Humanit Annual Report

HumanIT Annual Report

March 2013 – February 2014

Executive Summary

HumanIT is a multidisciplinary research centre at Karlstad University, underlining user and human perspectives on information and communication technologies (ICTs). The centre seeks to enhance the appreciation and usability of ICTs, for improved livelihood without compromising human rights. Departing from user perspectives, research on ICTs is enabled through collaboration between different researchers at the University, and in close collaboration with the industry and public sector.

HumanIT profiles three areas that remain focused on user perspectives in ICT research;

  • ICT for/enabled Development (ICT4D)
  • Surveillance and Privacy in Information Society
  • ICT for Disaster Management and Crisis Communication

A number of developments within these areas took place during the year such as a successful research application from Vinnova by the ICT for Disaster Management and Crisis Communication. Another successful application was within the ICT enabled Development stream, where Jakob Svensson and Caroline Wamala secured research funding from the ÅkeWiberg foundation that will be used for field work research in the autumn term of 2014. Research application to the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions, submitted by researchers led by John Sören Petterson from Informatics was successful, and this project is on-going.

Doctoral seminars for PhD candidates affiliated with the centre were successfully held with discussants/opponents, providing an interactive forum for discussion. Minor Field Studies (MFS) grantees returned from their field visits and in September 2013, presented their findings during a HumanIT seminar.

Conferences (International and regional) furthered the centre’s visibility with the presence of HumanIT director, and researchers affiliated with HumanIT. Additionally preparations for two international events, the ICT for Democracy summer school and the Mobile Communications for Development Conference scheduled to take place in the spring term of 2014, continued in earnest aided by technological platforms such as Skype and email exchanges. Cooperation with the Society for Education and Research and Development (SERD) in New Delhi India who will co-host and co-organise the ICT for Democracy summer school was strengthened. New collaborations were also successfully sought with the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna - Austria, UniversitéCheikh Anta Diop de Dakar – Senegal andThe Hague university of Applied Sciences.

The Internet and Security Conference hosted by Compare, in Karlstad was in cooperation with different regional partners. This occasion held October 2013 marked the commemoration of the European Cyber Security month, and brought together Swedish and Norwegian actors from the industry, public sector, as well as academic to discuss the cyber defense mechanisms that different institutions in Sweden and Norway think about as well as utilize. To further HumanIT’s visibility in the region, HumanITcentre sponsored a lunch at the conference, and together with HumanIT board member Mikael Lundström distributed flyers and information material about HumanIT. Among the material distributed at the conference was a flyer about seminars scheduled for the autumn term that would continue this very important discussion on cyber security at the University in collaboration with HumanITcentre. 21 seminars were successfully hosted in 2013 majority in cooperating with other departments, 6 directly organized by HumanIT.

Lastly the HumanIT director Jakob Svensson’s tenure came to an end in August 2013, and Caroline Wamala assumed this position from that date. The HumanIT board that guides and supports the development of the centre also renewed their commitment until 2016.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Detailed overview of 2013

Research Projects and Funding Applications

Doctoral Research at HumanIT

Collaboration and Conferences

An overview of activities in the profile areas

Industrial Cooperation

Seminar Series

Organisation and Information management

Publications in 2013

Detailed overview of 2013

TheHumanITcentre is located under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences after the organizational restructuring. The centre’s portal paragraph, adapted in 2012, remained unchanged in 2013 and reads as follows:

In close cooperation with the trade, industry and public sector, HumanIT is a multidisciplinary research center underlining user and human perspectives on information and communication technologies (ICTs).

HumanIT seeks to enhance the appreciation and usability of ICTs in people’s everyday life without compromising human rights such as privacy. Based on a human perspective, HumanIT focuses on ICT uses for improved livelihood. Further attention is drawn to developing regions as well as the role and potential uses of ICTs in crisis and emergency situations.

HumanIT objectives:

- Underline and strengthen research focusing on human perspectives of ICTs.
- Establish Karlstad University as a leading institution for research on human perspectives of ICTs.
- Provide a multi-disciplinary platform for research and collaboration across disciplines with trade, industry and public sector.
- Contribute to the trade, industry and public sector by influencing product and service development.

