Call for Papers
Computer Supported Cooperative Work: The Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices (JCSCW)
Special Issue on Crowd Dynamics: Conflicts, Contradictions, and Cooperation Issues in Crowdsourcing
Organizing Special Issue Editors
Thomas Ludwig (University of Siegen), Karin Hansson (Stockholm University), Tanja Aitamurto (Stanford University), Neha Gupta (University of Nottingham)
Deadline for Submissions
March, 31 2017
Through this special issue we aim to make contributions towards the emerging and intriguing subject of crowdsourcing and enrich academia’s understanding of individual and collaborative aspects of crowdsourcing.
Scope of the Special Issue
Unfair reputation systems, slow payments, lack of transparency, discrimination, misunderstandings and misinterpretations, lack of access to decision-making or socio-spatial inequalities are only some of the many reasons for conflicts in crowdsourcing. The divisive logic of the system, its related tools and practices as well as the sharing processes in the peer-community creates interesting dynamics and new foci on old conflicts.
The development of new types of working relationships has previously been problematized for several reasons. For example, Irani and Silberman (2014) have questioned crowd-worker dynamics from a labor rights perspective, leading to calls for collective action by crowd workers (Salehi et al., 2015). Martin et al’s (2014, 2016) analysis of the online discussion in the community of workers at the Mechanical Turk, shows the tensions between the dividing logic of the system and the information-sharing practices in the community. Gupta et al’s (2014) study of Indian workers shows how lack of control over the work environment affect participants work practices. Other common conflicts are due to rejected work, slow or unfair payments, lack of transparency, or technical problems (Six et al., 2010).
In the area of digital democracy, digital differentiation and inequalities within the crowd becomes problematic (Hansson, 2014). Studies of Amazon Mechanical Turk (Fort et al., 2011), Wikipedia (Menking & Erikson, 2015; Ortega et al., 2008), Twitter (Duggan et al., 2015) and crowdsourced policymaking (Aitamurto and Landemore, 2016) indicate a lack of representativeness in terms of age, gender and education. Cultural geographers have also pointed out the hegemonic discourses and socio-spatial relations in the geographic web (Crampton et al., 2013; Soden & Palen, 2014; Shelton, 2014). But crowdsourcing, nowadays, also has an impact on physical “offline” activities, such as conducting voluntary work in crisis management (Ludwig et al., 2015) or making use of the large part of population to contribute to scientific challenges via crowdsourcing, defined as Citizen Science (Irwin, 1995). The physical circumstances and potential conflicts, such as endangering voluntary crowd workers or citizen “scientists” also needs to be considered.
However, there is a need of studies of actual work practices in crowd-work settings and a more empirical research on the conflicts and dynamics within the more fluid work and interactive relations in crowd work. There is also a lack of a more structured overview of typologies of participation indicating levels of power and agency in the context of crowd work and crowdsourcing at large. This special issue therefore focuses on research exploring actual reasons, practices, power relations, and dynamics of conflicts within crowdsourcing and crowd work.
We invite participants from a diversity of disciplines and perspectives to contribute with insights about types of crowdsourcing in practice, to deepen our understanding of actual work practices and relations in contexts such as crowd work, peer-production and citizen science. Furthermore, we also aim to gather typologies of participation examining and explaining power relations of crowd work.Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
Transparency in Crowdsourcing: Empirical studies, design case studies or theoretical work about how to allow crowd workers to understand, configure, personalize, and control applications relating to crowdsourcing. What levels of transparency exist in the implementation of crowdsourcing? What are the clashes of needs that exist between crowd workers and sourcers? What types of conflicts of expectations arise in crowd contexts? What is the role of transparency in resolving or amplifying these conflicts?
Tools, processes, services and architectures for supporting the management of conflicts, contradictions, or cooperation issues in crowdsourcing contexts: What are the tools, services and architectural infrastructures for discovering or supporting the actual work of and conflicts in crowdsourcing? What are the characteristics of tools that support conflict management and/or conflict resolution in crowdsourcing?
Social and organizational factors influencing conflicts, contradictions, or cooperation issues:Crowdsourcing deals highly with social and organizational aspects. What are the social and organizational aspects that foster conflicts in practice? How is labor and capital distributed? How could social and organizational aspects help overcome inequity and how does technology foster those aspects? What are dynamics of inclusion/exclusion in crowdsourcing, reflecting societal issues of race, gender, identity, and geography?
Tensions between “offline” and “online” activities: Crowdsourcing often has an impact on physical activities and vice versa. Therefore the physical circumstances and potential conflicts need to be considered. What problems exist while conducting physical crowd work? What areas of tension exits? How could technology support solving those conflicts?
Social computing approaches for crowdsourcing: The emergence and success of crowdsourcing practices may (not) rely on supporting peer networks and on sharing results that allow pooling resources in user communities. What are conflicts or contradictions between crowd members and crowd workers? How does technology help addressing and resolving those conflicts?
Research ethics in citizens’ science: When relying on crowdsourcing, crucial ethical questions arise: What kind of work can be sourced to the crowd? What legal, moral and ethical protections are missing or should be in place to support the crowd and the sourcers? What are the ethical questions concerning “child-based crowdsourcing” (e.g. creativity work)?
Submissions due: March, 31 2017
Reviews due: May, 15 2017
Notification to authors: June, 15 2017
Revised version due: July, 15 2017
Special issue published: 2017/2018
Manuscripts are submitted via the online manuscript system at:
Submission type: SI: Crowd Dynamics
Further information, including JCSCW submission procedures and advice on formatting and preparing manuscripts, can be found at:
To discuss a possible contribution please contact the special issue editors at
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With best regards, Karin Hansson
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