Journal of Information Technology & Politics 2010 “The Politics of Open Source” CALL FOR PAPERS

May 6-7, 2010 – Amherst, Massachusetts

A two-day University of Massachusetts Amherst conference jointly hosted by the:

Department of Political Science 

Science, Technology, and Society Initiative (STS) 

Journal of Information Technology & Politics (JITP)

Qualitative Data Analysis Program (QDAP)

National Center for Digital Government (NCDG)


Eric von Hippel is Professor and Head of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Group at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School.  He specializes in research related to the nature and economics of distributed and open innovation. He also develops and teaches about practical methods that firms can use to improve their product and service development processes. He is the author of Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press, 2005) and The Sources of Innovation (Oxford, 1988).

Clay Johnson is Director of Sunlight Labs. Prior joining Sunlight, Clay was one of the four founders of Blue State Digital, the progressive left's premier technology and online strategy firm. This firm, which was born out of the Howard Dean campaign, was also responsible for Barack Obama's Web presence. At Blue State Digital, Clay was responsible for developing the organization's brand and building its initial client roster. He also had a hand at building some of the company's early technical tools. Before joining Blue State, Johnson was the lead programmer for Dean for America in 2004, overseeing the development of grassroots tools like GetLocal, DeanLink and Project Commons. Prior to entering politics, Johnson was a technologist at Ask Jeeves (now where he helped to develop the company's Web syndication product. He also started the first Internet Knowledge Exchange,, and worked as an entrepreneur-in-residence at a Venture Capital firm, but still claims that he learned the most from his first job — as a waiter at Waffle House in Atlanta, Georgia.

Christopher M. Kelty is an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Center for Society and Genetics and in the department of Information Studies. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.


Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FOSS) has made significant advances, both technically and organizationally, since its emergence in the mid-1980s. Over the last decade, it has moved from a software development approach involving mostly volunteers to a more complex ecology where firms, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and volunteers may be involved. Moreover, the production paradigm continues to expand to other areas of digital content (e.g., Creative Commons, Wikipedia, Connexions, etc.). In this conference we use the phrase “open source” to capture this broader phenomenon. The Program Committee encourages disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of open source, broadly defined.

"Politics" in the conference title, can have many interpretations. Political issues closely tied to the free and open source software movement(s) include: national government policies related to the adoption of open source technologies or questions related to interoperability and open standards, software patents, vendor lock-in, and copyright. These are central themes we expect may be discussed in this forum. In this context, we welcome international submissions since differences in the political perspective appear in international contexts. However, topics related to how the concept of openness has led to various interpretations, adaptations, and applications of “open source” in other domains, and political issues that surround these broader innovations, are also welcome. Specific topics might include, but are not limited to:

General topics related to the politics of open source

* How open source software or its principles are changing politics

* Emerging transparencies in software, systems and society 

* Open source in the developing world and other international contexts

* The political economy of open source

* Digital divides and open source

Open source and the public sector

* Open source software and transparency in government

* Government policies toward open source and open standards

* Regulation and open source

Open source and democracy

* Open source and democratic engagement

* Open source voting systems

* Activism, political mobilization and open source

The expansion of open source into other domains 

* Understanding how open source collaboration works and how it can be extended into other areas of collective action

* Policy areas, such as the effects of free textbooks on education policy or the politics of "One Laptop Per Child"

* The political implications of open source in other cultural domains


Authors are invited to prepare and submit to JITP a manuscript following one of the six submission formats by January 10, 2010. These formats include research papers, policy viewpoints, workbench notes, review essays, book reviews, and papers on teaching innovation. Proposals for full panel presentations will also be accepted. The goal is to produce a special issue, or double issue, of JITP with a wide variety of approaches to the broad theme of "The Politics of Open Source." 


Everything you need to know about how to prepare and submit a strong JITP paper is documented at Papers will be put through an expedited blind peer review process by the Program Committee, and authors will be notified about a decision by March 10, 2010. A small number of papers will be accepted for presentation at the conference. Other paper authors will be invited to present a poster during the Friday evening reception. All posters must include a "YouTube" version of their research findings. 


The author (or authors) of the best research paper will receive a single $1,000 prize. The creator (or creators) of the best poster/research presentation will also receive a single prize of $1,000.


M.V. Lee Badgett, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Paul M.A. Baker, Georgia Institute of Technology

Deborah Bryant, Oregon State University Open Source Lab

Andrea Calderaro, European University Institute

Mark Cassell, Kent State University

Edward Cherlin, Earth Treasury

Gabriella Coleman, New York University

Doug Downham, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Robert English, Daystar Computing & University of Massachusetts Amherst

Joseph Feller, University College Cork

Jelena Karanovic, Rutgers University

Dave Karpf, University of Pennsylvania/Miller Center for Public Affairs

Andrea Kavanaugh, Virginia Tech

Jose Marichal, California Lutheran University

Jens Hardings Perl, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Charlie Schweik, University of Massachusetts Amherst, co-chair

Stuart Shulman, University of Massachusetts Amherst, co-chair

Megan Squire, Elon University

Krishna Ravi Srinivas, Research Information System For Developing Nations 

Louis Suarez-Potts, Sun Microsystems, Inc. &

Anas Tawil
eh, Cardiff University &


For information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michelle Sagan Gonçalves at 413 577 2354 or