The objectives above are achieved through the centre’s profile areas which as mentioned in the executive summary are:

  • Surveillance and Privacy in the Information Society
  • ICT for/enabled Development (ICT4D)
  • ICT for Disaster Management and Crisis Communication.

Each of the profile areas secured some funding – explored subsequently – that will assist their progression.

An inventory of the year’s activities point towards substantially more international cooperation as will be noted throughout the report. The centre strives to engage with regional and international institutions and a strong international presence is especially favourable towards Karlstad University’s process of internationalization. Karlstad University’s international profile aims to strengthen and enlarge its research and education through international cooperation which is a process that HumanIT has contributed to significantly during this year. It is equally important and beneficial for HumanIT to strengthen and expand the regional cooperation which is a task that the centre will engage with actively during the autumn of 2014.

Research Projects and Funding Applications

The role of open access in the maturing process of IT research education. Three case studies

John Sören Pettersson is the principle researcher in this research project that seeks to understand the role Open Access can play for the growth of IT departments at East African universities. Collaborating with researchers at Makerere University under the leadership of Rehema Baguma, the research is being carried out in collaboration with an ongoing Spider supported education project in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Access to current, relevant and high quality research results at low/no cost has a big potential to drive development in developing countries. Open access (OA) research provides a platform for world-wide knowledge sharing but the channels are still limited, particularly in developing countries. In this project the research team wants to make a case study of the actual usage of OA but also study OA as a driver and as a possible barrier for scholarly communication (will OA work/compete with existing fora?). OA initiatives, governing policies as well as attitudes and habits of administrators and researchers of Information Technology/Information Systems departments at Makerere University, Uganda, University of Nairobi, Kenya, and University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and the department of Information Systems at Karlstad University, Sweden, will be compared and discussed.

A site visit to Makerere University, by researchers from KAU was conducted in December 2013 by researchers from Informatics, Prima Gustiené, Monika Magnusson, and Peter Bellström.

Virtual studio for crisis training

The application for a pre-study for a “Virtual studio for crisis training” was awarded a Vinnova grant (within the FRÖN programme). This project is being hosted by LänsstyrelsenVärmland, and Monika Magnusson who is the HumanIT coordinator for its ICT4 Crisis Communicationprogramme manages the project. Researchers from KAU specifically HumanIT and CCS will perform the work with the Interactive Institute (Karlstad) and Risk and Crisis Research Center at Mid Sweden University. The project will run from 1 November 2013 to 31 May 2014.

mEmpowerment - Mobile communication for empowering women and girls

This research proposal revolves around the notion of mEmpowerment; analysing to what extent mobile communication contributes to the empowerment of women and girls. Mobile communication has grown at an exponential rate in developing countries, clearly emerging as the more accessible and popular device within the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). The mobile phone is emerging as a critical tool for development, evidenced by the numerous applications and platforms being developed on a regular basis. While access to mobile devices is still an important obstacle, there is no doubt that the proliferation of mobile telephony has opened up a range of possibilities and new avenues for development and empowerment.

The research will be carried out by Jakob Svensson and Caroline Wamala and a field visit to Uganda will be organized in the autumn of 2014.

Doctoral Research at HumanIT

HumanIT doctoral candidates Ilkin Mehrabov and Frank van Geelkerken held doctoral seminars during the year. Ilkin presented his doctoral proposal in April 2013, and Frank in May 2013 with examiners/disccusants. During the year Ilkin also attended four international conferences providing him the opportunity to share his research with other scholars. Ilkin also carried out teaching during the year, and also has a peer reviewed journal publication that can be seen at the end of this document with other publications from the centre. Frank is doing his PhD in Law and ICT and Ilkin in Media and Communication.

Florencia Enghel, doctoral candidate in media and communication held her 60% seminar in August 2013 on “A qualitative study of video letters.” Dr. Alexandra Segerberg, senior lecturer at Stockholm University, was Florencia's opponent during the seminar. Florencia contributed a chapter to an edited volume with Karin G. Wilkins, Joseph D Straubhaar & Shanti Kumar published by Springer. Her chapter in this publication is included in the publications list at the end of this document.

Paola Sartoretto, doctoral candidate also affiliated to HumanIT, carried out field work in Brazil in 2013. Paola’s research in Media and Communication and her research focus is on the communicative processes and media practices in the rural workers movement in Brazil.

