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Online taxonomy: Why do people engage?

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A presentation given by …

A presentation given by
Daphne Duin and co-authored with David Self, Simon Rycroft, Dave Roberts & Vincent Smith at the EDIT general meeting, Carvoeiro, Portugal. Dec. 15-17, 2009.

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  • Question asked (16): What do you perceive as the main benefits of the Scratchpads to your work? If you have more than one site describe the overall benefits of the collective of your sites. [multiple answers, open question ] Check what was said under ‘other’
  • Question asked (20):
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    • 1. Online taxonomy: Why do people engage? Daphne Duin*, David Self, Simon Rycroft, Dave Roberts & Vincent Smith EDIT stakeholder liaison officer * EDIT General Meeting December 16, 2009
    • 2. Overview Online taxonomy and why people engage. The example of the Scratchpads Users of technology and innovations Scratchpads Results survey Summary / further research
    • 3. Introduction Users studies and observed attitudes among technology designers “[designers attitudes can be summarised as…] there is no point asking users what they want because they themselves don’t know” (Steve Woolgar, 1991) “You can't just ask customers what they want and then try and give it to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.” (Steve Jobs, Apple Inc., in The Guardian 25 June 09) “User-centered innovation processes offer great advantages over the manufacturer-centered innovation developments systems (…)” (Eric von Hippel, 2005)
    • 4. Introduction The Scratchpad project and users “Scratchpad users are also our developers” (Vince Smith, 2009) User-innovators are willing to engage because (cf. Von Hippel): They are looking for exactly the right product They have relative small user community with heterogeneous needs Their technologies require a great deal of user context information To avoid agency costs For the enjoyment and learning of innovating Contributes to long term sustainability of the product
    • 5. What is a Scratchpad? A website for you & your community 1 2 3 Your data Uploaded & Published & reviewed tagged on your site
    • 6. Scratchpads: an ecosystem of communities Ants http://scratchpads.eu/ Bees Beetles Big-headed flies Blackflies Ciliates Cockroaches Dragon Trees Dung Beetles False Buttonweed Flat worms Holometabola Leaf-miner Flies Lice Lichens of Bermuda Malvaceae Megalastrum ferns Milichiid flies Mosquitoes Mosses Nannotax fossils Nepticuloid moths Palms Polychaete worms
    • 7. Current Scratchpad users Sites 114 (July 09) (now 130+) Pages 170K Users approx. 1500+ Maintainers 99 + Maintainers institution: EDIT 48% Non EDIT 48% Don’t know 3% Women 28 % Men 71 %
    • 8. Current Scratchpad users Countries maintainers are based (tot pop, July 2009) Vietnam; 1 Slovakia; 1 Denmark; 2 Cotsa Ric a; 1 The Netherlands; 2 Switzerland; 2 Argentina; 1 Australia; 2 United Kingdom; 38 Greec e; 1 Sweden; 2 Brazil; 1 Berlgium; 3 India; 1 Germany; 5 Italy; 1 La Réunion; 1 France; 5 Macedonia; 1 Finland; 1 Canada; 5 Taiwan; 1 United States of Americ a; 21
    • 9. SURVEY: introduction Why a survey? To capture user needs To improve users (social) engagement and sense of ownership with the project To increase the usage and utility of the Scratchpads as a research platform for natural history researchers To identify the technical and social barriers to adoption Results will be used to: • Guide development of the Scratchpads and associated tools • Identify policy, institutional & infrastructural issues • Identify the sociological implications of new technologies Who is behind the survey? A team effort
    • 10. SURVEY: introduction Survey questions provide: Insight into the “profile” of Scratchpad users Understand their motivation to engage with the project Understand the impact of the Scratchpads for users Understand the barriers of use Provide a user perspective on the biodiversity informatics landscape
    • 11. SURVEY: methodology Participants in survey: site maintainers / initiators Semi-structured interviews by a trained sociologist Mixture of open and closed questions Number interviewed Scratchpad maintainers 46 Number of sites 60
    • 12. SURVEY: the users (1) Population vs respondents Subjects sites Age Country Position
    • 13. SURVEY: the users (2) Uses other virtual research tools 81% Of which Use them on a daily basis 91% Of which Collaborate by using these tools with > 10 people 50% Estimate community size (off line) 74% > 2
    • 14. SURVEY: the users (3) What we know about the respondents Most important communication channels to disseminate work Personal communication 97% Peer reviewed journals 88% Conference presentation 76% Conference proceedings 68% Monographs 50% Email lists (outside institution) 50% Wiki’s and Blogs 38% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
    • 15. SURVEY: the users (4) Plans to continue to use site in future: 93% Contribute to other people’s SP: 83% (no) vs 18% (yes) Different roles in Scratchpad community: 87% carry out admin. work Contributions to site (Active) when it comes to involving 22% (new) people (Active) in editing other peoples or your 56% own content An (active) contributor when it comes to 66% technical maintenance (Active) contributor when it comes adding 80% new content 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
    • 16. SURVEY: the users (5) How they heard about the Scratchpads How the word spread Brought to attention by someone from the 67% Scratchpad team Came across by 20% coincidence While searching online 7% for a data solution Recommended by a 7% Scratchpad user 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 17. SURVEY: motivation (1) Why they signed-up Motivation to register Needed a tool for collaborative work 37% pratices Needed a 24% communication tool Out of bioinformatic 20% interest For datamanagement 17% puposes Other 2% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40%
    • 18. SURVEY: motivation (2) Why they signed-up Quotes from interviews: (…) “needed a facility to enable taxonomists to come together and discuss before work has been formalised” “Always had an intention to make work available to a wider audience then just research collaborators” “Looking for a place on the web to store morphological characters on. Tried using morphbank but it didn't work out” “Mostly to see what the Scratchpad system was like. To see advantages and disadvantages for expert databases” “Like to apply for money from EDIT. Best way to get funded is to get electronic access for all material, e.g. Scratchpad”
