Call for a Joint Research Group for Peer Production

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Jarkko Moilanen:

"DIY communities (aka Peer-production) are interesting area for academic and other kind of research. More and more researchers ‘have found’ Peer-production communities such as hackerspaces, makerspaces, fablabs, DIYbio and alike. Some of the research is statistical and uses surveys in data collection. I’ve been conducting annual surveys among Peer-production community since 2010. In the latest survey, some respondents indicated ‘tiredness’ towards constantly rising amount of surveys coming from different directions. Some are really fed up with surveys and just ignore them systematically. We as researchers need to respond to that by adjusting our methods and practices.

Choosing approach

We have a few options. We can do less research on Peer-production communities. That’s not very fruitful approach since we do not know much about the Peer-production communities and we need more information. Second option is to syncronies our surveys so that they are not close (timewise) to each other. That sounds a little better, but still the amount of surveys is possibly overwhelming for the communities. Third option is to combine our efforts so that we don’t do surveys right after another and we collect information to several researchers in same survey. This approach is not without challenges. Obviously different researchers have different goals and interests, thus different kind of questions possibly even about same topic. That in turn would significantly raise the amount of questions in survey and make it too long and thus loose respondents. But still with co-operation we could find ways to combine two or even more surveys into one survey. Then there is question about where do we work together? What is the platform used?

Concentrate P2P survey studies to SSoPP

With the support of P2P Foundation I have managed to build ‘platform’ for joint survey research in the Statistical Studies of Peer Production. It contains LimeSurvey which enables shared management of surveys. It also contains platform (WordPress) to have discussions about the results. And if that is not enough, platform contains also discussion forums although very limited one. Additionally, we have also established email list for the community. In other words, we have if not the best at least decent platform for joint research development and discussions.

Call for action

I’m calling all Peer Production researchers to join this effort to maintain status in which we have a chance to get information from the Peer Production community. If we do not respond to above mentioned challlenges, we loose information, science looses information. It’s our obligation to do science as effectively as possible. This is a chance to do so, so join now and leave a comment, join mailing list, start discussion in forums or contact me directly." (