Conquaire Continuous quality control for research data to ensure reproducibility

Interview about our Open Science Q&A portal on Wikimedia Germany blog

Perhaps you noticed the link to Open Science Q&A in this site’s navigation and wondered how it is related to this project.

The main goal of Conquaire is to facilitate reproducible research. In order to do this, we will not just produce technology, but we will create this new infrastructure hand in hand with the scholars and researchers who are going to use it.

As reproducible research is becoming central not only to open science but to good scientific practice in general, lots of questions come up because everybody has to learn new things, and some of these have to be discussed first. Instead of creating a closed, local wiki or web forum to document how reproducible research works, we seized the opportunity to host an open, global question and answer website on open science when StackExchange decided it was not interested.

We would like to stress that while the Conquaire project provides a server to host Open Science Q&A, the community there is independent, and Conquaire has no influence on the content.

Readers of German can enjoy the long version of this story in an interview Wikimedia Germany did with our project member Christian Pietsch.

Short project description online

We figured that the project proposal might be a bit lengthy for first-time visitors and finally created an About page.

Position filled

After interviewing several candidates, we are thrilled to announce that we offered the position advertised by Prof. Cimiano to an extremely capable person who already accepted the offer. We are looking forward to working with her soon.

Project proposal published

Today we published the CONQUAIRE project proposal not just on this website (as HTML) but also with Zenodo (as PDF) for better long-term availability and citability. This document is identical to what we previously submitted to the German Research Foundation (DFG) minus person months (because they were changed by DFG) and letters of recommendation.

New position

The Semantic Computing Group at Bielefeld University has an opening for a research position (PhD or postdoc) to work on developing new methodologies to support open science, in particular the concept of analytical reproducibility as well as quality assurance of scientific data.

The position is available in the context of the project CONQUAIRE (Continuous quality control for research data to ensure reproducibility: an institutional approach), which is funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

The project will require to develop and implement new methodologies for managing research data with the goal to publish the data and analytical scripts to maximize transparency and reproducibility of the results. The goal will be to elicit requirements from different groups and disciplines of our university (biology, psychology, sports science, linguistics, economics, robotics, etc.) and develop a methodology and infrastructure that meets the needs of these groups. The framework should be implemented on top of an existing web-based Git repository manager (e.g. GitLab) and include components for automatically checking and verifying the quality of data. The position requires working in close cooperation with scientists from different disciplines as well as with Bielefeld University Library.

The requirements of the position are the following:

  • excellent Master’s degree in computer science, information science or library science
  • excellent knowledge of database technology
  • strong software engineering skills
  • strong programming skills in scripting languages (e.g. Bash, JavaScript, Perl, Python or Ruby)
  • knowledge and experience with versioning systems (Git, SVN)
  • strong writing skills
  • strong analytics skills
  • excellent communication skills and interest in interdisciplinary work
  • willingness to work on a collaborative and interdisciplinary project involving different stakeholders

The following skills will be considered as a plus, while not strictly mandatory:

  • experience with open science projects
  • experience in developing open source code
  • experience with scientific workflow systems (e.g. taverna)
  • command of German

The position will be available for three years, starting from January 2016 and will allow the candidate to work towards obtaining a PhD degree at the end of the project . The salary is according to the university pay scale (TV-L 13, 100%) and amounts to about 3.500 EUR per month (pre-taxes). Working language of the project will be English, knowledge of German is not mandatory, but a plus.

The Semantic Computing group is part of the Cognitive Interaction Technology Center of Excellence that hosts over 250 researchers working on intelligent systems in a highly interdisciplinary context.

Bielefeld University is a young, very dynamic and fast growing university. It is a campus university hosting more than 22.000 students. Housing and many other facilities offered directly on campus. With close to 330.000 inhabitants, Bielefeld is one of the top 20 major cities in Germany. It has many leisure and cultural activities to offer and is at the center of the Teutoburg Forest, offering many possibilities for outdoor activities.

To apply, please send a full CV and letter of motivation (in one PDF document) to Prof. Philipp Cimiano ( by October 2nd, 2015. For informal inquiries, please contact directly Prof. Cimiano.