Julio Angulo, Ph.D. Candidate in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), attended the 15th International Conference HCI International Las Vegas Nevada USA June 2013. His contribution Profiles: prototyping an online information segregation service, was published by Springer, edited by M. Kurosu, 2013.

Collaboration and Conferences

M4D2014 Conference

During 2013 HumanIT has worked to prepare for the 4th International Conference on Mobile Communications for Development (M4D2014). The conference will take place the 8th - 9th of April 2014 in Dakar, Senegal. UniversitéCheick Anta Diop de Dakar will be the main organizer with HumanIT acting as a co-organizer. See the conference webpage for more information. Along with the website and call for papers sent via email, flyers have been printed to be distributed at conferences to encourage participation in April 2014. The first call for papers had as a due date 1 October 2013. An extended deadline to 1 December 2013 was granted to encourage and accommodate more submissions from West African Institutions that were on Academic term breaks. By 1 December the number of paper submissions received was over 70, including workshops, panels and posters and demos.

The conference will be preceded by a doctoral workshop 7th April 2014, which will provide an avenue for doctoral candidates who are doing their research in M4D with mentorship opportunities by senior researchers, Prof Laura Stark from University of Jyväskylä, Prof Rich Ling from IT university of Copenhagen, and Dr Jonathan Donner from Microsoft.

ICT4Democracy Summer School

Jakob Svensson and Dr Vikas Kumar following M4D2012 conference that was hosted by School for Education and Research Development in New Delhi, begun discussions around a summer school in the area of ICT use in democracy. To facilitate this process, Jakob successfully applied for funding from STINT. This grant was used for the travel and accommodation of the principle summer school organisers to have a pre-workshop meeting at the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna in December 2013. The remainder of the funding will also facilitate the travel and accommodation expenses for the organisers from Sweden, Switzerland and Austria.

The meeting in December took place in Vienna, and helped shape the agenda and schedule for the summer school. The keynotes and lectures were also finalized during this two day meeting.

Over 20 participants from developing regions in the global south, as well as others in Europe submitted papers for the summer school. These participants are at masters and PhD levels of education. Each paper was reviewed by two members of the organizing committee. The successful candidates were contacted and participants from the developing regions expressed a need for funding assistance to participate in the summer school.

Crowd funding for summer school participants

While in Vienna the organisers set up a crowd funding page with Indigogo with a clear message that the funds collected would go towards sponsoring the participants from developing countries. This page run until February 9, 2014 with a target collection set at 6500 USD. At the close of the campaign the amount collected was 1205 USD and this amount will go towards providing meals for the summer school participants.

HumanIT Collaborating with The Hague University of Applied Sciences

The Academy for European Studies and Communication management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences, has as its mission the goal to “provide students with the broadest professional, academic and personal experience of the world during their time” at the Institution. The idea is to “equip them with the necessary tools to be able to operate successfully in the global community dealing with the emerging issues of the 21st Century world”[1]. In their third year, students in teams of 5 or 6 students carry out assignments provided by “internationally oriented companies and institutions, the idea being to provide students with practical insight in contemporary themes”. As part of the “Europe 21” project within this course, Jakob Svensson designed the assignment "Europe for a Democratic and Empowered Africa" - Evaluating development initiatives on mobile phones for participation and empowerment in Africa for governmental European aid agencies. Jakob and Caroline were the assignment providers and the student groups were required to submit reports and present their assignments on the 19th December 2013 to Svensson and Wamala and external Jurors. This process also required remote supervision provided by Svensson and Wamala.

Conferences Attended in 2013

During the year, international presence at conferences enlarged HumanITcentre’s visibility.

