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[jox] Draft letter / Final CFP

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Hi all

Following is a stab at a letter to approach reviewers and an updated version of the CFP. I went through the archive and incorporated all the suggestions and tweaks I could find. Let me know if I forgot something. 

The one topic I am a bit uncomfortable with is "peer production and psychology" as I know nothing about it and would find it tough to evaluate whether an article or a review was OK or not. I'm not an expert in all the rest but I have a sense that I could at least understand the issues. So unless someone can suggest a good academic reviewer who could help us out here I'm quite tempted to leave that one out.

I'm proposing to call the governing body "governance board" to distinguish it from a scientific committee of reviewers. Hope this is OK, let it be known otherwise. I put myself in there so now we have a nice balance between academics and programmers. :-)

Btw, the question of how to describe developers was never resolved completely for StefanMz and Graham...

Another question is whether governance board members should also appear as part of the scientific committee?

Concerning the peer review process, the issue of "above which expert reviewer rating" articles should be published was not resolved so I suggest [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED]. if there are any issues with that please it be known.

Finally I am pleased to announce our first official reviewer / scientific committee member, who I approached a while ago and who immediately agreed: Rob Ackland of the ANU. He is an economist by training, taught himself to code, and created his own quantitative software suite to map and analyse online networks. I've been working with him on research on environmental social movements. He indicated to me that he's not interested in governance issues so I haven't subscribed him to this list yet – I thought I'd wait until we get started to ask him again. In any case his economic and quantitative research skills will be very useful. 

That’s all I can think of for now,


Dear […]

I am delighted to approach you with some exciting news. After the fourth Oekonux conference in Manchester earlier this year, a group of peer production and free software researchers, activists and practicioners decided that the question of whether peer production constitutes a valid and viable alternative to capitalism should be more widely discussed. As a result, we decided to create an online journal to examine this question, and I volunteered to act as editor. 

This journal, Critical Studies in Peer Production, promises to be a uniquely stimulating venture, not only because of its subject matter, but also because of the way it will be produced. General governance is conducted through an open decision-making process, via a mailing list where founding members have been discussing the journal's core principles. The archives can be consulted here:
(The Oekonux website is currently being revamped).

In addition, we were inspired by Whitworth and Friedman's suggestions (2009a, 2009b) for the establishment of a more open system of scientific peer reviewing. Please refer to the guidelines below for more detailed information. We will be providing feedback  to Brian Whitworth and his colleagues as we advance with the implementation of their suggestions.

This is why I am writing to you today: I believe that your unique expertise in the area of […] would enable you to contribute to this project, first as a member of our Scientific Committee and at a later date, if you wish to contribute more, as a member of our Governance Board. I am excited by the opportunity to gather together a group of international experts and thinkers who together can break new ground in evaluating and analysing new forms of cooperative production.

There is an urgent need to examine these important issues critically. I hope that you will join us in this project. In particular, if you have any comments or suggestions regarding the following Call for submissions, we would be very interested to hear from you.


Mathieu O'Neil
Editor, CSPP


*Call for submissions*

Critical Studies in Peer Production (CSPP) seeks high-quality contributions from researchers and practitioners of peer production. We understand peer production as a mode of commons-based and oriented production in which participation is voluntary and predicated on the self-selection of tasks. Notable examples are the collaborative development of Free Software projects and of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Through the analysis of the forms, operations, and contradictions  of peer producing communities in contemporary capitalist society, the journal aims to open up new perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change. 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: the political economy of peer production; peer production and expertise; critical theory and peer production; peer production and exchange; peer production and social movements; peer production as an alternative to capitalism; peer production and capitalist cooptation; governance in peer projects; peer production and ethics; the peer production of hardware; peer production and feminism; peer production, industry and ecology; psychological aspects of peer production.

*Submissions guidelines*

CSPP will be published twice a year. All contributions will be peer reviewed. Contributors are invited to follow the Harvard citation style and to submit papers using free software such as Open Office. Once papers have been accepted, it is the author's responsibility to format them in accordance with our specifications. 

The journal welcomes submissions based on interdisciplinary approaches including information and computer sciences, law, geography, history, communications, and sociology. CSPP accepts a variety of manuscripts. Please review the descriptions below and identify the submission type best suited to your intended submission.

Research papers
Research papers are theoretically driven, focusing on key facets of peer production, and reporting substantial findings. Approximate length: 6000 words.
Essays and interviews 
We welcome testimonies, reflections, working papers and critical essays by peer production researchers and practitioners. These contributions should comprise 1[PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] words.

We also seek reviews of relevant projects and of books analysing peer production processes. Reviews should be 500-1000 words.

The editor is happy to discuss other possibilities with potential contributors. 

*Peer Review Process*

Our approach to peer reviewing is informed by Whitworth and Friedman's (2009a) criticism of current academic publishing as a form of competitive economics in which "scarcity reflects demand, so high journal rejection rates become quality indicators". This self-reinforcing system where journals that reject more attract more results in a situation where "avoiding faults becomes more important than new ideas. Wrongly accepting a paper with a fault gives reputation consequences, while wrongly rejecting a useful paper leaves no evidence". 

Whitworth and Friedman (2009b) propose an alternative evaluation system: 
(a) higher rating discrimination: a many-point scale, not just accept-reject 
(b) more submissions to be rated: rate all 
(c) more people to rate: community involvement
(d) different ways of rating: formal review vs. informal use ratings. 

Using the categories of relevance, rigour, writing, comprehesiveness, logical flow and originality all submitted papers will be rated on a scale from –1 (don't publish) to [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] (outstanding). To maintain quality, only papers rated [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] and above by expert reviewers will be featured in the journal. To offer a counterpoint to expert reviews, anyone who registers an identity with the site will be able to rate articles, and comment on articles. Statistics regarding article views and ratings, and reviewer activity will be available on request for authors and reviewers, or sent directly by the journal to the required institutions.


Mathieu O'Neil, Université Paris Sorbonne & Australian National University

Governance Board:
Michel Bauwens, Dhurakij Pundit University International College
George Dafermos, Delft University of Technology
Athina Karatzogianni, University of Hull
Stefan Meretz, Software developer
Stefan Merten, Software developer and founder, Oekonux
Mathieu O'Neil, Université Paris Sorbonne & Australian National University
Graham Seaman, Software developer 
Christian Siefkes, Software developer and author, blog 

Scientific Committee:
Rob Ackland, Australian National University

CSPP is published by Oekonux. Oekonux is a non-profit organization devoted to the theoretical and practical advancement of peer production. 


Whitworth B and R Friedman (2009a) "Reinventing academic publishing online. Part I: Rigor, relevance and practice", First Monday, Volume 14, Number 8 - 3 August 2009.
Whitworth B and R Friedman (2009b) "Reinventing academic publishing online. Part II: A socio–technical vision", First Monday, Volume 14, Number 9 - 7 September 2009.


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