Strategic workshop “Online Participation in Decision Making Processes” in Berlin

What is the key feature of online participation in the context of decision making processes? Which gaps in research exist in the sphere of online participation? Which publication venues are there to publish research projects?

Among others these question were discussed by roughly 40 scientists on October 5th in Berlin. The strategic workshop “Online Participation in Decision Making Processes” was conducted together by the Fortschrittskolleg and the institute of computer sciences of the Humboldt-University zu Berlin. It brought together scientists from different disciplines who do research in the field of online paticipation and provided a platform to reconsider strategic research opportunities. Special attention was payed in setting up a scientific community which is familiar with the special problems and questions of the field of research.

Four topics which were prepared within the scope of an online discussion in advance of the event were in the center of interest.

Definition: The issue here was to determine the conceptual core of online participation in the context of decision making processes. The mere diversity of the terms used, such as „e-participation“, „online deliberation“, „collecitve intellegence“ or „decision support systems“, reveals the great width of the research area. For a common self-perception an operational definition of the research subject is of central importance.

Current state of research: This aspect served to identify gaps in the current research concerning online participation – thematic as well as methodical.

Publication venues: In this subject area common publication venues were identified with regard to their adequacy to publish research findings. Due to the interdisciplinary character of the research field there may be challenges here.

Community Building: The participants agreed to pursue the exchange between the scientists in an organized manner. The setup of a distinct scientific community was in the center of the last discussion topic.

The workshop and the in-depth discussions produced important results and insights, which will be processed and made available to all participants in order to foster the future strategic development of the scientific community.