Call for Contributions: Knowledge Infrastructures and Digital Governance. History, Challenges, Practices

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Workshop organised by the OPERAS community from 7 to 9 September 2020 in Belval.



This workshop aims at revisiting digital knowledge infrastructures from an organisational and governance perspective, through their history, their stakes and achievements, as well as their challenges and obstacles. It will to explore how these infrastructures frame themselves, evolve and adapt, how they stimulate participation and implement innovative models of governance (e.g. Wikipedia) as well as how they create a shared culture and common values, how they sustain knowledge commons and may contribute to a new epistemology and scientific environment. 

How to balance the needs to ensure efficiency and reliability with the capacity to be open to new models of governance, including those who have emerged from the digital environment? How to meet the rising needs of players to cooperate on the basis of personal autonomy, flexibility and opportunity, rather than exclusively on hierarchy and formalism? Acting at the interface of several communities, what governance tools, forms and means of action have digital knowledge employed so far and which ones could they further use in order to satisfy their role of intermediaries, mediators and facilitators within complex environments?


Relevant topics may include but are not limited to:

  • History of digital knowledge infrastructures
  • History, evolution and analysis of specific concepts such as accountability in governance, liquid democracy, etc., as well as proposals to go beyond these existing models
  • Critical review of innovative modes of governance in distributed organisations or/and in the digital area
  • Field studies of innovative governance in chosen public and private organisations and their practices 
  • Field studies of innovative governance in creating and maintaining knowledge commons 
  • Critical testimonies on the implementation or experiments with new modes of governance
  • Presentation and analysis of online decision-making tools (wiki, blockchain, e-voting, etc.) 
  • Prospective outlook on the governance of knowledge and research infrastructures 

The workshop will combine formal presentations with more participatory collective brainstorming sessions. It is open to the academic world (digital humanities, history, management and administration sciences, computer science, information and communication sciences, media studies, etc.), to the world of culture, libraries, archives, publishing, but also widely to the players in the free software movement as well as to the private sector (whether participants are confronted with new forms of governance (such as holacracy), suppliers of software solutions related to the challenges of digital governance or involved in the implementation of new modes of governance in their organisations).  

In order to leave time for a variety of exchanges, demonstrations, scientific interventions and experience feedbacks we invite proposals for:

  • 15-minutes presentations 
  • Posters and demos with accompanying 5-minutes lightning talk
  • Tutorials focused on tools, technologies, or practical exercises (from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending of the project)

The workshop will be held in English. All proposals must be written in English and should outline how their contribution advances the understanding of topics related to the conference themes, how it relates to previous work (if applicable), and what impact it may have on our understanding of these challenges.

Proposals for: 

  • Presentations must be submitted as an abstract of 500 words max
  • Posters must be submitted as an abstract between 200 and 300 words
  • Tutorials must be submitted as an abstract of 500 words and include information about coordinator(s), format, target audience, anticipated number of participants, and technical requirements

All proposals should include a title and a short biography of the applicant(s). 


All submissions are due by 20 May 2020. Feedback on acceptance will be given no later than 10 June 2020. 

Send submissions to:


To learn more about OPERAS:


Programme committee : 

  • Janneke Adema (Open Humanities Press, ScholarLed, Coventry University, COPIM) 
  • Suzanne Dumouchel (OPERAS, Huma-Num, CNRS)
  • Pierre Mounier (OPERAS, OpenEdition, EHESS)
  • Valérie Schafer (C2DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Lars Wieneke  (C2DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Sherri Barnes (UCSB Library, COPIM)
  • Cameron Neylon (Centre for Culture and Technology, Curtin University)


Practical Information:

No registration fees. The Conference will provide coffee breaks, lunches and dinners for those who are presenting. Accommodation and travel expenses are the responsibility of the presenters. 

The conference will be held at the University’s Belval Campus. Hotels are available at Esch-sur-Alzette and Esch Belval (Ibis Hotel). Trains departing every 15 minutes from Luxembourg Central Station are also direct to "Belval Université" (app. 30 mns by train).