Details of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework
The IAD framework was originally conceived in the 1980s by Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize winner in economics in 2009, to study commons pool resources and their governance by communities without state intervention. The framework has been continually refined by Ostrom and other scholars over the last three decades (Ostrom 1985 and the details of the framework here). Ostrom’s work challenged the conventional wisdom about the need for government regulation of public resources in order to attain sustainability and benefit sharing (Ostrom, 1990, 2005). The IAD framework (see image below) has been applied to a variety of studies on how people collaborate and organize themselves across organizational and state boundaries to manage common resources such as forests and fisheries, which often cross or flow through national boundaries. Of particular relevance is that the framework has also been applied to knowledge as a commons, which also cross-cuts national boundaries, and hence is particularly relevant for our purpose (Hess and Ostrom, 2006; Hess 2006).
Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) Framework (from Ostrom, 2005 -CLICK TO ENLARGE)
This framework is particularly suited for our purpose for a number of added reasons:
i) The framework was originally designed for the analysis of the dynamics of institutions and their formation. This is particularly relevant given how peer production enabled by open networks and open practices is challenging existing practices and institutions and creating new and dynamic commons pool resources that are often “informal” before becoming “institutionalized” or formalized. How OCS initiatives move from informal spaces to formal institutional structures could be an important area for investigation. This is also related to the theme of reward, recognition and incentive structure.
ii) As Hess (2005:3) noted, the IAD is particularly suited for comparative analysis of this question: “How do fallible humans come together, create communities and organizations, and make decisions and rules in order to sustain a resource or achieve a desired outcome?”. Since a key research theme of the network is the formation of a community of open science practitioners in different contexts, the analytical tools provided by IAD may prove to be particularly helpful.
iii) Of notable importance is that the IAD framework pays prominent attention to the actors in their institutional contexts. This is key as some of the current definitions of open science (including ones discussed earlier) and some of the theories of change that have been proposed for openness and development (see Powell et al., 2013) do not take into account the role of the actors and their agency in bringing about different outcomes (Klein, 2010). The enabling mechanisms are often regarded as autonomous agents acting with independent rules that are unchanged. The IAD framework provides guidelines on understanding the rules and norms, both formal and informal, that members of a community observe, reject or modify. This aspect of the framework will be particularly helpful when it comes to looking at the motivation of participation or non-participation in open initiatives, and how openness itself should be seen as a dynamic or situational phenomenon.
iv) The IAD provides a checklist of variables (e.g. actors, norms, institutional settings, research strategies, incentive structures, policies, etc.) that researchers should keep in mind in their research process, while providing a framework that structures the variables into a relational schema. The checklist will aid in the call for concept notes and the screening of case studies for common variables. This will further facilitate the synthesis of lessons from across case studies and the identification of cross-cutting themes in the regular evaluation process.
v) While the broad schema of the IAD framework appears simple, it could get rather complicated when each of the components (e.g. Attributes of the community, Action Situation) are further revealed. This is another strength of the framework as it is highly flexible and allows complexity to be revealed in a step-by-step process.
The full formulation of the conceptual framework for this project follows a similar path, starting with a relatively simple framing based on the four broad themes identified from the two multidisciplinary agenda-setting workshops (see below), and proceeding with refinement of the framework as lessons and insights from the case studies begin to emerge.
At the same time, key lessons, theories, and models from related areas of research, particularly in Open Source Software, ICT4D, Open Data, and Open Innovation are being integrated into the framework to strengthen its theoretical foundation and richness. As such, the framework is a key output of the project, and will have general analytical and explanatory utility that is relevant to cognate programs or fields.