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Research:Open Collaboration Systems Workshop

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Open Collaboration Systems Workshop
Bridging the industry/academic divide
A CSCW 2015 workshop. March 14th in Vancouver, BC, CA.

Open online communities like Wikipedia, GalaxyZoo, Reddit, and Imgur support self-organized, cooperative work a by distributed networks of volunteers. Both CSCW researchers and industry practitioners who support these communities seek to build understanding about the nature of open collaboration. However, there are few opportunities for academic and industry researchers to communicate and collaborate.

We will hold a full day workshop at CSCW where we will focus on answering two questions:

  • What are the most pressing questions about the structure and function of OCS's?
  • How can we improve collaboration and data-sharing between academia and industry?

Workshop details[edit]

Stanley Park Ballroom, Salon 3 at the Westin Bayshore Hotel in Vancouver, BC.
Start time
The workshop officially starts at 9am, and we'll get rolling then no matter what. But we really want y'all to show by 8:30, so to sweeten the deal we will be serving coffee and pastries in the workshop room starting at about 8:15! So please come early if you can, consume some caffeine and sugar with us, and generally get to know each other a bit before diving into our action-packed day.
What to bring
Bring your laptop, and a pen/pad if you prefer to take notes by hand. There will be power strips in the room so that you can plug in as needed.
Food & drinks
We will be serving coffee and pastries in the room from 8:15-9:00. There will be two other coffee breaks, at 10:15 and 3:15, for all workshop participants.

We will be providing catered lunch, so we can eat while we talk. Probably sandwiches, a mix of meat and vegetarian options. Please email the organizers ( ocs-workshop(_AT_)googlegroups.com ) by (Friday) afternoon PDT if you have any dietary restrictions, and if you have a preferred lunch alternative and we'll do our best to accommodate.

Attention & engagement
We're a small group and we will be working closely together throughout the day. We ask that you refrain from surfing, emailing, tweeting, etc. during the day's activities as much as possible. However, we understand that pressing issues sometimes arise, so we have built time into the schedule specifically for attendees to catch up on work and external communication.
The workshop ends at 5pm. We would love to get together afterward with any folks who are interested in continuing the conversation over food and/or drinks, at some TBD venue near the hotel.


  • 8:15-9:00: breakfast mingling
  • 9:00 (sharp!): JM intro to the day (process + brief overview of themes)
  • 9:10-10:00: 'Industry' lightning talks
  • 10:00-10:15: Lightning talk Q&A
  • 10:15-10:30: coffee break
  • 10:30-11:15: Breakout #1 -- Groups A and B, Theory; Groups C D E, Access
  • 11:15-12:00: Breakout #2 -- Groups A and B, Access; Groups C D E, Theory
  • 12:00-12:30: Lunch serving, email breaktime
  • 12:30-1:20: 'Academic' lightning talks
  • 1:20-1:35: Lightning talk Q&A
  • 1:35-1:45: Prioritization overview
  • 1:45-2:30: Breakout #3 -- Prioritization: Groups A and B, Access; Groups C D E, Theory
  • 2:30-3:15: Breakout #4 -- Prioritization: Groups A and B, Theory; Groups C D E, Access
  • 3:15-3:30: coffee break
  • 3:30-4:30: Report-out and reflection
  • 4:30: Wrap-up, Thanks & Next steps.
  • ~5:00: Victory! Food? Beer? Share contacts.

Group scratch space[edit]



We'd like to be able to produce two key artifacts from this workshop.

Key research question list
We'd like to build a generally agreed-upon list of important, open questions about open collaboration systems. We hope to use such a list to call attention to these questions and make it easier for researchers to receive support when pursuing them.
Data sharing proposals
We think it is important to improve data sharing strategies between organizations who run OCS's and academics. We'll work to develop a shared understanding of the kind of data that academic and industry researchers have/need. We'll review current strategies and propose new strategies for making OCS's available for study.

Research themes[edit]

We will orient our discussion and our deliverables around four general themes that have emerged within the domain of Open Collaboration Systems research.

  • Distributed production and the need for quality control
  • Maintaining volunteer motivation to participate
  • Distributed processes for articulation and governance.
  • Community maintenance via socializing newcomers.
  • Bridging the data divide between academia and industry

These themes are not intended to be exhaustive, but to serve as an organizing principle around which we can orient our discussion. During the workshop, we expect these themes to be challenged, refined, prioritized, and potentially even supplemented.


Lightning talks[edit]

We will begin the day with a series of lightning talks by industry participants, and follow up with a second series from academic participants over lunch. Each talk will be no more 8 minutes long (time limits strictly enforced by a moderator with Catholic school training).

Industry practitioners will provide an overview of the OCS they manage, their data resources, and the challenges they face, as well as successful strategies for design, research, and community management. These pitches are intended to flesh out the OCS problem space and to spur conversation.

Academic researchers will briefly describe their research in relation to the primary workshop themes, the data they use (or need) in their research, and how their research questions, methods, and findings could generalize to other OCSs.

These talks are intended to flesh out the OCS problem space and to spur conversation. Participants who have been asked to give lightning talks should frame them as pitches for future collaboration, rather than showcases of past achievement. There will be time for questions at the end (and throughout the roundtable discussion and breakout sessions).

Roundtable discussion[edit]

Participants will discuss the common challenges, interests, and research questions we will have identified from their survey responses (as well as new, interesting questions that came to light during morning lightning talks). We will collaboratively group these issues and questions under our four workshop themes.

Breakout sessions[edit]

During each of our two breakout session, we will break up into 4-5 smaller groups to discuss questions, challenges, and opportunities related to the workshop themes and drawing on our notes from the lightning talks and roundtable discussions. Each breakout session will last between 45 minutes and 1 hour. At the end of each session, a member of each group will have 5-10 minutes to share the outcomes of their group's discussion with the rest of the workshop.


Notes generated by breakout groups will be reviewed, refined, and consolidated in a large group session. The final deliverable will serve as a (draft) map for the future of OC research collaborations between industry and academia. Organizers will spruce up the draft after the workshop and publish it in an open online repository. For an example of the kind of deliverable we intend to develop, see the report[1] from the 2014 Article-level metrics workshop organized by PLOS.



This workshop is being organized by the Wikimedia Foundation in partnership with Open Collaboration Data Factories project and the Digital Ecosystem Research Partnership Institute.