Funder: National Science Foundation
PIs: Sean Goggins, SISLT and Susan J. Winter, University of Maryland
Title: SAVI: Collaborative Research: Fostering New Collaborations in Open Online Community Data Research: Prototyping an Open Collaboration Data Factory
Summary: Open online communities (OOC) have emerged as significant drivers of innovation, economic activity, and social well-being. OOCs play important roles in a wide variety of areas, including but not limited to software development, general knowledge management, education, health, and scientific discovery. Scholars and practitioners from different disciplines (e.g. computer science, sociology, mathematics, economics, physics, anthropology, organization science, communications) engage in OOC research to build disciplinary understanding that in turn helps citizens successfully manage and grow OOCs. For example, management scholars in free and open source software (FOSS) focus on developing theories of collaboration on these projects drawn from rich, qualitative methods, while software engineering scholars address developer coordination tools and specific issues of how to make sense of electronic trace data through software repository mining. HCI scholars in FOSS are particularly focused on how tools might be designed to support different modes of collaboration. The research contexts are identical, but differences in data and method prevent the development of coherent understandings across these disciplines. Building a community of scholars who address differences in research aims, data and method will enable a new, interdisciplinary synthesis of OOC knowledge. In turn, this will increase the coherence of scientific and public communication across existing disciplines that study OOCs.