CFP: 48th HICSS - Open Movements: FLOSS, Open Contents, Open Access and Open Communities

Open Movements: FLOSS, Open Contents, Open Access and Open Communities

Technical area and topics to be addressed by the mini-track

This mini-track continues 11 earlier HICSS mini-tracks addressing the trend towards the adoption of open strategies for peer production, collaboration and knowledge creation. Its scope continues to include issues in emerging technical aspects of open systems as well as studies about ways in which the Internet affects people, groups, organizations, and societies, enabling such systems. Inclusion of both sets of interests has enhanced the mini-track's relevance in past HICSS conferences and will enhance the mini-track’s relevance across a diverse set of audiences: software project administrators who face challenges in coordinating technical development of open systems of all kinds, developers and users who face challenges in evaluating the myriad of open projects, managers seeking to employ open strategies and social scientists interested in studying these phenomena. The mini-track will continue to solicit interdisciplinary research about these topics, since these open initiatives have extended their influence beyond any one field of specialization, and now raise challenging questions for many different areas.

FLOSS is a broad term for naming software released under some kind of free or open source software license. Currently, development and adoption of FLOSS projects spans a wide range of applications and critical infrastructure. Open development is an important phenomenon: millions of users depend on systems such as Linux and the Internet relies extensively on FLOSS tools. Furthermore, there exists a clear trend in Public Administrations all over the world towards the promotion and widespread adoption of FLOSS technologies. Researchers from a variety of disciplines have turned their attention to the phenomenon of FLOSS, Open Content, Open Access Publishing and Open Communities, frequently presenting them as an intriguing new form of Internet-supported work and collaboration. However, open collaboration and peer production create new challenges, as team members typically work in a distributed environment (temporally and geographically), in which contributors can come from many independent organizations, with some working as volunteers and others working as employees.

This mini-track will provide a place for research and conceptual work to address a variety of questions, such as examining the implications of open content from technical, economic and policy perspectives. The mini-track welcomes studies of the deployment of FLOSS and Open Content studies, exploring the motivations of individuals to contribute to projects. Studies of the structure and function of open teams and communities are also in the scope of this mini-track, including analysis of the social networks created by those communities and their evolution over time. In addition to studies of specific communities, we seek papers that draw connections across different settings to pose more general questions and explanations or to explore the design and analysis of novel systems.

Topics for this mini-track include:

  • Implementation of FLOSS systems
  • New application areas in FLOSS
  • Leadership, management and policies in open projects
  • User involvement and user support in open projects
  • Knowledge management and learning in open projects
  • Issues in distributed software development for FLOSS
  • Evaluation, comparison, unification, and differentiation of technical aspects of FLOSS,
  • Open Content, Open Access Publishing or Open Communities
  • Open projects as Communities of Practice and problems implementing open practices
  • Social networks of open projects
  • Economics of open projects
  • Information quality and credibility of open content
  • Applications and adoption of open project products
  • Applications of open source software in education, government, science and other domains
  • Applications of and methods for crowd sourcing

How these topics have recently been covered in other conferences and publications

Papers addressing aspects of the phenomenon of FLOSS and OC have appeared in a variety of conferences, such as the International Conference on Software Maintenance and the International Conference on Information Systems, and in a variety of journals, including Communications of the ACM. Several journals have had special issues on OSS, such as IEEE Software, and the Information Systems Journal. There have also been conferences with an economic and policy focus, such as the OSS Economics Law and Policy organized by L'Institut d'Economie Industrielle, France, and industry conferences, such as the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. FLOSS development has been addressed at workshops, particular associated with The International Conference on Software Engineering. The International Conference on Open Source Systems, which first took place in June of 2005 and has continued since, was the first conference to specifically focus on empirical studies of FLOSS development. However, the OSS conference has primarily met outside the US and in the summer, so HICSS is quite complementary. HICSS 38 was among the first conferences to include a mini-track focusing on issues of FLOSS development.

Regarding Open Contents and Open Communities, there exist few alternative conferences for researchers interested in exploring these fields and their connections with FLOSS. Those alternatives include the annual International Symposium on Wikis (WikiSym) and OpenSym, the Intl. Conf. on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), The ACM Conference on Organizational Computing and Goupware Technologies (GROUP), as well as The International Conference on Online Communities and Social Computing. Nevertheless, none of these conferences focuses on relationships between Open Contents, Open Communities and FLOSS development, a line of research that should deserve a special attention on its own. There continues to be a need for academic conferences addressing the combination of technical and social issues regarding both FLOSS and OC development.

HICSS is an ideal setting for such an interaction, because it attracts scholars and professionals from computer science, computer engineering, information systems, information science and more recently telecommunication public policy. While the conference provides the forum for the scholars of different disciplines, there are not many mini-tracks that involve participants from across these disciplines, thus promoting interdisciplinary research approaches. Our mini-track on FLOSS development begun at HICSS 38 provided a research ground where participants from both social and technical orientations met and discussed aspect of software development. The mini-track initiated dialogue between the diverse perspectives and facilitated the cross disciplinary collaboration for which HICSS is designed.

Recently, more papers and tutorials on FLOSS and OC have appeared at HICSS as a testimony to the increased interest in the topic and its fit in the conference. The phenomenon of Open Movements presents an exemplary research setting for many topics of great interest to the HICSS participants. Topics such as software engineering, group support systems, distributed work, distributed learning and collaboration and coordination have been presented in several tracks of HICSS. We feel the Internet and the Digital Economy Track continues to be an appropriate home for our proposed mini-track, but would not object to transfer to or joint affiliation with Digital and Social Media or Software Technology should either of those tracks be interested in hosting this research area.

150-word description of mini-track

This mini-track solicits papers about open projects, including Open Source Software development, Open Content creation, Open Access publishing and Open Communities more generally. Papers may be situated in any discipline, draw on any theoretical framework and employ any research methodology appropriate to the topic of study. The track is directed to FLOSS developers and researchers who study the FLOSS phenomenon. Example topics include:

  • Implementation of FLOSS systems
  • New application areas in FLOSS
  • Leadership, management and policies in open projects
  • User involvement and user support in open projects
  • Knowledge management and learning in open projects
  • Issues in distributed software development for FLOSS
  • Evaluation, comparison, unification, and differentiation of technical aspects of FLOSS,
  • Open Content, Open Access Publishing or Open Communities
  • Open projects as Communities of Practice and problems implementing open practices
  • Social networks of open projects
  • Economics of open projects
  • Information quality and credibility of open content
  • Applications and adoption of open project products
  • Applications of open source software in education, government, science and other domains
  • Applications of and methods for crowd sourcing