Agreement
By signing this optional learning contract I will try to complete my training in basic wiki editing skills to achieve the status of a Wikibuddy. In return for this free training opportunity, I will give the gift of knowledge by donating or developing at least one free content resource licensed under a CC-BY-SA or CC-BY license which can be used by myself (and others) on WikiEducator.
Brief description of project
Based on the Thoughts on quality assignment of Day 2, I invite course participants to express their thoughts collectively in Quality control in open versus closed approaches to authoring educational resources, which would practically expose some of the major advantages and pitfalls of open authoring and might provide a document possibly useful for future references on the subject.
Target date for completion
August 11, 2010
--Daniel Mietchen 11:16, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Feedback and notes from my WikiNeighbours

(Comment.gif: Hello Daniel, you've made great progress on your user page! I encourage you to visit the requirements of becoming a WikiApprentice 1 and WikiApprentice 2, as we are here to help you achieve these goals. Feel free to contact me directly if I can be of any assistance. --Benjamin Stewart 13:09, 21 July 2010 (UTC) (UTC))

Thanks for the welcome, Benjamin. I did not come here for certificates, but I am looking forward to fruitful interactions. --Daniel Mietchen 11:18, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Hi, what a pleasant surprise! :-) Supten 11:52, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
Same here. Really looking forward to loads of wiki interactions these days. --Daniel Mietchen 12:02, 20 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Looking forward to reading more about your interesting work, fascinating so far --Nadia El Borai 01:37, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I am particularly interested in the application of your work in biology and cells. It is very important to have a way of looking at cells without damaging them. Research is limited by methodology. Therefore developing new methods is important and it is what you are doing. By the way although I live in Japan, my Japanese written Japanese is useless. Deutsch ist besser.--Nadia El Borai 07:48, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I am not currently working on the cellular level, but perhaps you may find some of these videos of interest (not possible to embed them here, though I have done it over here). Sorry for writing in Japanese — there are way too few occasions for me to use non-English languages, so I usually happily jump on the opportunity. --Daniel Mietchen 12:33, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Daniel, have you given any thought as to a project you'd like to work on in WE? --Benjamin Stewart 16:47, 25 July 2010 (UTC)
Just filled in the form for my learning contract project. Thanks for the reminder! --Daniel Mietchen 11:18, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Hi Daniel, I'm having a couple of problems - of your charity, could you help?
  • I cannot make an external link work. Could you see my page right at the top under 'personal' and tell me why my link to the WP article works, but the CZ one doesn't?
Hi Tallong, it seems to me that the link you want is The one on your personal seems to be missing the /wiki/ before your name, on the other you have a www that seems to break the link. --Fabiana Kubke 23:25, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Bless your heart, it *is* the 'www'! Thanks, Fabiana! Tallong 00:32, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for helping out, Fabiana. I hope that we will have interwiki links between here and Citizendium. For Wikipedia, they already work: w:Tallong. --Daniel Mietchen 04:36, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I want to use the TALK pages, (rather than cluttering up the userpage) but this wiki doesn't seem to have the easy add-a-subject (+) feature. Plus, how would I encourage my co-conspirators to add topics sequentially?
Yes, TALK pages seem to be not widely used here, not the least because they do not work properly. But it's a known problem, and I assume someone is working on it. --Daniel Mietchen 04:36, 28 July 2010 (UTC)
Tallong 23:18, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Interwiki collaboration

This section hosts a discussion of the kind usually taking place on talk pages, but as long as notification of changes to talk pages does not work, the discussion will remain here, where it started out.

  • Hi, Daniel pleased to meet you -- wearing my non-profit OER Foundation hat, one of our strategic objectives is to facilitate and nurture the development of sustainable OER ecosystems. Given you experience working across multiple wiki projects -- any thoughts and ideas on how to improve interwiki collaboration -- after all ideas want to be free -- they don't care where they are hosted ;-) Incidently - -we're planning to launch WikiResearcher in the near future -- as an active researchers with good experience in the wiki model - -I'd be keen to hear your advice ---Wayne Mackintosh 21:08, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi Wayne, thanks for getting in touch — this kind of deep-digging interaction was what I had hoped for when signing up for the course. I'm moving this to a new section, so as to keep things sorted.
Interwiki collaboration is something that has been bothering me for some time, at least in the open world, so I have a number of ideas in this direction, but I'm afraid most of them are not ready for prime time yet, simply because they build on a number of different preconditions, many of which are not yet there to the extent necessary. To give a few examples:
  • We have to recognize diversity of version-controlled collaborative platforms (think wikis, Etherpads, Google Docs, WordPress multi-site, GitHub, EditGrid etc.), of wiki platforms (MediaWiki, XWiki, DokuWiki, TiddlyWiki, TWiki etc.) and of wiki communities (Wikisource, Wikiquote, WoWWiki, Polymath wiki, SubtiWiki, NMRWiki etc.). Interaction across all these levels would be interesting (example) but in the following, I will only consider interactions between the different communities using MediaWiki, which is probably close to what you had in mind.
