Bridges and Barriers: An Exploration of Engagements of the Research Community with the OpenStreetMap Community
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Paper Review
- Authors’ discipline(s): The list of disciplines of authors of the paper, which explains where the domain(s) authors of the OSM-related paper come from. A total of 7 allowed values were defined (see Table 1) which broadly covered the whole spectrum of research disciplines. For each author, the discipline was directly derived from the affiliation. For example, an affiliation of ‘Department of Environmental Engineering’ was assigned the value ‘engineering’, while in the case of less obvious classifications, the website of the author’s organization/department was also checked. Only one discipline was assigned to each affiliation (i.e., to each author having a single affiliation in the paper) and, in case of two or more authors whose disciplines were classified with the same value, this value was counted only once. Hence, the multiplicity of the attribute is 1:7 (see Table 1);
- Journal’s discipline: The discipline of the journal or conference proceedings where the paper was published, which explains the domain of the publication venue of the OSM-related paper. The same set of 7 allowed values used for the authors’ disciplines was re-used, the only difference being that the multiplicity of this attribute is 1 (see Table 1), i.e., only one discipline is chosen as the one which best characterizes the publication venue. While in some cases the classification was easy (e.g., the ISPRS Journal of Geo-Information is assigned to ‘geo-information’), in other cases it required a check of the aim and scope of the journal or conference;
- Geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation (countries) and Geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation (continents): The list of countries and the list of continents corresponding to the affiliation(s) of all paper authors, respectively. One country and one continent were assigned to each affiliation; countries and continents occurring more than once were counted once. Hence, the multiplicity of these two attributes is 1:n (see Table 1);
- Geographic location(s) of study area(s) (countries) and Geographic location(s) of study area(s) (continents): The list of countries and the list of continents of the study areas in the paper, respectively. The study areas are the areas (usually the cities) where OSM data are used in practice. In the simplest case the values of these attributes are a list of countries and the corresponding list of continents, again considering the same countries and continents only once. However, other cases are possible. If OSM data from the whole world were used, both the attributes were classified as ‘Global’; if OSM data from only one or more continents were used, both the attributes were classified with the list of such continents; finally, in case a paper had no case study (e.g., for review papers or papers which only present a theoretical approach) both the attributes were classified as ‘NA’ (not available);
- Correspondence between geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation and geographic location(s) of study area(s) (countries): The degree of correspondence between the list of countries of the authors’ affiliations and the list of countries of the case studies in the paper. The multiplicity is 1 and there are five possible values: ‘no correspondence’, if there were no common countries in the two lists or if the location of the study areas was classified as ‘Global’ or as one continent or a list of continents; ’partial affiliation/partial location’, if the two lists showed a correspondence of countries for at least one of the authors and at least one of the study areas, but not for all the study areas; ‘partial affiliation/full location’, if the two lists showed a correspondence of countries for all study areas and for at least one of the authors, but not for all the authors; ‘full correspondence’, if the two lists included exactly the same countries; and ‘NA’, if the list of countries and continents of the study areas were previously classified as ‘NA’;
- Topics: The subject and/or type of the paper. A total of 10 allowed values were defined as part of a process in which an initial set of values was refined and validated iteratively using a subset of the papers. These topics together cover the whole spectrum of OSM-related topics, i.e.,: ‘application’, if the paper described a domain-specific application based on OSM data; ‘data quality’, if the paper analyzed OSM quality; ‘contribution behaviors’, if the paper focused on the behavioral patterns/practices of OSM contributors; ‘analyzing contributions’, if the paper analyzed the development of OSM data in a non-data quality context, including the OSM wiki and other elements; ‘contributors’, if the paper studied the epistemologies, motives, intentions, etc. of OSM contributors; ‘shaping contributions’, if the