GoOpen 2010: Ann Therese Lotherington

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GoOpen 2010: Ann Therese Lotherington

  1. 1. The battle over source code Go Open 2010 – Oslo, 19-20 April Ann Therese Lotherington Senior Research Scientist, PhD Political Science Norut Tromsø
  2. 2. Questions addressed: • Should the public sector buy proprietary software or seek open source systems? • What are the best strategies for system development in this sector? • Why is an inter-disciplinary approach appropriate for exploring these questions?
  3. 3. Outline: 1. What is the battle about? • Politics of source code • Focus on the public sector 1. Inter-disciplinary research as strategy • Transcend the disciplines • Crystallize questions in need of disciplinary approaches 3. ICT in two different political regimes • From New Public Management to Digital Era Governance • ICT as outsourced vs. core activity in public organisations
  4. 4. What is the battle about? 1. The increasing importance of ICT in the production of public sector services – ICT as a defining feature of society – ICT specialists as increasingly powerful players – Multimillion investments – Path dependency – Public sector as a lucrative and stable market – Producing unquestioned norms
  5. 5. From the basement to the boardroom: ‘In the past the IT person was a handyman, a caretaker who worked in the basement. By the late 1990s they were walking the corridors and they were entering the boardroom.’ Gustav, informant.
  6. 6. What is the battle about? (continue..) 2. Ambitious ICT policy announcing a need for stronger government – Renewed and efficient public sector – Policy for open standards and use of open source 3. The right and ability to control and shape the premises for future development – Who is and who should be in charge of ICT development? – A complexity of interests within and between the two main software development traditions: open source and closed solutions
  7. 7. Inter-disciplinary research • Initial questions: – Should the public sector buy proprietary software or seek open source systems? – What are the best strategies for system development in this sector? • The battle over source code as point of departure – Not reduce the field through disciplinary perspectives • The need for inter-disciplinary research – Team of researchers from various disciplines – Exploring problems beyond disciplinary boundaries – Challenging but promising and applicable • Enter the field through the ICT specialists daily work – Inspired by socio-technical research – Analysing practice, interests and opinions
  8. 8. ICT as part of two different political regimes • Summing up: – ICT increasingly important for public sector services – Impossible to distinguish between ICT and the services – they are intertwined – Control over ICT development fundamental for public sector development – No simple answers – Need for proper inter-disciplinary research to be able to give reasonable answers • New Public Management – Outsourcing/contracting non-core activities – Increasing role of the ICT industry for public sector development – Giant ICT systems suffering significant legacy problems • Digital Area Governance – Holistic approaches to policymaking – Reintegration of services – Extensive digitalization of administrative operations
  9. 9. References • Cubitt, S. (1998) Digital Aesthetics London, Sage. • Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S. and Tinkler, J. (2006) Digital Era Governance: IT corporations, the state and e-government Oxford, Oxford University Press. • Halford, S. and AT. Lotherington, K. Dyb and A. Obstfelder (2010): ”Un/doing gender with ICT?” NORA – Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Vol. 18, No. 1, 20–37, March 2010 • Halford, S; A. Obstfelder and AT. Lotherington (2009): ‘Beyond Implementation and Resistance: how the delivery of ICT policy is re-shaping health care.’ Policy & Politics 37/1, pp. 113-128. • Halford, S; AT. Lotherington; A. Obstfelder and K. Dyb (2010): ‘Getting the whole picture? New information and communication technologies in healthcare work and organization.’ Accepted for publishing in Information, Communication and Society. Vol 13.3 • Kabel Ltd (2006) UK Public Health Care Market Report 2008/9 Kabel Ltd, London. • Kirkpatrick, G. (2003) Critical Technology: a social theory of personal computing Guildford, Ashgate. • Lotherington, AT. (2009): ’Verdiskapende delingskultur’, s 202-211 i Bitten Schei og Elisabeth Rønnevig (red.): Vilje til endring. Sosialt entreprenørskap på norsk. Notodden: Mother Courage Forlag (ISBN 978-82-998183-0-8) • Mangemartin, V. and Callon, M. (1995) ‘Technological competition, strategies of the firms and the choice of first users: the case of road guidance technologies’ Research Policy 24, pp.441-458.

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