Simulation-Based Study of Community Governance and Conflict Management in Emerging Global Participatory Science Communities

Simulation-Based Study of Community Governance and Conflict Management in Emerging Global Participatory Science Communities

Levent Yilmaz (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-513-1.ch011
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Despite significant research in open innovation, much less is known about why and how collective creativity emerges in open source scientific communities, as relatively little is known about organizing processes in such cyber-enabled Global Participatory Science (GPS) communities. One of the significant problems in understanding emergence of innovation involves how GPS communities govern and coordinate to maximize innovation output. We conduct an agent simulation study to examine the impact of culture and conflict management styles on collective creativity. Findings suggest that decentralized coordination schemes such as emergent selection such as found in utility communities and moderate degrees of assertiveness and cooperation for conflict management result in higher incidence of innovation.
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The practice of science is more open and global, as the access to knowledge, as well as its production is becoming increasingly transparent. Service oriented science (Foster, 2005) and e-Science (David and Spence, 2003) initiatives lead to scientific communities, where shared domain knowledge is no longer exclusively documented in the scientific literature or patents, but is also documented in software, simulations, and databases that represent an evolving collective knowledge-base that is governed and maintained by community members. Just like open source software communities, “SourceForge for science” style in scientific production and collaboration provide the requisite infrastructure that encompass community membership services, catalogs, storage services, and workflow orchestration service.

Recently a number of virtual scientific collaboratories emerged and continue to successfully bring together scientists over the globe to collaborate to not only share and aggregate data, but also create new knowledge. We call these groups Global Participatory Science (GPS) communities. For instance, OBO Foundry (Smith et al., 2007), the testbed that influenced and inspired this study, is collaboration among a group of communities that are active in developing ontologies to standardize data acquisition and use in the health sciences community. As collaboratories over the cyberinfrastructure become sophisticated in terms of capabilities that support remote access, collaboration, and cooperative activity management, virtual organizations as open science socio-technical systems are becoming prominent and increasingly central to science and engineering projects. Despite significant innovation research, much less is known about why and how innovation emerges in open science communities, as relatively little is known about organizing processes in cyber-enabled open science communities. Therefore, discovering optimal levels of connectivity, diversity, and interactivity at which scientific production and innovation can be optimized in open science socio-technical systems become a critical problem. One of the challenging problems involving such open science communities is to understand how and why such communities form and evolve as a result of interaction and collaboration among individuals in accord with their governance mechanisms.

We choose virtual GPS communities as a testbed to study, develop, and explore models of innovation in virtual innovation communities. GPS communities may experience reduced production loss through production blocking (Diehl and Stroebe, 1991; Gallupe et al., 1991) because all team members can contribute ideas simultaneously. They reduce problems with social influence such as evaluation apprehension and anonymity (Dennis and Valacich, 1993; DeRosa et al., 2007). Also, GPS communities, which often communicate through electronic media, reduces cognitive failures (Nijstad et al., 2006) and enhances the synergistic effects of group brainstorming because access to the data is unrestricted by individual recall (Dennis and Valacich, 1993). Traditional organizational archetypes are hierarchical organizations, in which employees have little or no control over their jobs (Lawler, 1992). In contrast, GPS communities accentuate emergent selection because individuals are given some control, which stimulates and motivates them (Von Hippel, 2005), so that individuals are adaptive as opposed to optimizing. Contributions compete for adoption and unanticipated innovations emerge as a result of interactions between the culture, organization, and the technology. Given these observations, the objective of this study involves using a computational model

  • to explore and improve our understanding of the structural and behavioral assumptions for the emergence and sustainment of creativity in GPS communities under alternative community cultures and conflict managementstyles.

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