UBC Graduate Research

“The Participedia Project : Using an Open Source Platform to Mobilize Knowledge about Democratic Innovations” Warren, Mark


Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The Participedia Project responds to a transformation of democratic governance, one possibly as revolutionary as the development of representative, party-based democracy that evolved out of the universal franchise. The transformation involves hundreds of thousands of new channels of citizen involvement in government, often outside of the more visible politics of electoral representation, and occurring in most countries in the world. Given this rapid and extensive development, we need to know what kinds of processes exist, and we need to know what kinds work best for specific problems and issues, for specific goals, under specific circumstances. We need to map this rapidly developing domain of political institutions. We need to explain why these processes are developing as they are. We need to assess their contributions to democracy and good governance. And we need to transfer this knowledge back into practice. But these needs exceed the capacities of traditionally-organized research teams. The Participedia Project meets this challenge by combining an extensive partnership with new information technologies to create the information base necessary for high quality research and evidence-based practice. At its heart is an open source research platform (www.participedia.net) that enables decentralized, collaborative creation and mobilization of knowledge from thousands of contributors.

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