Call For Papers

The First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture

In conjunction with the 4th iSummit, Jul 29–Aug 1, 2008, Sapporo, Japan



The First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture presents a unique opportunity for scholars with various backgrounds, whose work contributes to the promotion or study of an emerging Free Culture, to present their research work to a multidisciplinary audience of academic peers and practitioners. It will be held in conjunction with the fourth iSummit, one of the largest annual events for the Free Culture and related movements.

Our aim is to provide a platform for scholars to communicate their findings to an audience that extends beyond individual disciplines because we believe that the wider participation in the creative process (and consequently in the formation and dissemination of our modern culture) enabled by new Internet technologies, innovative legal solutions and new business models, are far-reaching and therefore deserve to be examined through the lens of multidisciplinary inquiry.

The focus of the workshop will be on the presentation and critique of work in progress, and with the inclusion of both academic researchers and practitioners, so as to produce a holistic perspective on the future of a more participative, open and free information society. Workshop participants will have the chance to present their work at an event which attracts some of the world's foremost thinkers on the future of the Internet, as well as practitioners, technologists, activists and artists who help shape that future.

The iSummit

The fourth global iSummit will be held in Sapporo, Japan from 29 July to 1 August, 2008. iCommons in association with Digital Garage, Creative Commons Japan and the City of Sapporo will bring together pioneers of the free Internet from over 60 countries around the world. Developed in collaboration with the iCommons community, the iSummit ‘08 represents an exploration of the emerging opportunities for co-ownership, co-creation and the widespread distribution and sharing of knowledge, ideas and creativity in the digital age. For more information on the iSummit see

Workshop Format

The workshop will be held as a separate 'track' during the iSummit. True to its mission of promoting the study and practice of participatory action, it will include both a peer-reviewed academic research program and a practice-oriented 'demo', or 'speedgeeking' session.

The academic research programme will consist of presentations in the traditional format of short talks with time for Q&A. Submissions to the academic research programme will be peer-reviewed by the programme committee, based on their academic merit, research promise and relevance to the workshop's goals and expected audience. Authors need only submit an extended abstract of the work they wish to present and not an entire paper (see 'Submission Guidelines' below). The purpose of this is to encourage the presentation of work in progress and promote a fruitful and open environment of critique and collaboration. Accepted abstracts will be published in the form of online workshop proceedings, so that the broader community has an opportunity to critique and comment.

Authors whose extended abstracts are accepted for presentation will also have a chance to upload a full paper before the start of the workshop, if they so desire.
Note that there will be no ideological 'litmus test' of any sort applied to submissions, i.e. all viewpoints are welcome and submissions will be judged purely on the merits and promise of the research as well as the potential for the presentation to generate interesting discussions at the workshop. Also, please note that members of the academic programme committee will be allowed to submit their own work for review but will be subject to exactly the same review criteria and appropriate safeguards will be in place to ensure the avoidance of any conflicts of interest.

The demo session will be in a 'speedgeeking' or similar format (quick, informal presentations on participant laptops) and will focus on practice-oriented work that is original and relevant to the workshop's goals but is not intended for a purely academic audience and hence might not fit the criteria of a peer-reviewed submission. This may include technology/art demos, case studies, practice-oriented reports, etc. A separate committee will be in charge of organising this session.

The workshop will also include opportunities for participants to discuss future directions for Commons-related research and mingle with workshop peers and with participants of the broader iSummit, in order to strengthen ties between research and practice and to allow the participants to explore cross-institutional collaboration opportunities. Also, a short presentation of the workshop's main findings will be made by members of the programme committee during the iSummit.

Research Topics

Topics of interest for the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies on the use and growth of open/free licensing models
  • Critical analyses of the role of Creative Commons or similar models in promoting a Free Culture
  • Building innovative technical, legal or business solutions and interfaces between the sharing economy and the commercial economy
  • Modeling incentives, innovation and community dynamics in open collaborative peer production and in related social networks
  • Economic models for the sustainability of commons-based production
  • Successes and failures of open licensing
  • Analyses of policies, court rulings or industry moves that influence the future of Free Culture
  • Regional studies of Free Culture
  • Lessons from implementations of open/free licensing and distribution models for specific communities
  • Definitions of openness and freedom for different media types, users and communities
  • Broader sociopolitical, legal and cultural implications of Free Culture initiatives and peer production practices

Submission Guidelines

Extended abstracts for the academic research programme should contain a clear statement of the main research question, the methods employed, central ideas, and the outcomes of the research, in addition to a description of the topic being addressed. All extended abstracts must be submitted electronically in PDF format to moc.liamg|hcraeser.snommoc#moc.liamg|hcraeser.snommoc by May 3, and should be about 1000-1500 words in length. In addition, and beyond the stated size limit, in the same PDF file authors should include contact information, affiliations and a short biographical note for each author.

