Between July and September, 2013, we surveyed members of the Global Congress community to learn more about their projects and priorities. We invited participation through email lists and solicited anyone who had either been to a Global Congress, been invited to one, or expressed interest in coming. We received around 90 responses.
Rather than create an agenda document, we’ve decided to let the responses speak mostly for themselves. We’ve split them into two parts: a searchable, sortable database for Current Projects (below) and a series of posts on Research Priorities (forthcoming on Infojustice) that compile perspectives on research opportunities and its relationship to policymaking in the next several years.
Here are the caveats: The responses are drawn from–but do not exhaustively reproduce–the responses we received. Responses have been cherry picked, edited, and loosely organized under primary themes. We favored detailed responses over lists of projects or statements of general interests or concerns. The list is also quite limited: it attributes projects to the person or persons who reported it–not necessarily to all contributors to a project. We can, of course, make adjustments where the attribution is clearly inadequate (let us know if that’s the case). But we are not aiming for a rigorous accounting of the research field, just a useful one given the usual constraints on time and resources. If this proves popular, we can discuss expanding it as part of future Global Congresses.
Priorities for Future Research
Want to Contribute 2-3 Paragraphs on Research Priorities?
|Primary Investigator(s) and/or Person Who Reported It||Research Venue||Project Title||Topic(s)||Geographical Focus||Description|
|Pedro Mizukami||Fundação Vargas, Brazil||Mapping Digital Media: Brazil||Adjacent Issues||Brazil||Mapping Digital Media is an OSF series of comparative studies on "the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media [and] how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs."|
|Vikrant Narayan Vasudeva||Indian Law Institute||Adjacent Issues||India|
|I’m working on intellectual property management in context of open source software, and the possibility of harmoniously adapting the open source model with the proprietary model for a sui generis software protection model. The approach is a comparative analysis of the jurisdictions of U.S., Germany, Japan and India.|
|Talha Syed||University of California, Berkeley, USA||Adjacent Issues|
|Global||My work touches on four areas: (1) Economic analysis of how factoring in differentiated competition dynamics affects the economic theory and policy of copyright law. (2) Examining when precisely "democratic" and "distributive" theories or values result in significant differences from economic analysis for copyright law and policy. (3) Exploring how non-economic normative considerations related to non-IP-based approaches to innovation policy. (4) Copyright and Inequality: exploring the interaction between copyright rules and online expressive activity in light of three values (a) economic equity, (b) political democracy and (c) social or community ties marked less by status hierarchy and more reciprocity and mutuality recognition.|
|Nagla Rizk||American University, Egypt||Networked Public Sphere and Civic Engagement in the Arab World||Adjacent Issues||MENA|
|A study of the use of online and offline networks to spur public action and the transition to democracy in Egypt, Tunisia|
|Michael Geist||University of Ottawa, Canada||National digital strategies: Canada||Adjacent Issues||Canada||Analysis of national digital strategies and development of metrics to determine their effectiveness; (4) Telecom and Internet access issues. I have several projects at early stages including analysis of the competitiveness environment for telecom in Canada and net neutrality enforcement.|
|Floriana Fossato||Center for the Study of New Media and Society, New Economic School, Russia||Social networks, Peer Effect, and Protest Participation||Adjacent Issues||Russia||This project looks at whether the structure of online social networks affects political protests. In particular, we investigate whether the protests across Russia in 2011-2012 were less likely to occur in cities with higher fractionalization of users across different social network services. We also aim to analyze the impact of network cohesion around protest communities on the extent of protest activity. In addition, using a list experiment in a survey of Russian protest participants, we investigate whether social pressure from offline and online networks affect protest participation. Finally, we relate participation in protests across Russia in 2011-2012 with higher stocks of social capital and civic culture. We are also pursuing a number of related questions about the relationship between online social networks and political activity in Russia and in wider comparative context.|
|Floriana Fossato||Center for the Study of New Media and Society, New Economic School, Russia||Media Freedom and Online-Offline Dissimilarity Indices||Adjacent Issues||Global||The goal of this project is to construct an index that measures the difference in coverage of politics between offline media and blogs. In particular, we collect data on the frequency of mentions of different politicians in blogs, offline media, and online media in native languages of 40+ countries in the world. Using data from Bing, Google News/Blogs/Trends, Factiva, LexisNexis, and Wikipedia, we aim to construct indices for the differential coverage of politicians in different countries in the world. We also plan to look how well it predicts the quality of governance in different countries, as compared with existing media freedom indices and other explanatory variables, and whether this difference depends on global information environment.|
|J. Carlos Lara||Derechos Digitales, Chile||Adjacent Issues||Global||Research on cybercrime and crime through digital means, with a comprehensive final work that includes surveys and academic papers by people outside the organisation. The goal is to provide and publish a study hitherto inexistent.|
Jose M. Ramos
Thomas Leif Olsen
|Digial Democracy||Adjacent Issues||Global||The project will reconstruct the history of techniques for democratic deliberation and decision-making and comprehensively map the online tools currently in use. It will research various implementations of the liquid democracy concept, conduct a survey on attitudes and model a reference parliament.|
|Centre for Internet and Society, India||Relicensing of the Konkani Encyclopedia||Adjacent Issues||India|
|The CIS has successfully brought “Konkani Vishwakosh,” a major encyclopedia in Goa’s mother tongue, under a Creative Commons license. The entire set will be digitized on Wikipedia. CIS then aims to build up the Konkani Wikipedia by turning students into producers of knowledge.|
|Antonio Martinez Velazquez||Articulo 19||Intermediaries and Codes of Conduct||Intermediaries|
Privacy and Surveillance
|We are working to create predictable codes of conduct that allow for the coexistence of third party rights and freedom of expression on the Internet. The code of conduct is intended, in part, to provide ways of resolving conflicts without subjecting internet intermediaries to coercive state regulations.
One aspect of this work is a case by case study of the central conflicts intermediaries are facing. In our investigations we will whether and when self-regulation through the adoption of “best practices” provides a viable way through these conflicts.
Out broader findings will shed light on the dilemmas all social media will be facing, including “content blocking, take-down and disclosure of user identity." In so doing, we'll be asking a wide range of questions:
Are internet intermediaries promoting or censoring freedom of expression? What are the kinds of information that attract restrictions? What are the existing “standards of play”, or lack of? (Internal codes of practice vs. external codes of practice). When are intermediaries subject to external pressure to disclose information or to take down certain content? ¿How do they respond? Do these codes of conduct, terms of service, and past decisions comply with international standards?
We will also study the relationship that social media has with national laws, and these place different responsibilities on users and on intermediaries. For example, in certain countries the legal practice will directly place responsibility on the individual using an internet service, and will discard acting against intermediaries, while in other countries judicial courts may take direct actions against internet intermediaries. This will allow us to understand what kinds of pressure intermediaries receive and what actions can be taken to comply with national laws. If laws inhibit freedom of expression, what are the consequences of non compliance? How have intermediaries acted in the past faced with such dilemmas, and what are the consequences on freedom of expression.