Research Assistant positions with The
Cooperation Research Group: Case
Studies in Commons-Based Peer Production
information session about this effort will be held in the Berkman
Center's conference room on September 4th at 6 p.m. Please come to
learn more - snacks and drinks will be provided.
makes Wikipedia or digg succeed?What
makes other collaborative efforts fail?Peer production—large scale cooperation among human participants—has
become an increasingly important mechanism for the creation of information,
knowledge, and culture.Civil society
organizations like the Sunlight Foundation are building collaborative platforms
to expose government abuses. Businesses
like Threadless T- Shirts and Amazon Mechanical Turk are using it to harness
distributed intelligence and work capabilities.The intelligence community has set up an internal Intellipedia, and the
Army, Company Commander. Some diffuse social networks like CouchSurfing or
BookCrossing are using it to share sleeping accommodations or books, while
others, like DailyKos, harness political mobilization.
Cooperation Research Group, led by Professor Yochai Benkler, analyzes the
design of cooperative human systems through a combination of interdisciplinary
observational, experimental, and theoretical studies. As part of this project,
the group is embarking on a new effort to provide a map of commons-based and
cooperative peer production today. The purpose of the study is to offer a
systematic analysis of a wide range of information and knowledge production
sectors, to identify practices, list them, describe them, and categorize them.
To learn more, watch Prof. Benkler's TED talk on collaboration here.
Job Task/Responsibilities Description:
Assistants will have the opportunity to contribute substantively to this
project, conducting and writing case studies as well as providing input on
overall research design and execution.
of this position, you will need to:
Conduct in-depth research on commons-based
peer-production using online resources, library databases and secondary
sources, ethnographic participant observation of online communities, as well as
statistical and/or computational data collection.
Write-up findings on a regular, iterative basis,
conforming to research protocols and deadlines laid out by Professor Benkler
and project leaders.
Submit written results to online repositories in a
timely and organized fashion.
Present results to the rest of the research group on a
Critically and constructively engage with group
members' research; collaborate openly on all projects; integrate feedback &
criticism of your own work.
position will begin in mid-September. The required commitment is approximately 15
hours per week (including weekly case study research group meetings)
through December 15.
interest in the commons, cooperation, peer-production, and the range of human
activities is necessary.The position is
open to students in post-graduate, professional, and undergraduate programs. Strong
background (and interests) in social or behavioral sciences. Some technical
background, with working knowledge of Web-based research methods and
computational research tools. We are also looking for applicants with strong
technical skills and substantial interest in social design and cooperation.
should be smart, creative, curious, flexible, open-minded, motivated people who
also have the skills below:
strong writing, editing and oral presentation
experience, or interest in, conducting original
ability to meet deadlines and balance other work/study
Familiarity with research on cooperation, organizations, and
case study methodology highly valued. Familiarity with research on motivation,
sociology, economics, and/or social psychology is also a plus.
Letter of Interest
A writing sample (500-1000 words)
Contact information – email and/or phone – for no
fewer than two references (professional or academic).
Please submit all required materials to Janet Moran firstname.lastname@example.org later than September 5, 2008 at 5pm.
Please Note: We will try to accommodate students who prefer to
receive course credit rather than pay consistent with their school's policies.
Also, research Assistants do not need to be affiliated with Harvard and
do not need to be students. However, this position does notinclude benefits and the standard wage is $11.50 per hour (though is negotiable based on experience). The project can only
employ international students whose visas have been sponsored by Harvard.