9th CONTECSI – Event Report

Last week took place in São Paulo the 9th International Conference on Information Systems and Technology Management. My mission: present my paper named “The Effect Of Collaboration On Knowledge Creation And Production Of Goods”. For further information about the paper take a look at my previous post about the event.

It was the my first time I attended to an academic conference and was an interesting experience to talk about the open source way in such kind of event. Another interesting aspect of that conference is its interdisciplinary characteristic, less focused on code and technical aspects, and more focused on management, business, education and the impact of technology on different areas. I believe it was a good conference to publish the paper due to those characteristics and more important than that: an excellent place to talk about the open source way.

Open source is well established in many universities in Brazil. Several universities have labs exclusively to deal with open source software. That is great, but when it comes to community management, process transparency and the open source way of making business the academic sector in general is not aware of the benefits of those approaches. Therefore was nice to have the paper published on a conference like that and to go there and talk about all that exiting stuff. Plus: São Paulo is an awesome city!

9th CONTECSI

Almost everything is set to the International Conference on Information Systems and Technology Management (CONTECSI), the first event I will attend this year. This conference will take place in the University of São Paulo and will be groundbreaking for me because it is mostly an academic conference, unlike the open source events I have been attending during the previous years.

At this event I will present a paper based on my final graduation monograph entitled “The Effect Of Collaboration On Knowledge Creation And Production Of Goods”. You can check the original paper in Portuguese on a previous blog post I wrote last year or, as you may prefer, the sneak peek written in English.

Although this is not an open source event, the paper is heavily related to the open source way of producing knowledge and software. My own experience being part of Fedora community was crucial to understand how collaboration works in a global level and I am glad that I was able to use Fedora as one of the successful projects studied for the paper. I am really thankful for everything this community taught me and I would like thank the former Fedora Project Leader, Jared Smith, for giving me a short interview for the paper. In addition I would like to thank my employers at Strema for enabling me to attend to CONTECSI and the co-writers for supporting the paper concept.

We are just starting our engines. FLISol, FUDCon Margarita, FISL, and Latinoware are on the horizon as well.

Monografia: O Efeito da Colaboratividade na Produção dos Bens e na Construção do Conhecimento

Há alguns dias me perguntaram se eu iria publicar a minha monografia e eu respondi brincando: “Vou publicar no meu blog”. Como toda brincadeira tem um fundo de verdade e como algumas pessoas que ouviram minha entrevista no Castálio Podcast me perguntaram sobre, resolvi publicar o arquivo aqui para quem, por ventura, se interessar. Cito o resumo como uma prévia do documento:

Neste trabalhado são apresentadas diferentes formas de colaboratividade em grande escala sob a ótica da tecnologia, biomedicina, mobilização social e economia. Por meio de um estudo do histórico da colaboratividade é demonstrada a importância de acontecimentos como a evolução da imprensa, a Segunda Guerra Mundial e o pós-guerra e a revolução digital do fim do século XX e início do século XXI. São analisadas as atividades, estruturas de organização e evolução de projetos colaborativos geograficamente dispersos e culturalmente diversos, como projetos de Software Livre e Código Aberto, o Projeto Genoma Humano, a organização não governamental Navdanya International e o modelo de negócios da empresa Amazon. A partir da análise dessas diversas formas de colaboratividade são avaliados os impactos tecnológicos, econômicos e sociais na produção dos bens e na construção do conhecimento. Por fim, com base nos aspectos aferidos no estudo, são determinados elementos chaves necessários para a viabilização de projetos colaborativos globais que possam usar a tecnologia a seu favor e consequentemente atingir seus objetivos.

Final graduation paper sneak peek

Classes at the university are now over and final paper is done. While I wait for the graduation ceremony it’s time to share some results of my research. Basically the paper is about the collaborative environment provided by the Internet era. Four different areas of knowledge were analyzed: information technology represented by FLOSS projects, biomedicine represented by the Human Genome Project, social mobilization represented by the NGO Navdanya International and economy represented by Amazon’s business model. Based on the study of organizational structures, ways of communication and evolution of those initiatives, the technological, economical and social impacts of collaboration were analysed. In addition, key aspects for the success of culturally diverse and geographically disperse collaborative projects were identified. Here is a summary:

  • Transparency: under two aspects. First: clear and public decisions. Second: open and broad communication, not only of decisions made but also of problems, accomplishments and general useful information. It’s important to state that transparency does not prevent misinterpretation or allegations of lack of information. On the other hand, transparency does help to provide crucial information for organizational/financial matters and to support current and future decisions.
  • Knowledge of legal context: global projects tend to act over different jurisdictions and all stakeholders should be aware of that. Contributors should be constantly informed of legal differences between states and countries. For instance, the patent systems in some countries represent a big issue here.
  • Conscience of cultural differences: participants should be aware that language and cultural differences might bring some asymmetries to communication. Even so, those differences must not prevent people from communicate and work together. Community organizers should be aware that societies from all over the world might have different interpretations of values such transparency and democracy.
  • Open and proper infrastructure: collaboration initiatives should provide the tools for contributors to work on whatever is necessary. In addition, the infrastructure should be extensive in order to enable contributors to create new tools from the ones that already exist. Internationalization support is crucial for this element as well as information systems capable of provide high quality communication and minimize information dispersion.
  • Face to face meetings: one thing common to the projects evaluated is that all of them foster face to face contacts. In big projects is hard to get everyone together, but conferences, workshops and training sessions, at least for key contributors, help to build trust and sense of community.
  • Creation of value: collaboration projects should create value for contributors, whether they are companies, volunteers, paid employees, universities or government agencies. The value created can be knowledge, a product, meritocratic recognition, personal satisfaction or even financial results. It’s important that contributors know what they can achieve depending of their level and area of collaboration.

Well, the paper has a lot more information and this is just a tiny part I wanted to share here. I’ll publish the complete document here but it is written in Portuguese, so I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek in English!

#MonografiaFeelings

Quando eu criei esse blog adicionei uma categoria chamada “UFMG” e quando precisei “reinstalá-lo” mantive a categoria aqui. Fato é que ela nunca foi usada, provavelmente por falta de tempo, já que depois de quase 5 anos (cof… cof…) na universidade, haveria muito o que publicar. Agora é hora de começar a trabalhar na monografia e essa categoria finalmente pode ser útil.

Embora a ideia ainda não esteja completamente fechada, o objetivo é estudar a alta colaboratividade que a Internet permite e os efeitos disso na produção dos bens e na construção do conhecimento. Não faltam exemplos de projetos que tiram proveito da grande conectividade e da rápida troca de informações que a tecnologia atual permite. O exemplo mais óbvio, do qual eu também faço parte, é a produção de softwares de código aberto. Entretanto, minha ideia central é levar essa questão para outros níveis e áreas como biomedicina, agricultura, economia e engenharia, analisando as diferenças e similaridades entre os processos colaborativos de cada um. O resultado final será a criação um modelo geral com as características que um projeto colaborativo deve ter para ser bem sucedido.

Eu percebo que muitas pessoas optam por monografias estritamente técnicas, mas não tenho interesse em me perder nas tecnicalidades do mundo da computação. Especificamente para a monografia, pretendo tratar o assunto de uma maneira ampla, considerando as diversas áreas conhecimento, em vez de olhar de maneira fechada para a minha área específica. Isso quer dizer basicamente que precisarei de colaborações de pessoas de várias áreas, então se você conhece algum projeto colaborativo geograficamente disperso e culturalmente diverso na sua área, você será de grande ajuda! :)