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Swarming in Research Work

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A presentation at the FISCAR2010 Activity Theory conference in Helsinki on my research on new forms of academic research work using approaches from agile programming and peer production.

A presentation at the FISCAR2010 Activity Theory conference in Helsinki on my research on new forms of academic research work using approaches from agile programming and peer production.

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  • 1. SHARING, SPRINTING AND COLLABORATING IN THE OPEN – Studying Emerging Research Work Practices Juha Kronqvist Media Lab // Aalto University School of Art and Design FISCAR2010 conference 23.5.2010
  • 2. ABOUT ME • Researcher in the VISCI project (CICERO Learning) • Doctoral student at Aalto University Media Lab • Thesis theme: Studying participatory methods for designing collaborative web environments http://personas.media.mit.edu/personasWeb.html
  • 3. STRUCTURE 1. NEW FORMS OF PRODUCTION AND RESEARCH WORK 2. PRESENTING THE CASE OF OPEN RESEARCH 3. EMERGING OPEN RESEARCH PRACTICES 4. DISCUSSION
  • 4. FRAMING THE PRESENTATION PEER RESEARCH PRODUCTION PRACTICES
  • 5. EMERGING FORMS OF PRODUCTION “Free software offers a glimpse at a more basic and radical challenge. It suggests that the networked environment makes possible a new modality of organizing production: radically decentralized, collaborative, and nonproprietary; based on sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed, loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each other without relying on either market signals or managerial commands. This is what I call ‘commons-based peer production.’” Yochai Benkler (2006)
  • 6. PRODUSAGE = PRODUCER + USER • The emergence of various domains for peer production has challenged the existing value chain, e.g.: • open source software • on-line publishing (blogs, citizen journalism) • knowledge production (Wikipedia, social bookmarking) • creative practice (A/V sharing, CC distribution) • Duality of producer-consumer roles (Bruns 2008)
  • 7. AFFORDANCES FOR PRODUSAGE Axel Bruns (2008) 1 2 3 4 PROBABILISTIC, EQUIPOTENTIALITY, GRANULAR, SHARED, NON-DIRECTED NOT NOT NOT PROBLEM HIERARCHY COMPOSITE OWNED SOLVING TASKS CONTENT
  • 8. OPEN SCIENCE • The process of research has for long been guided by the notion of open science, i.e. that it’s produce is considered a public good • E-Research aims at building infrastructure for supporting access to scholarly information and research data • Current work balances between technological determinism and social construction (Borgman 2008) • Open research supports the open sharing of research process and methodologies in addition to data and results
  • 9. PEER PRODUCTION OF RESEARCH • So far examples of peer produced research are few and most are cases of citizen research • NASA Clickworkers • Mechanical Turk • Birdwatching • Examples derive mostly from the field of natural sciences
  • 10. CASE: RESEARCH SWARM
  • 11. (OPEN) RESEARCH SWARM • An open network of people interested in research • Founded in 2007 • Participation is open to all interested • Relies heavily on social media tools in its operation, e.g.: • Microblogging (http://www.qaiku.com/channels/show/ Tutkimusparvi/) • Wiki’s (http://tutkimus.parvi.fi/) • Etherpad (http://www.etherpad.com – acquired by Google) • Two successful cases of activity • Collectively written paper at MindTrek conference in 2008 • Accepted research proposal for the Academy of Finland • Activity intensity is fluctuating
  • 12. STUDYING EMERGING RESEARCH • Data collected through virtual ethnography (e.g. Hine 2000) • participation during the development discussions of the RS • tracing back discussions in microblogs • studying wiki pages • supporting interviews with participants • Research focus: practices • defined as culturally embedded ways of doing that combine actions and context (Korkman 2006)
  • 13. PRESENTED PRACTICES 1. SHARING 2. SPRINTING 3. SWARM LEADERSHIP
  • 14. SHARING • The Research Swarm conducts most of its communication using open and accessible web tools • There exists a social norm for publishing information while it is being generated (e.g. using email is considered ‘embarassing’) • instrumental for open participation • scope of activities&engagement varies • individual activities can be traced path of engagement • Activities • seminar/meeting backchannels high • open calls for participation interaction some interaction • (micro)updating wikipedia pages low interaction • social bookmarking of interesting information
  • 15. SPRINTING • Sprinting refers to the action of elevated collective work towards achieving a result within a given time-frame • Can be f.ex. a case where an open call is made to finish up a paper before the deadline • Can happen in intervals of a few hours over a few days • During the sprint, the objectives and rules are constantly communally constructed • The product is constructed granularly or collaboratively • Amount of participation varies from constructing structure for texts to correcting grammar errors
  • 16. SWARM LEADERSHIP • Leadership is determined by interest and self-organisation and rotates continuously • When a new operation is being uptaken, someone formally or informally takes the role of an coordinative swarm leader • publishing time tables for sprints, tasks and motivating participants through open calls • this role can change during an operation, and is changed at the latest when an operation ends
  • 17. TOOLS ON SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS SUBJECT • Values are internalized through the use of tools and are assimilated as norms that guide behaviour (Engeström 2008) RULES COMMUNITY • Research Swarm activities are afforded and Activity System Model (Engeström 1985) constrained by the functioning of social media, e.g.: • openness and sharing • textual format • agility and granularity • reliance on networks instead of hierarchies • Some of the core values are derived directly or through the tools from open source development
  • 18. DISCUSSION • Digital networked technologies are influencing research, also in ways not easily predictable • democratization of research work • wildfire activities (Engeström 2009) • The use of social media tools seems to have the ability to affect the value-base of their users • How should this reflect in the way collaborative research tools are designed? • Pointers for continuing research?
  • 19. THANKS! Juha  Kronqvist Coordinator  /  Researcher VISCI  Project Media  Lab  /  LeGroup Hämeentie  135  C  FI-00560  Helsinki,  Finland +358  (0)41  466  0309

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