I think diversity is the potentially the "competitive" strength of collaboration in the free culture -- openly licensed work should proliferate the web - -irrespective of the specific technology choices -- I'm thinking about a "version" of simple content interoperability -- we already have this in the sense of HTML -- I wouldn't want to see the IMS content or cartridge specifications replicated for seamlessly moving content around. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:37, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Agree entirely. --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Targeted interaction requires common goals or means, and while the former differ substantially between, say, WoWWiki and the Polymath wiki, the underlying MediaWiki does provide room for interaction. For instance, I would like to see that more of these sites release their modifications to the standard installation as a WoWWiki or Polymath wiki extension. Likewise, a WikiEducator extension might provide additional possibilities to promote wiki-based open education. Tools providing wiki stats or other services to all MediaWiki installations that opt in would be another example.
I agree -- and we should also add the goals of individual educators into the mix, which may be different from the specific goals of the larger projects. mmmmm interesting. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:37, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, definitely. --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Another option for interaction is participation in standard committees, be these on wiki, open, or education, or closely related themes. For example, most wikis (and many other platforms) need some system for references. The Open Library are doing this for books, and a wiki variant thereof, extended to other kinds of media, is currently being discussed (my comment). Of course, it would also help if interwiki links were more widely used between different projects (say, AcaWiki, WikiEducator and Encyclopedia of Earth).
Ditto to interwiki links -- we have a good relationship with the Wikimedia Foundation Projects and support interwiki links, for example with WP. Also in WikiEd -- if you use the identical file name of an image on the commons -- it will first prioritise local files of the same name -- if it doesn't it exist -- it will pull the commons image metadata in WE for serving on a WE page. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:52, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Where can I find technical documentation on that? --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Not sure -- sorry-- best to ping Jim Tittsler our lead software engineer, I'm sure he can point you in the right direction. Wayne Mackintosh 00:50, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
    • As for common goals, one could think of letting WikiEducator course participants come together to collaborate on wiki articles about WikiEducator, the Cape Town Open Education Declaration (by the way, I blogged about it after signing it) or related topics, or even on any topics of their choice, and these articles could then be used to provide background information here but also copied over to other sites. I plan to do my learning contract project somewhere along these lines, possibly following up on a blog post from last year, but I'm first trying to get to know the WikiEducator community a bit better in order to decide about a suitable topic, and finding ways how to communicate the idea to the course participants. For such activities, Citizendium would seem to be a natural ally, since both wikis have an educational core, but one concentrates on skills and the other on knowledge. Similar interactions could be thought of for peer reviewing content or design on either site.
Yeah -- the characteristics of different wiki communities are fascinating -- particularly in terms of how these communities evolve and mature. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:52, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Having had a closer look at what people wrote in Thoughts_on_quality so far, I am inclined to take these three questions (or possibly some from the following days) for my learning contract project and let course participants express their thoughts collectively in something like Quality control in open versus closed approaches to authoring educational resources, which would practically expose some of the major advantages and pitfalls. What do you think of that? --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
That's a brilliant idea :-) This is something which has been troubling me for some time -- We don't do a good enough job of debriefing the thoughts on quality discussion. Its a delicate balance because we recognise that individuals are on different points or phases of their "openness journey" and we don't want to prejudge opinion - -rather support and help academics to unpack the misconceptions and through a process of rational reflection -- take an informed position. A resource like this would be a great way to debrief the session -- moreover, it could be widely used throughout the free culture to deepen understanding of the complexities of quality. I like it :-) Moreover - -we have a wealth of qualitative data recording the perceptions of educators from around the world on the questions of quality in open systems from previous workshops -- may be an interesting way to structure the resource - -"Myths and perceptions about quality in open systems: An educational perspective?" --Wayne Mackintosh 00:56, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
    • Another way to interact is by attending wiki meetings (example; I would really have liked to go to WikiSym this year, but it did not work out), bringing wiki topics to non-wiki meetings (example) or other non-wiki communities (example), interacting with wiki people (example) or using wikis in unusual ways to interact with others.
olpc/Sugar uses IRC for people around the world to communicate. I have found it very useful. Perhaps a wiki IRC could contribute to interactions between different wiki users? --Fabiana Kubke 00:49, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I haven't been using IRC for many years, and I don't miss it. But everyone has different preferences for communication, so if IRC could help get wikis connected better, then let's give it a try. Greetings from OLPC-Germany, by the way! --Daniel Mietchen 09:27, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I didn't know you worked in #olpc. Would love to hear what you guys are working on. I am part of the olpc friends in testing group.--Fabiana Kubke 11:00, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
  • All of these work best if the different communities get along with each other in a respectful manner (not a given between, say, Wikipedia and Citizendium, much to my regret). This requires trust, which is in turn either earned through collaboration (like in this course), or imported from external sources (e.g. via real names and a verifiable list of relevant previous activities of participants).