    • 19. SURVEY: impact (1) Scratchpad spin-offs Built into grant publications 5% Meetings 7% Publications 12% Evidence that site has inspired others/other 12% products Presentations 17% There were no spin offs (yet) 64% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 20. SURVEY: impact (2) Actual uses of sites Uses of site For communicating 67% reseach Individual data archiving 33% Individual blog 17% For data sharing 62% As shared bibliographic 40% reference tool Group blog or notebook 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 21. SURVEY: impact (2) Actual uses of sites Uses of site For communicating 67% reseach Individual data archiving 33% Individual blog 17% For data sharing 62% As shared bibliographic 40% reference tool Group blog or notebook 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 22. SURVEY: impact (2) Actual uses of sites Uses of site For communicating 67% reseach Individual data archiving 33% Individual blog 17% For data sharing 62% As shared bibliographic 40% reference tool Group blog or notebook 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 23. SURVEY: impact (3) According to users Scratchpad(s) help them … Benefits of Scratchpads To communicate research 64% To learn about other 26% people and their work Technical advantages 21% (data presentation/use) To communicate personal 12% opinions on field of work To archive/organize data 10% for personal use To distance work with 38% others To meet new people 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 24. SURVEY: impact (3) According to users Scratchpad(s) help them … Benefits of Scratchpads To communicate research 64% To learn about other 26% people and their work Technical advantages 21% (data presentation/use) To communicate personal 12% opinions on field of work To archive/organize data 10% for personal use To distance work with 38% others To meet new people 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 25. SURVEY: impact (3) According to users Scratchpad(s) help them … Benefits of Scratchpads To communicate research 64% To learn about other 26% people and their work Technical advantages 21% (data presentation/use) To communicate personal 12% opinions on field of work To archive/organize data 10% for personal use To distance work with 38% others To meet new people 7% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%
    • 26. SURVEY: impact (4) Do people collaborate? Number of active members per site n=number of sites 35 30 30 28 25 20 15 10 5 2 0 0 1 to10 10 > NB: 60 sites from the sample are managed by 46 people The 30 sites with active members are managed by 24 people
    • 27. SURVEY: impact (4) Do people collaborate? Number of active members per site n=number of sites 35 30 30 28 25 20 15 10 5 2 0 0 1 to10 10 > NB: 60 sites from the sample are managed by 46 people The 30 sites with active members are managed by 24 people
    • 28. SURVEY: impact (5) Maintainers level of acquaintance with active members at start Maintainers level of acquaintness with active members Know by name only 8% Met before 38% Work together 63% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
    • 29. SURVEY: impact (6) Publishing work in progress Published work in progress publicly or on member section No 24% No, but I intend 67% Yes 10% to in the future
    • 30. SURVEY: impact (7) 67% of the respondents publish work in progress (on closed, member areas or publicly) with the following motivations: 22 participants do this publicly ! [Some examples] To make data available to students To collectively work on species descriptions To identify research gaps, like info. on undescribed species To get input from people before publication To work collectively on interactive key’s that need constant updating To increase visibility of work/project So others can edit raw data
    • 31. SURVEY: barriers (1) Barriers to publishing work in progress 24% of the respondents said they are not publishing work in progress because: Problems setting up a private area on their site Feel uncomfortable to sharing untested hypotheses Information on the site are books chapters waiting to get published (copyright restrictions?)
    • 32. SURVEY: barriers (2) Barriers to creating an online community Some examples: “Protecting the data from misuse. There is a problem of getting people involved due to intellectual property rights and copyright (i.e. with images)”. “[my] site needs to be perfect before inviting others” “Too few people with the same level of interest”
    • 33. SURVEY: barriers (3) Barriers to achieving initial goals 22 respondents said their site(s) are not achieving the all goals they had set because… Barrieres to achieve goals set Lack of time to 82% maintain the site(s) Lack of time to develop the 45% necessary skills Lack of general 23% computer literacy Don't know how to motivate my 9% community to join in Concerns that my 5% data wil be misused 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90%
    • 34. SURVEY: barriers (4) Barrier “lack of time”, perhaps related to lack of…? Technical support Part of job evaluation No, 65% Don't know, No, 68% 9% Yes, 32% Yes, 26%
    • 35. SURVEY: summary (1) Why users engage and how According to the respondents: “They are willing to engage because they know someone who uses them” “The Scratchpads offer specific benefits for specific problems in collaboration (community building), communication, because of impact, because of technical accessibility, features for data management” Scratchpads offer multiple ways to engage: • As a visitor (active or passive user) • As a “community of one” (for self publishing) • As a community member (either active or passive) • As an active site maintainer / leader
    • 36. SURVEY: summary (2) Surprised by… “Respondents are publishing “work in progress” on their site(s) because they see multiple benefits doing this”.
    • 37. SURVEY: summary (3)
    • 38. Further research Possible questions • Is their institutional support for users who take up new technologies? Will this make difference for users? • Getting research communities involved: What are the factors leading to successful and active collaboration? • Can we use knowledge in offline successful research communities and translate this to an online setting? • What are the views and practices on publishing work in progress within the taxonomic community? • Use alternative methodologies that are better equipped for analysing social barriers (experimental setting; ethnographic studies etc.)
    • 39. With thanks to... • All the survey participants • Christine Hine (Dept. of Sociology, Univ. of Surrey)
    • 40. ?

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