Discussion Forum - Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR

Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR

Discussion Framing Statement:

This forum will encourage discussions about the virtues and challenges of promoting open source, open access and open data projects within the broader Online Dispute Resolution and Conflict Studies field. We'll look at the spirit of the open source movement and share some examples of former and current open sharing projects located within our broad Dispute Resolution, ODR, Conflict Studies and CMC fields. As a pragmatic example, a fledgling e-textbook project (ConflictStudies.org) focused on the development and sharing of open access conflict studies e-books will be introduced and discussed. Our hopes are that some people in the Cyberweek community might wish to get involved in developing or sharing open access materials in new ways.

Participants are encouraged to review the summary article “Fifty Shades of Open” by Pomerantz and Peek to help us parse out the various meanings of “open”.

Find it here: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/6360/5460

Broad themes we hope to explore this week:

  • What is "Open Source", "Open Access", and "Open Data"?

  • ODR in an Era of Cyberconflict – What are the pressures for and against sharing?

  • Open Educational Resources (OER) - what are they and where can we find them?

  • Examples of Open Materials Shared at Past Cyberweeks

  • Gaps and Needs in the Field that Open Access Materials Might Address

  • "Create your Own ODR skills textbook" – Solicitation of topics & imagined tables of contents

Sample Project Profiles:


Moderators’ Bio:

Bill Warters, Ph.D., is the Academic Director of Wayne State University's Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution program where he teaches courses on social conflict, mediation, and communication technologies and conflict. Author of Mediation in the Campus Community: Designing and Managing Effective Programs.

David J. Smith, JD MS is the president of the Forage Center for Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Education, Inc., 501c3 not-for-profit that offers experiential learning opportunities for students and professionals. He was formerly a senior program officer and coordinator of national outreach at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace.

Jennifer Batton, MA is a Conflict Resolution and Peace Education Consultant. She is Co-Chair of the Peace Education/Conflict Resolution Education Working Group (PEWG) of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. For 7 years she directed the Global Issues Resource Center at Cuyahoga Community College and prior to that she served for 8 years as Director of Education Programs at the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management.

Julie Shedd, Ph.D. is currently the Associate Dean for Administration at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University and teaches both introductory courses and courses on terrorism, extremism, global conflicts, and ideologies.  She holds a Ph.D. and M.S.  in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University.

Guy Burgess, Ph.D. and Heidi Burgess Ph.DCo-Direct the University Of Colorado, Conflict Information Consortium and its Beyond Intractability (www.beyondintractability.org) and CRInfo Knowledge Base (www.crinfo.org) projects as well as the Consortium's new Moving Beyond Intractability Massive Open Online Seminars (MOOS).  They have spent the last 40 years studying and teaching about the many destructive conflict dynamics that arise in the course of intractable conflict as well as strategies for limiting those dynamics. Since the earliest days of the Internet they have also pursued a series of projects designed to use advancing telecommunication technologies to speed the flow of information on a broad range of conflict-related topics.


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Greetings Cyberweek. Bill Warters here, writing from Detroit, Michigan. I want to welcome you to our forum exploring Open Source, Open Access and Open Data in ODR. As you can see, we've selected a really broad area for review and conversation. We hope you'll feel invited to comment and discuss the various elements of "Openness" that speak to you and the world you live and work in. By way of example, we've gathered a number of people here who will provide some examples of open knowledge sharing that they are familiar with. The results are impressive and may contain lessons for us going forward.

But first, to help us have some shared ground to stand on, we've provided a link to a great summary article by Pomerantz and Peek entitled "Fifty Shades of Open" (published in an Open-Access journal by the way) that reviews the emergence and spread of the idea of "open," initially within the software and technical communities but now spreading much wider to impact libraries and government offices and maker-spaces. Here's the broad themes addressed in the article:

  • (Free) Speech, beer, and puppies 
  • Open means rights
  • Open means access
  • Open means use
  • Open means transparent
  • Open means participatory
  • Open means enabling openness
  • Open means philosophically aligned with open principles
  • Openwashing and its discontents

For those who are visually inclined, I created a word-cloud from the contents of the Fifty Shades of Open article.

What if ODR stood for OPEN DISPUTE RESOLUTION?  What aspects of "openness"  from the above list do you think would be most essential? What have we already accomplished, and what still needs doing? We're interested in your thoughts.

That is certainly interesting. If ODR was transparent, there would certainly be more honesty at the risk of being exposed...

...on the other hand, it could lead to public shaming at the hands of the Court of Public Opinions.

