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Open Source Programming as a Framework for Scientific Collaboration: An Example in the Context of Land-Use Change Modeling

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Schweik, Charles M.
Conference: Workshop on Scholarly Communication as a Commons
Location: Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Conf. Date: March 31-April 2, 2004
Date: 2004
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1197
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): communication
information commons
open access
land tenure and use--models
landscape change--models
Abstract: From the introduction: "In a paper entitled 'Beyond the Information Revolution,' Peter Drucker (1999) makes the observation that when new technologies emerge, it often takes years before real innovation utilizing this technology occurs. Drucker uses the example of the railroads in the nineteenth century, where they were originally envisioned only for the transportation of people; according to Drucker, it took thirty years before they were utilized for the transportation of freight.... "...Like Drucker's case of the railroads, the argument we make in this paper is that we may have reached a point where we can apply Internet-based technologies and collaborative approaches that have been around for nearly a decade in new ways to enhance the way scientific research is communicated and built upon in a global context. The vision we present here involves the combination of: (1) the Web as an interactive platform for communicating throughout the research process; (2) the traditional concept of 'peer-review' as a mechanism for maintaining quality control and as a mechanism to encourage participation; and, (3) 'Open Source' programming and licensing and emerging 'Open Content' as a model for global, collective action on scientific research. "Most readers will be familiar with the Web (#1) and the traditional peer-review process forevaluating scientific research (#2). Therefore, this paper will concentrate on discussing Open Source (OS) as a potential model for global, Internet-based collaboration and how we might initiate a new form of collaborative scientific research grounded upon the OS software development paradigm. "The paper is structured as follows. First, for readers who have not been exposed to the OS collaborative paradigm, we provide an overview on open source fundamentals. Second, we address the question 'Is OS simply a special case of the traditional scientific process?' and conclude that it has similarities but some important differences. Third, we describe our initial thoughts on initiating a collaborative research effort in the context of land-use change modeling,following an OS-like approach. We conclude the paper by raising some important generic issues that will need to be addressed in the future to get such research programs moving forward."

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