Ben Scott - Curriculum vitae
Working at the intersection of science and coding, I enjoy building innovative tools for people to explore, visualise and reuse research, museum collections and open data.
2010 - Present
Natural History Museum, Biodiversity Informatics - Data Portal Lead Architect
I joined the Museum as senior developer on the Museum’s EU-funded ViBRANT project, helping build the Scratchpads scientific data collaboration platform. In 2013 I was promoted to Data Portal Lead Architect, leading a team to build the Museum's new open data platform, releasing the Museum's research and collections data online. As part of the Biodiversity Informatics Group, I also developed tools and visualisations to help people explore our work, as well as promoting our activities at conferences and hackathons. For the 2014 science open evening, I devised and implemented Crowdsourcing the collection, a live digitisation and transcription workflow and crowdsourcing app.
2012 - Present
Richseam - Co-founder
In 2012 I built richseam.com, a music-recommendation site using multiple open data sources aggregated into a graph database. What started as a hobby project was named a top-50 European startup at the Pioneers Challenge 2013 awards.
2005 - 2010
Brighton Digital - Director
For five years I work as a freelancer and contractor, specialising in building websites for public sector and charitable organisations using the Drupal open source CMS. I've worked for AgeUK, the NHS, Open Democracy, Food Ethics Council, Greenwich University, and Comic Relief. For Comic Relief I returned for three campaigns (Red Nose Day and Sport Relief), as well as building their corporate site.
1999 - 2005
Seeboard / EDF Energy - Support and services
Joined Seeboard soon after market liberalisation, and helped develop new systems and services to help support customer transfers, whilst working on part time on my PG Dip.
Skills & interests
I am proficient with many components of open source full stack development. I have worked with Drupal for over 8 years, but recently I work more with Python Frameworks - Flask and Django. I try not to be a language zealot, believing instead that selecting the best tool and platform for a project is more important than the language it's written in. Similarly, I use many different database systems including mySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and Neo4J.
I enjoy building interfaces to explore geospatial data, and have worked with PostGIS, QGIS and CartoDB. The geospatial search on the Museum data portal is built using the same open source components as CartoDB, and is capable of rendering many millions of data points on one map.
Agile & Open Source
I am an advocate of agile and open source development. Prior to joining the Museum I worked on many projects managed using Scrum, and have brought that experience to the Museum. For some Biodiversity Informatics Group projects with smaller teams, I implemented a Kanban-based approach - an approach which has now been widely adopted throughout the Museum. I set up and administer the Museum's Github account, to better distribute the Museum's open source software.
I have worked for many years to help get the Museum to release it's collection and research under an open licence. Outside of the Museum I have worked on my own sites which aggregate open data sources - like richseam.com and mpreportcard.co.uk. The financial interests data I collated was recently included in a Transparency International white paper. I am actively involved in the Open Data community, and have helped and advised two of the startups in the Open Data challenge series. PiC won the Jobs challenge; Rabble got through to the final three of the Heritage+Culture challenge.
2002 - 2005
Brighton University - Information Systems PG Dip
1996 - 1999
Sussex University - History BA Hons 2:1
1994 - 1996
St Austell College, Cornwall - A levels (English, History & Maths)
1989 - 1994
The Roseland School, Cornwall - 9 GCSEs
- The Natural History Museum’s Data Portal Project: opening up locked-away collections - Open Data Summit, November 2015
- Releasing Collections Online - Biodiversity Information Standards Conference, October 2014
- NHM Data Portal and Virtual Herbarium - Natural History Museum Informatics Day, July 2013
- Bachman S, Moat J, Hill AW, De laTorreJ, Scott B (2011) Supporting Red List threat assessments with GeoCAT: geospatial conservation assessment tool. Zookeys, 150 : 117 - 126. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.150.2109
- Smith V, Rycroft S, Brake I, Scott B, Baker E, Livermore L, Blagoderov VA, Roberts D (2011) Scratchpads 2.0: a Virtual Research Environment supporting scholarly collaboration, communication and data publication in biodiversity science. ZooKeys, 150 (150) : 53–70 - 53–70. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.150.2193
- Blagoderov V, Brake I, Georgiev T, Penev L, Roberts D, Rycroft S, Scott B, Agosti D, Catapano T, Smith V (2010) Streamlining taxonomic publication: a working example with Scratchpads and ZooKeys. ZooKeys, 50 (50) : 17 - 28. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.50.539
- Penev L, Agosti D, Georgiev T, Catapano T, Miller J, Blagoderov VA, Roberts D, Smith V, Brake I, Rycroft S, Scott B, Johnson NF, Morris RA, Sautter G, Chavan V, Robertson T, Remsen D, Stoev P, Parr C, Knapp S, Kress WJ, Thompson FC, Erwin T (2010) Semantic tagging of and semantic enhancements to systematics papers: ZooKeys working examples. ZooKeys, 50 (50) : 1 - 16. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.50.538
- Smith VS, Rycroft SD, Harman KT, Scott B, Roberts D (2009) Scratchpads: a data-publishing framework to build, share and manage information on the diversity of life. BMC Bioinformatics, 10 (Suppl 14) : DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-10-S14-S6