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Whitaker Ideas Forum: Noel Carroll, The Paradox of Open and Closed Software Environments; A Socio-technical Perspective

October 18, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Location: CA110 (SAC Room), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway Galway Ireland

Organised by: Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change, NUI Galway

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The 2017-18 Whitaker Ideas Forum series continues on 18 October with a seminar by Noel Carroll of the Agile and Open Innovation (Lero) research cluster on the topic of ‘The Paradox of Open and Closed Software Environments; A Socio-technical Perspective’.


A growing paradox exists across information systems studies, with pressure to enable more open, collaborative, and creative working environments while simultaneously managing internal operations in a tight and controlled manner. While there is strong evidence to suggest awareness and use of open and closed software practices is rapidly gaining popularity, little is known regarding the practices to put in place to exploit its purported benefits. For example, we can see such opposing perspectives in companies adopting Inner Source software practices. Inner Source sits between the Open Source field (based on ‘open’ principles) and traditional management (largely concerned with internal governance and control).  We argue that neither adequately addresses the dichotomy between open and closed that presents many tensions between the two.

These tensions are particularly important and challenging. However, little is known regarding the inherent complexities and resulting tensions between the open and closed duality. To explore this, Dr Noel Carroll–Research Fellow with Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre at NUI Galway–will discuss Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and the entanglement of Inner Source practices. Dr Carroll will also identify some recommendations toward the resolution of these tensions, and discuss the development of a research agenda to address the gaps. His studies are also serving as a foundation for researchers in other domains outside Inner Source, to apply ANT where both open and closed properties are at play.