Prototyping a Data Factory and Fostering New Research
About the Project
Open online communities (OOC) are significant drivers of innovation, create economic activity, and are linked to improved social well-being. Scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplines research OOCs to allow citizens to manage and grow OOCs. Methods that these researchers use include investigating how tools may be designed to support different modes of collaboration, developing theories of collaboration from rich qualitative methods, or using electronic trace data. While research contexts are identical, differences in data and methods leads to diffuse discourse across disciplines, publications, and communication. Issues of coherence within different communities studying the same data makes discussion about a particular OOC difficult. A second challenge is the participation of individuals in multiple communities and the associated limitations of scholarship focused on single communities.
The Purpose of the OCDF
This project proposes to remove obstacles to progress across disciplines and OOCs through the creation of a virtual institute. This community of scholars will focus on identifying and removing known and yet to be identified obstacles to interdisciplinary research. We propose to accomplish these aims by actively prototyping solutions to gaps in research approaches and methods in the study of knowledge creation in OOCs. The object of our community will be an “Open Collaboration Data Factory” (OCDF), which is a boundary negotiating artifact for developing a language among scholars accustomed to discipline languages for the same set of obstacles. Building a community of scholars who address differences in research aims, data and methods will enable a new, interdisciplinary synthesis of knowledge. This will increase the coherence of scientific and public communication across existing disciplines.