paper offered a tool/approach for assisting or guiding OSM contributions; ‘OSM effects’, if the paper studied how OSM affected other areas (e.g., education); ‘data enrichment’, if the paper described a method for adding OSM data but not via interactions with OSM contributors (e.g., creation of tags instead of suggestions); ‘development’, if the paper presented a software application with a specific relation to OSM (i.e., a tool for analyzing OSM data or for producing OSM-derived products or metrics); and ‘review’, if the paper offered a review of OSM research (including specific OSM-related tools or aspects) and/or introduced the OSM project/community (see Table 1). The multiplicity is 1:10 since more than one value is allowed, e.g., a paper studying OSM quality through the intrinsic analysis of OSM contributions and their categorization based on mapping practices is classified with the values ‘data quality’, ‘contribution behaviors’ and ‘analyzing contributions’;
- Authors’ perspective on the community: The perspective on OSM-C adopted by the authors in the paper. This attribute measures the degree to which authors proved to understand or show the complexity of OSM-C in the paper. The multiplicity is 1 (i.e., only one value is to be chosen) and the allowed values are—in increasing order from the lowest to the highest understanding: ‘OSM as a data source’, if the paper was data-centric and failed to mention OSM contributors (or mentioned them in a one-sentence way); ‘data produced by contributors’, if the paper was data-centric, acknowledging that the data were produced by humans and the related issues without losing focus on the data; ‘a collaborative project based on contributors’, if the paper looked at OSM not just as data but as a project, yet not putting much stress on the contributors themselves; ‘contributors producing data’, if the paper was user-centric, with focus on the data outputs; ‘a unified community’, if the paper was community-centered, identifying the OSM governing and structuring elements, and less focused on the actual data; ‘a diverse community’, if the paper was community-centered, while identifying that OSM is made of multiple communities coming together and interacting; and ‘a social product’, if the paper perceived the entire OSM (data, community, product, project) as a product of social interactions, structures, political relations, etc.;
- Evidence of community engagement: The degree of evidence to which the authors considered or involved OSM-C in the paper. A total of 8 possible values were defined that were not mutually exclusive, i.e., the multiplicity of this attribute is 1:8. The values were: ‘none’, if the paper did not show clear signs of interaction with OSM-C; ‘acknowledgement’, if the paper acknowledged the contribution of OSM-C; ‘meaningful development’, if the paper discussed future plans or possibilities of using the research for the good of OSM-C; ‘occasional development’, if the paper briefly mentioned the possibility of the research to contribute back to OSM-C; ‘object of study-direct’, if the paper studied OSM contributors by direct interactions, e.g., interviews or surveys; ‘object of study—indirect’, if the paper studied OSM contributors by analyzing their contributions; ‘contribution’, if the work described in the paper was undertaken for the good of OSM-C; ‘participation’, if authors explicitly identified themselves as OSM contributors.
- The scope and general objectives of the interviewee’s research (not necessarily their OSM-specific objectives);
- Their definition of OSM and of OSM-C, and the significance of these for their research;
- The extent and nature of their past and current interactions with OSM-C, and the effects of these on their research;
- General knowledge regarding interactions and perspectives with OSM-C and normative views regarding these interactions (e.g., should the mapping community actively suggest research topics, should the interactions change in any way);
- Self-reflection on the topic of interactions and on the prospect of missed opportunities; and,
- Reflections on the future of OSM-C, the future of OSM research, and its contributions to issues relevant to the future of the project.
3.1. Paper Review
3.1.1. Characteristics of Papers
3.1.2. Cross-Category Relations
“I thought that OpenStreetMap, for example, is actually a great data source which could help improve a lot of the mapping algorithms, for example, with specific perspectives.” (Respondent C)
“…my research question was what I felt is needed at that moment, also for the community” (Respondent F)
“I think the research community has to position itself in this larger context of interactions between the community and different groups of users” (Respondent A)
“…we can be there to better, to help data users but also data creators to better understand what is happening… And just we are also kind of an enabler that translates between these worlds” (Respondent E on activity within the research group).