Yeah -- sometimes community members become overly zealous and protective of their turf ;-) -- that said at a strategic and leadership level WE have had excellent collaboration with WMF and continue to do so. For example, WikiEducator and WMF collaborated on the development and funding of the wiki==> print feature ( now rolled out in both communities. There is a pretty impressive beta version of the technology to download odt files from a wiki collection. Pretty cool. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:52, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I am following these developments and glad that you got them off the ground! --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Still lots of work to do ---> pending a successful gifting campaign, I'm hoping to we can start polishing the technology for more seamless one-to-one representations both ways (import/export). We're experimenting with a hack running OO in server mode to "import" various doc formats - -but still pretty basic.- Wayne Mackintosh 00:50, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
Having something like WikiResearcher would be fascinating!
My thoughts on the matter are summed up in this blog post, with a wikification demo here and talks here and there. Would love to find out about details.
I'll study your blog posts -- to be honest, the concept of WikiResearcher is still very much a blank page in the sense that we've not taken any preconceived ideas into how this should evolve -- other than a solid commitment to open philanthropy. I keen to improve the flow between collaborative planning and execution of research using the wiki model, through to the dissemination of peer reviewed research through the open access publishing channels. I don't see enough collaboration between the OER and Open Access Publishing communities - -I could be wrong -- need to research further. One of WikiEducator's strengths is that we're very strong in the formal education sector with 72% of our members being teachers, lecturers or trainers working in the formal education sector -- Research is the missing link and thinking openly about the best way to progress this with the OER Foundation. --Wayne Mackintosh 04:52, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
The theme of this "missing link" seems to be in the air, and I am collecting my comments here. As for Open Access in the sense of "access to the formally published literature", I consider it just one step on the way to make science more open — what we need is to rethink "publishing" as "making information public" and to apply this to each individual step of the research cycle, as summarized in the animation here (the video from that session may be of interest to you to). Having said that, I will attend COASP 2010 and give a talk on Editorial innovation in wiki environments (essentially about what is behind the "Publish" circle in this talk). Any comments and suggestions welcome. I suggest we move any further exchange on the topic to a talk page, and link that from here. --Daniel Mietchen 12:25, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Oops - -sorry, only just read your suggestion to move to a talk page. Why not copy the full text of the discussion over to a thread on your talk page for archival purposes - -and we continue there? BTW -- I agree on the notion of a step in the process. I don't see open and closed systems as mutually exclusive (although the open approach is inevitable over time and suspect it will replace closed systems as an evolutionary process.) That said -- having spent a career leading a number of major transformations in the academy, I always think of ways we can bring the majority along with us :-) -Wayne Mackintosh 01:06, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I have been discussing with some people the idea of making the Open Access articles that have potential health benefits available in wiki format and translated to the native language where they are relevant (e.g., Chagas Disease in Spanish). One idea is to bundle this information with region-specific Sugar images so they would get deployed with the XO's in the olpc projects. This baby does not even have diapers yet, but I should have more feedback on how it can be implemented in a couple of weeks. A very 'messed' up brainstroming session was summarised in this Prezi presentation (there is no set path, navigate by clicking and zooming). --Fabiana Kubke 00:49, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
--Daniel Mietchen 02:54, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Daniel, you haven't moved this discussion yet so I will jump in, and say hello. I am one of the co-facilitators. One thing I could see as very valuable for science research is to be able to follow the progress of research projects as they unfold. In a past life I was a zoologist, now I research things like ICT capability in education, so I realise the potential value of the research which doesn't always go to plan. Open online journals seem more amenable to research which doesn't get perfect results, but there is still a tendency to only publish research which worked. So I would like to see an open platform - wiki or whatever - where the bad along with the good is openly available for critique - surely this would save researchers lots of time - not repeating mistakes. However if there was a race to be the first with a breakthrough would open methods of sharing findings still work I wonder? --Bronwynh 05:13, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Hi Bronwyn, thanks for checking in and for helping with the workshop. As for recording research that did not work, see a recent comment here. On internet journals being "more amenable" to non-perfect results, see here. On getting scooped, see here. --Daniel Mietchen 09:27, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Bonjour Daniel, Désolé de te répondre seulement aujourd'hui, plus d'un an après! Es-tu toujours intéressé par développer les REL en français? Si oui on peut réfléchir et voir ensemble comment relancer un tel projet. Les REL en français sont assez rares. Très cordialement, Jtouzi