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Research:Roles and Functions within Online Production Communities

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This page documents a completed research project.

Key Personnel[edit]

  • Adam Balila, the University of Haifa (MSc student)

Project Summary[edit]

| The primary objective of our research program is to use a grounded theory approach to understand the causal dynamics underlying IT-mediated peer-production. We have developed a set of hypotheses regarding participation in peer-production projects, which are grounded in the observed large-scale empirical data, and informed by extant theories of group work. Our focus in this project is on trajectories of participation, exploring how individuals transition from the community’s periphery towards the core, the set of additional roles that they assume as they progress, and the factors that facilitate their progression.


| We use a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, relying primarily of (a) the analysis of logs from the systems supporting online collaboration and (b) surveying and interviewing participants.


| We plan to disseminate our results to both the academic and practitioner audiences (namely, the Wikimedia Foundation). Our dissemination strategy includes publication in conferences (e.g. WikiSym, CSCW) and journal outlets. In addition, results from our research will be presented at various practitioner forums, as well as incorporated into the PIs teaching material (PIs currently teach courses and seminar on peer-production).

Wikimedia Policies, Ethics, and Human Subjects Protection[edit]

We will comply with any Wikipedia policy, as well as adhere to ethics policies at our academic institutions.

Benefits for the Wikimedia community[edit]

| Our results are expected to enhance the foundation's understanding of Wikipedians' participation trajectories and serve as a tool to inform policy.


| July 2012 - July 2019


| Our work was partially supported by SSHRC Insight Grant 435-2013-0624, by NSF Award ACI- 1322218, and by a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and the European Regional Development Fund: Content & Intelligence (ref. IPT-2012-0912-430000).


| Arazy O., Ortega F., Nov O., Yeo L., and Balila A., Functional Roles and Career Paths in Wikipedia Proceedings of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada, March 14-18, 2015. | Arazy O., Nov O. and Ortega F., The [Wikipedia] World is Not Flat: on the organizational structure of online production communities, the 22nd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS’2014), Tel-Aviv, Israel, June 9-11, 2014.

External links[edit]


| Dr. Ofer Arazy ofer.arazy@gmail.com