CFP: HICSS-43 Minitrack on Open Movements: FLOSS, Open Contents and Open Communities

Track: Internet and the Digital Economy
Minitrack: Open Movements: FLOSS, Open Contents and Open Communities

We seek papers for a mini-track on Open Movement phenomena, such as:
* Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS)
* Open Contents (OC)
* Open Access Publishing (OA)
* Open Communities (OComm)

The proposed mini-track continues six earlier HICSS mini-tracks addressing the trend towards the adoption of open strategies for peer production, collaboration and knowledge creation. The mini-track will includes papers addressing a variety of specific phenomena that share common characteristics of openness, though with distinctive features and issues. It will also include interdisciplinary research about these topics, since these open initiatives have extended their influence beyond the software development field, and now raise challenging questions for many different areas.

Firstly, FLOSS is a broad term proposed 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. Secondly, Open Content refers to published content (e.g., articles, engineering designs, pictures or any other type of multimedia) released under some form of open license, allowing the content to be modified and redistributed. Examples of Open Contents are Wikipedia and MIT’s Open Courseware. These principles have also been extended to fields such as scientific collaboratories. Thirdly, Open Access Publishing means publishing of works in a way that allows access to interested users without financial or other barriers. Examples include a variety of Open Access journals as well as a variety of institutional or topical paper repositories.

Finally, around all types of projects we often find an active and even devoted community of developers, users, leaders, authors and readers, exhibiting complex interactions with each others. Some of the aforementioned projects comprise both types of Open Communities (developing FLOSS and also open content, e.g., Wikipedia and Creative Commons). We also find other Open Communities of users in successful large projects, supporting interactions among users, and also with open multimedia contents provided by users themselves, e.g., YouTube, MySpace,, Diggit, Twitter and Facebook.

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 creates new challenges, as team members typically work in a distributed environment and often as volunteers rather than employees. The empirical literature on software engineering, programmers and the social and technical aspects of software development suggests that such teams would face insurmountable difficulties in developing quality code or coherent information collections, yet in fact some of these teams have been remarkably successful. Understanding how these teams work is important, because a digital society entails an increased use of Internet-supported distributed teams for a wide range of knowledge work.

At the same time, open development is an important phenomena deserving of study in its own right. Millions of users depend on systems such as Linux and the Internet relies extensively on FLOSS tools, but as Scacchi notes, “little is known about how people in these communities coordinate software development across different settings, or about what software processes, work practices, and organizational contexts are necessary to their success”. Wikipedia has quickly become an extensive and widely-used resource. Some studies, like the one presented by Giles in Nature suggest that, despite the apparent heterogeneity of the group of authors behind Wikipedia, the accuracy of some of its articles could rival with other traditional encyclopedic projects like Encyclopedia Britannica, but we lack a deep understanding of the conditions of its production that lead to such outcomes. Furthermore, there exists a clear trend in Public Administrations all over the world (with some remarkable cases like Australia, The Netherlands and Spain) towards the promotion and widespread adoption of FLOSS technologies. The main reasons behind this policy is enhancing the interoperability between different information systems, and at the same time, paving the way for facilitating the access of all citizens to e-Administration services.

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 economic and policy perspectives. As well, the mini-track welcomes studies of the deployment of FLOSS and OC studies, exploring the motivations of individuals to contribute to projects without pay. Studies of the structure and function of OSS development teams and OC 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.

Example topics and research areas for papers in the minitrack include, but are not limited to:
* Issues in distributed software development for FLOSS
* Issues in content development in OC and OComm
* Distributed collaboration in and coordination of FLOSS and OC development teams
* Distributed group development for FLOSS
* Community development and its evolution in OC
* FLOSS teams as communities of practice
* Leadership, management and policies in FLOSS, OC groups and Open Communities
* Creators roles in OC, and OComm and how they evolve over time
* Implementation of FLOSS systems
* Distributed project management and distributed team management
* Knowledge management and learning in OComm, OC and FLOSS development
* Member satisfaction and effectiveness in OComm, OC and FLOSS development
* Analysis and assessment of software development processes for FLOSS
* Motivations and ideologies in OC, OComm and FLOSS
* User involvement and user support in FLOSS development
* FLOSS systems supporting OC projects
* Web 20, Enterprise 20, mashups and their relationships with OC and OComm
* Forecasting the evolution of FLOSS and OC projects, as well as OComm
* Application, implementation and cases of use of OC and FLOSS projects in education, health care, public administrations and mass media
* Social networks in FLOSS, OC projects and OComm

Important dates:

30 Mar: Prospective authors submit 300-word abstracts
13 Apr: Feedback on abstracts sent
15 Jun: 10-page papers due on the reviewing Web site (see for details)
15 Aug: Accept/Conditional Accept/Reject notices sent
15 Sep: Final papers due
02 Oct: At least one author must register for conference

Conference Website
Mini-track Website

Kevin Crowston
School of Information Studies
Syracuse University
348 Hinds HallSyracuse, NY 13244-4100 USA
Phone: +1-315-443-1676

Vandana Singh
School of Information Sciences
University of Tennessee
451 Communications Bldg.
1345 Circle Park Drive
Suite 451
Knoxville, TN 37996-0341
Phone: (865) 974-2785
Fax: (865) 974-4967

Felipe Ortega
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
Tulipán s/n28933 Mostoles, Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34-91-488-8523