Submission of an abstract entails a commitment that at least one author will attend the workshop to present the work in the case of acceptance. Also, authors of abstracts accepted for presentation grant the workshop organizers the right to publish their submissions in the form of online proceedings. In addition, and in accordance with general iSummit terms and conditions, submissions accepted for presentation will be automatically licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, unless the authors explicitly state in their submission that they wish to opt out of this licensing agreement. We encourage authors to use said license, although decisions to opt out will be respected and will not influence the review process in any way. In any case, authors of accepted abstracts cannot opt out from the basic condition that they grant the workshop organizers the right to publish their submissions online. The same terms and conditions apply for the case where an author of an accepted abstract chooses to upload an entire paper before the workshop date for inclusion in the online proceedings.

For the demo/speedgeeking session(s) it will be possible to register interest on site at the workshop, but potential presenters are encouraged to express their interest in advance by submitting a 1-2 page summary of their presentation in PDF format to moc.liamg|omed.snommoc#moc.liamg|omed.snommoc by May 3, illustrating the originality and relevance of their work. In addition, and beyond the stated size limit, in the same PDF file authors should include contact information, affiliations and a short biographical note for each author. Submitting proposals in advance will greatly help the team in charge of organising this part of the workshop. The demo committee will ultimately decide how to organise this session, whether to apply any terms and conditions for participation, whether to publish online proceedings of any form, as well as how to ensure that the content will be relevant and of high quality.

Workshop Chairs

  • Jonathan Zittrain, Oxford University, UK
  • Tyng-Ruey Chuang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Giorgos Cheliotis, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Academic Program Committee

The academic program committee comprises senior scholars, recognized thought leaders and some promising young scholars. Moreover, it includes representatives from virtually every part of the world, reflecting the truly international agenda of the workshop:

  • Bodo Balazs, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
  • Giorgos Cheliotis, Singapore Management University, Singapore
  • Tyng-Ruey Chuang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
  • Juan Carlos De Martin, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, Italy
  • Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, USA
  • Brian Fitzgerald, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Rishab Ghosh, UNU-MERIT, the Netherlands
  • James Grimmelmann, New York Law School, USA
  • Lucie Guibault, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • Herkko Hietanen, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Finland
  • Minjeong Kim, Hawaii Pacific University
  • Mathias Klang, Lund University, Sweden
  • Ronaldo Lemos, Fundacao Getulio Vargas, Brazil
  • Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University, USA
  • Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, India
  • Lev Manovich, University of California San Diego, USA
  • Lisa Petrides, Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education, USA
  • Anil Samtani, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • Jan Philipp Schmidt, UWC/UNU-MERIT, the Netherlands
  • Elizabeth Stark, Harvard University and Berkman Center for Internet & Society, USA
  • Alek Tarkowski, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Anas Tawileh, Cardiff University, UK
  • Prodromos Tsiavos, London School of Economics, UK
  • Kim Tucker, Meraka Institute, South Africa
  • Ariel Vercelli, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Oxford University, UK

Demo Committee

The team in charge of organizing the demo/speed-geeking session consists of people who are making outstanding contributions towards the promotion of a Free Culture in technology, legal practice and the arts:

  • Jessica Coates, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Kevin Driscoll, MIT, USA
  • Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons, USA
  • Jon Phillips, Creative Commons, USA and China
  • Elizabeth Stark, Harvard University and Berkman Center for Internet & Society, USA


If you have questions, ideas for special sessions we should host during the workshop, or wish to assist with the organization of the workshop, please subscribe to the commons-research mailing list at and send your emails to gro.oilbibi.stsil|hcraeser-snommoc#gro.oilbibi.stsil|hcraeser-snommoc.

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