  1. Mobile telephony in the Developing World University of Jyväskylä, Finland May 2013

Jakob and Caroline present a research paper on development of M4D

  1. ACSIS Conference: On the Move, Norrköping, 11-13 May 2013. Paper by Prof Jansson, André, in media and Communication studies. Paper titled: Media in Close Relationships: A Quantitative Study Focusing on Mobile Lifestyles
  1. The 2013 ECREA Digital Culture and Communication Conference – University of Bonn, Germay, October 2013. The conference theme was “Digital culture, promises and discomforts”. Jakob presented the research proposal submitted to Vetenskapsrådet in April, titled “financial inclusion or social exclusion? Transacting social relations through mobile money in Uganda”. Jakob was also invited as a key note speaker where he had the opportunity to give a presentation titled “New media for development”.
  1. ACSIS 2013: "On The Move", ACSIS (Advanced Cultural Studies Institute of Sweden), 11-13 June 2013, Norrköping, SWEDEN. 11.06.2013, Paper Presentation by Ilkin Mehrabov: "Moving Forward the Concept: Critical reflections on universality of music perception".
  1. ICA 2013: "Challenging Communication Research", ICA (International Communication Association), 17-21 June 2013, London, UK. Paper presentation by PhD Candidate Ilkin Mehrabov: "Challenging the Intersections of Media and Communication Research: Terra Incognita of Surveillance Studies".
  1. IAMCR 2013: "Crises, ‘Creative Destruction’ and the Global Power and Communication Orders", IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research), 25-29 June 2013, Dublin, IRELAND. Paper Presentation by Ilkin Mehrobov (with Miyase Christensen): "Mediatization, Migration and Home-Making: Ontological and Material Dimensions". Title of Paper Presentation: "Re-appropriating the Means of Production and Distribution: DIY, Copyleft, and ‘Alternative’ Music".
  1. 15th International Conference HCI International Las Vegas Nevada USA June 2013, Julio Angulo, PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction.
  1. International Communication Association, 17-21 June 2013 at the Hilton London Metropole, London, UK with Karlsson, Michael, Associate professor in Media and Communication. Paper titled: Content analysis is dead, long live content analysis?
  1. 9th Swedish National Computer Networking Workshop, Lund, June 3-4, 2013, with Alfredsson, Stefan from Fakultetenförhälsa, natur- ochteknikvetenskap (from 2013), Institutionenförmatematikochdatavetenskap) (Distributed Systems and Communication Research Group. Paper titled: Observations of Bufferbloat in Swedish Cellular Networks. Co-authored by: Del Giudice, Giacomo; Garcia, Johan; Brunstrom, Anna; De Cicco, Luca; Mascolo, Saverio.
  1. IEEE International Symposium on a World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks, 4-7 June 2013, Madrid – Spain with Alfredsson, Stefan from Fakultetenförhälsa, natur- ochteknikvetenskap (from 2013), Institutionenförmatematikochdatavetenskap) (Distributed Systems and Communication Research Group. Paper titled: Impact of TCP Congestion Control on Bufferbloat in Cellular Networks. Co-authored by: Del Giudice, Giacomo; Garcia, Johan; Brunstrom, Anna; De Cicco, Luca; Mascolo, Saverio
  1. Future Network & Mobile Summit Lisabon 3-5 July 2013 with Rajiullah, Mohammad, Doctoral candidate with Institutionenförmatematikochdatavetenskap, Paper titled: Reducing Internet Transport Latency for Thin Streams and Short Flows. Co-authored by: Brunström, Anna and Petlund, Andreas
  1. 2013 IEEE 24th International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications(PIMRC): Mobile and Wireless Networks, Klockar, Annika from Fakultetenförekonomi, kommunikationoch IT, Avdelningenfördatavetenskap paper titled: Utility as a User Selection Criterion for Coordinated Multi-Point Systems. Co-authored by: Botella, Carmen; Sternad, Mikael; Brunstrom, Anna; Svensson, Tommy.
  1. Nordmedia 8-11 Augusti 2013, Oslo; Clerwall, Christer, paper titled: Who wrote this? Users' perception of software-generated content in online news
  1. Nordmedia13 Oslo 8-11 August, with Holt, Kristoffer (Linnéuniversitetet), Karlsson, Michael. Paper titled: How are citizen journalists telling news? The Swedish case
  1. Nordmedia13 Oslo 8-11 augusti, with Karlsson, Michael. Paper titled: Getting softer or harder?: A longitudinal study of news topics in tabloid, quality and local newspaper websites in U.K. and Sweden.
  2. Aboagora Symposium 2013: The Human Machine, Turku, 13-15 August 2013.

With Jansson, André, Professor in Media and Communication. Paper titled: Reflections on Social Media: Invited panel presentation at the Symposium: The Human Machine