Hackweek Mission

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  5. Hackweek Mission

Our mission is to provide hands-on opportunities for people to learn the tools of open source science in a welcoming and collaborative environment.

We foster a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive environment.

We provide opportunities for people to build their networks.

We adhere to and enforce a shared code of conduct.

We gain experience in conducting data-intensive research.

We encourage immersive and collaborative learning.

We incorporate elements of co-creation with participants.


How Can a Hackweek Serve My Community?

Hackweeks have had many positive community impacts! Here are some specific ways hackweeks have served other groups in the past:

Providing education in data science tools

Traditional academic curricula have often not kept pace with the rapid development of open science libraries, and researchers often lack access to educational resources to learn new tools. Hackweeks immerse participants in environments where they can quickly learn new tools and gain a broad understanding of the overall data science landscape.

Expanding data science accessibility to underrepresented individuals

Hackweeks use recruitment and participant selection methods that strive to broaden accessibility and minimize bias in selection of participants [Huppenkothen et al., 2020]. Many hackweeks offer travel grants to support participants from institutions with limited resources. Hackweeks also use readily accessible, open source tools for teaching new content, opening the door for educational opportunities even to those institutions without access to expensive computing infrastructure.

Culture change

By exemplifying a culture of openness, cooperation and kindness [Lowndes et al., 2017], hackweek organizers can demonstrate what healthy research and learning culture can look like. Hackweeks also foster a culture of open, reproducible science that helps to create pathways for new ways of conducting research.

Community software

Hackweek projects often sow the seeds for the development of community software. As people with common interests come together in a hackweek, they realize they could be pooling their resources through building a set of common tools. For example, the icepyx library grew out of the 2019 Cryospheric Sciences with ICESat-2 hackweek.

Creating networking and career-building opportunities

Hackweeks often include participants at all different levels of academic career stage as well as people working in industry or government settings. The highly interactive nature of hackweeks often allows participants to expand their network and find new ways to navigate careers in data science.


Hackweek Alternatives

Hackweeks are a significant undertaking and may not be the best fit for everyone.

  • Is your goal primarily to learn things from experts in your field in a lecture-style format? Hackweeks fundamentally rely on the exchange of knowledge across all levels of expertise and background, so a summer school or traditional scientific conference may be a better fit.
  • Would you like to gather together people with common interests and leave participants to self-organize around topics? Although hackweeks are participant driven, they require planning and structure to facilitate interactions and maximize the potential for creating positive learning spaces. You might consider an unconference as an alternative.
  • Do you have specific software needs that you would like to see developed through a competitive process? Hackweek project outcomes depend entirely on the needs and ideas of participants and are not conducted in a competitive atmosphere. Hackathons are a great alternative for driving software development forward in a fun and time-limited, competitive environment.