[Air-L] CFP: Workshop on Information Policy and Data

Andrea Tapia atapia at ist.psu.edu
Tue Mar 24 06:10:35 PDT 2009

Call for Paper Proposals
Beyond Broadband Access: Data-Based Information Policy For a New

This is a Call for Proposals (Abstracts) for papers for a three day
by-invitation Experts Workshop on approaches to developing data-based
information policy. The deliverables are expected to be policy
recommendations, a book and a new research agenda. Abstracts are due by
April 15, 2009. 

Scope and Overview 

The stimulus bill just passed by the United States Congress and signed into
law by President Obama allocates $7.2 billion to loan and grant programs for
the deployment of broadband. Most recently the governments of Finland,
Sweden, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom have committed more
spectrum to wireless broadband services, However, it is widely acknowledged
that in order to fully realize the potential of broadband for the promotion
of social progress, economic development and democracy, mere access is not
enough. Technology, applications, education, awareness, skills, and content
are among many factors that are to be taken into account. Understanding the
interplay of all these factors is essential in order to take information
policy to the next level. However, this demands both firm empirical and
theoretical foundations.

This Workshop is intended to propose a strategy for developing such a
foundation ­ a comprehensive, data-based approach for understanding policy
consequences and improving policy outcomes through the utilization of
meaningful empirical analyses, statistical methods, and the development of
new conceptual frameworks. The Workshop will assemble a small group of
highly skilled experts to seek breakthrough insights, which can be applied
to current policy challenges.

Important policy decisions are being made worldwide about information
services that promote innovation, knowledge development, social equity and
democratic values. These decisions can be improved if informed by empirical
data that will assist decision makers in understanding the likely
consequences of their policies.

Many numbers are thrown around in the global information policy discourse
regarding matters such as ³e- readiness², the ³digital divide², and the
³information society². What do these numbers actually mean? Are they the
numbers that matter? Are they loaded for or against certain outcomes? Can
the underlying methods and data be transformed into truly useful policy
tools? Most of the existing approaches to measurements that affect
information policy produce results which are descriptive and comparative
(e.g., which nation has more Internet access), which are only useful up to a
point. Clearly, what is needed are approaches which are explanatory and
predictive, that help understand not only what has happened but also why,
and to assist in making predictions about what will happen. This presents
significant methodological challenges that must first be guided by theory,
and in this field, theory is remarkably lacking.


The Workshop will bring together a group of about twenty experts on
information metrology from around the world. They will meet for three days
in Washington, D.C., where, during morning and afternoon sessions, they will
make presentations, share research, hear guest experts, discuss concrete
approaches and new theories, identify problems and challenges, and develop
conclusions and a future research agenda. Each participant will write and
present an original paper to the group, which will then be the subject of
questions and discussion, followed by a final Workshop summary session.
Participants will be selected based on their abstracts and their identified
ability to make a significant contribution based on their expertise or

Date and Location 

DATE: September 22-24, 2009
PLACE: The New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036


Proposals should be based on current theoretical or empirical research, and
may be from any disciplinary perspective. Subject areas of interest include,
but are not limited to the following:

Theory: Specification of objectives; development of theoretical models;
identification of testable hypotheses; selection of appropriate
methodologies for analysis.

Data: Identification of key indicators; development of consistent data
standards; data collection and verification; data access.

Modeling: Development of empirical models; dealing with institutional
diversity and complexity; coping with dynamic technological change.
Multidimensional visual modeling of large bodies of data.

Application: Formulating answerable questions; Making predictions about
outcomes; Analyzing relevant data; Using outcomes to refine theory and

Policy Development: Organization of statistical resources; conversion of
results of statistical analysis into policy guidance; incorporation of
results in shaping policy or legislation; political use of findings.

Submission Deadline

Submissions are due by April 15, 2009. Submissions should be made to
expwkshopDBIP2009 at psu.edu. Abstracts are not to exceed 500 words. Abstracts
should be accompanied by a brief biographical description of the author(s)
(no more than two pages). Decisions will be announced by May 29, 2009.

Accepted papers will be due on Sept. 1, 2009, and authors are
expected to present the accepted submissions.

Support Funds

Final funding plans are still being developed, but it is expected that some
funding will be available to help offset the costs of attendance for
accepted papers, with a priority given to international participants.

Program Organizers 
! Johannes Bauer, Ph.D., Professor, Telecommunication, Information Studies,
and Media, Co- 
Director, Quello Center for Telecommunication Management & Law, MSU
! Sascha Meinrath, Research Director, Wireless Future Program, New America
! Jorge R. Schement, Ph.D., Dean, School of Communication, Information and
Library Science, 
RU (http://www.scils.rutgers.edu/directory/jschemen/index.html)
! Richard Taylor, J.D., Ed.D., Palmer Chair and Professor of
Telecommunications Studies, Co-
Director, Institute for Information Policy (http://comm.psu.edu/people/rdt4)
! Bin Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, School of Economics and Management, Beijing
University of Posts
and Telecommunications (http://www.intramis.net/?q=node/4)

For information or questions, contact: Richard Taylor at rdt4 at psu.edu

More information about the Air-L mailing list