Either way, I believe the transition would create plenty of anxiety, resistance and protests...but ultimately create a more cohesive society.


I love this topic.

Thanks Remi. Your comment on the centrality of transparency made me think of the advances in personal psychology being discussed in the 1970s that encouraged more full uncensored disclosure of feelings and the use of foam bats to hit your partner. I think they pushed the limits of transparency in face-to-face interactions, and in the process also taught us the value of using discretion, diplomatic speech patterns, kindness and ahimsa rather than simply "tough love." 

I wonder if the ODR field is still erring on the side of overly shielding dispute "parties" from each other, and if there might still be room for advances via tools like sample precomposed text and emojis as you have that facilitate more appropriate interpersonal transparency. Helping people find the appropriate level of transparency seems like the current challenge.

Thanks for tying that Psychology information in!

Creating options is key to providing freedom or at least a semblance of freedom or even simply more freedom than before.

That includes those that you mentioned above along with the choice of communication - phone, text, personal computer and more...and environment is key too. 

Restorative justice is too shocking to some at the moment, but it makes much more sense.

Have you looked into that?

Hi everyone, this is Julie Shedd from George Mason University writing to tell you a little bit about one of our initiatives.  Supported by a US Dept of Ed grant from FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education) faculty and graduate students at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution took on a task of creating activities and curriculum that would enable enhanced experiential learning for conflict analysis and resolution students.  The program as a whole as named the Undergraduate Experiential Learning Project.  The project was designed specifically to create open source, sharable, and adaptable curriculum.  It includes three major initiatives:

Initiative 1: Design introductory course materials in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, particularly experiential learning activities (ELAs) suitable for general education.

Initiative 2: Create a model for intensive service learning activities (SLIs) in domestic and international contexts.

Initiative 3: Promote best practices in designing CAR curricula so as to enhance students’ ability to link theory and practice, including models for strengthening partnerships between two- and four-year institutions and better aligning curricula across those institutions.

If you would like to learn more about the in-class Experiential Learning Activities you can see more about them and download student materials and leaders guides Here ELA

If you would like more information about the Service Learning Initiatives which included trips to Colombia, Liberia and West Virginia visit here SLI

One of the real challenges I think we face is how to best make people award of the resources that already exist.  Please check out what we have on the project at UELP Home and give me any feedback you have.


Great stuff. 

Please contact me at nextgenerationmediation@gmail.com; I have some information that may be of use.


Thanks so much Julie. The materials the GMU teams have produced are really high quality and well documented. I wonder if the shift in higher ed toward blended/hybrid courses that mix online course activities with classroom work means we need to also start building these kind of modules for online learners. Has your team explored this element, or is that a new grant idea :-) for the future. 

I'm actually working right now on a simulation around UN responses to "Terrorism" related to the Peacekeeping Mission in Mali.  We are going to pilot in an in-person class this fall but it's ultimate destination is to transition it into a simulation that can be used for my online class on Terrorism for the Spring.  I think this is a huge challenge to figure out how we can provide these kinds of meaningful active learning opportunities in distance/hybrid formats. 

I should have known you were on this already! Clearly we need this kind of online-ready content. Going on a bit of a tangent here, the topic of constructive responses to terrorism couldn't be more timely and important. The idea that once a group is labeled as terrorist means that all communication with them must stop ("we don't negotiate with terrorists") surely is not one dispute resolution and conflict studies scholars can get behind. I wonder if secure and anonymous communication via technology with rebel/insurgent groups is playing a useful role diplomatically or if it is just too taboo to consider? Reminds me of a reading I've used in our Communication Technology and Conflict course that imagines the use of secure communication tools as part of a "peacefare" strategy. You can see the abstract of this piece, entitled Peacemaker 2020, here (and note how much it costs behind a scholarly publishers paywall!).

I think that the shift to language of Violent Extremism is interesting in possibilities of how we might navigate these realities differently.  However the pessimist in me thinks that it may just make it a way to label a wider array of groups.

One of the most rapidly growing areas of collaboration is around Open Access to scholarly research and writing. This "explainer video" from a coalition of universities seeking to ensure open access to knowledge (and reduce their library subscription costs) makes the case plainly.

I know some folks in our field who focus on Negotiation research have made good use of the SSRN (Social Science Research Network) to post papers, but recently they were purchases by a large commercial publishing firm, so some have new anxiety now. Should we be worried? What other outlets for scholarly dispute resolution materials should we be watching?

Good stuff. We are indeed in the Information Age; wouldn't bits of new knowledge from various fields only strengthen and advance us along in our humanity? Is money really the only large nay sayer? 


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