“But, on the other hand, it is always a bit hard to communicate because when you talk about data quality, you always talk about good or bad and you don’t want to say—Okay OSM data quality in your area is of poor quality. So, the thing I’m no more doing is talking about research itself, but I always, if I’m in contact with other people from the OSM community, through GitHub and forums, I tell them more that we have this tool and you can use it for different purposes”
“…I’m oftentimes not sure if this is the right place to share my [domain] research here or is it okay if I just share it on the [organization] mailing list, for example, and maybe it should be just OSM-science mailing list.” (Respondent E)
“I think it’s good to have someone from the community because then… you can discuss directly with someone working in the community but also here, so a person in both sides, so that’s good to also interact directly, to ask questions—how do you think, how would you respond to that in the forum for example. Like, and then you have someone in the group, because, as you said, maybe it’s like this kind of division—we have academics, we have the community, and there’s no proper link and so it’s good to have someone who has the link.” (Respondent F)
“You shouldn’t change the paradigm and say—listen OSMappers, let’s do it like the researchers like you to do, or let’s do it like a certain community of users would like you to do.” (Respondent A)
“There’s a certain boundary people try to interfere with the project… I guess that’s the point where the community would not be so willing because then it would also change the character of the project.” (Respondent C).
“…the value of research in society is that [researchers] identify themselves the relevant research questions and define what is interesting to be researched… researchers should be independent to some extent from the outside” (Respondent A; respondent B also relates to this but on the personal level, see above)
“But oftentimes people say why they don’t want, for example, to be involved in the OpenStreetMap community is because they’re a researcher and they should be unbiased about what they’re doing. And I think that’s oftentimes for me a bit difficult because I’m part of this community, so I know a little bit how it works. So I’m trying not to let it take over…” (Respondent E)
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Authors’ discipline(s)||1:7||computer science, informatics, social sciences, geo-information, engineering, exact sciences, interdisciplinary|
|Journal’s discipline||1||computer science, informatics, social sciences, geo-information, engineering, exact sciences, interdisciplinary|
|Geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation (countries)||1:n||[list of countries]|
|Geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation (continents)||1:n||[list of continents]|
|Geographic location(s) of study area(s) (countries)||1:n||[list of countries], [list of continents], Global, NA|
|Geographic location(s) of study area(s) (continents)||1:n||[list of continents], Global, NA|
|Correspondence between geographic location(s) of authors’ affiliation and geographic location(s) of study area(s) (countries)||1||no correspondence, partial affiliation/partial location, partial affiliation/full location, full correspondence, NA|
|Topic(s)||1:10||application, data quality, contribution behaviors, analyzing contributions, contributors, shaping contributions, OSM effects, data enrichment, development, review|
|Authors’ perspective on OSM-C||1||OSM as a data source, data produced by contributors, a collaborative project based on contributors, contributors producing data, a unified community, a diverse community, a social product|
|Evidence of engagement with OSM-C||1:8||none, acknowledgement, meaningful development, occasional development, object of study—direct, object of study—indirect, contribution, participation|
|Category||Values||Number of Respondents|
|Career stage||Recent MA graduate (still employed at the group)||3|
|Post-doctoral researcher/research associate||2|
|Engagement with OSM-C||More-engaged||3|
|Data enrichment (using OSM to enrich other datasets)||2|
|Developing tools for OSM mappers and users||4|
|Category||Values||Number of papers||% Papers|
|Author’s discipline(s)||computer science||49||24.5%|
|Journal’s discipline||computer science||15||7.5%|
|Author’s location (continent)||Africa||4||2.0%|
|Australia and Oceania||5||2.5%|
|Study area (continent)||Africa||15||7.5%|
|Australia and Oceania||12||6.0%|
|NA (no case study)||23||11.5%|
|Geographical Correspondence||no correspondence||60||30.0%|
|partial affiliation/partial location||27||13.5%|
|partial affiliation/full location||25||12.5%|
|NA (no case study)||23||11.5%|
|Perspective||OSM as a data source||74||37.0%|
|data produced by contributors||57||28.5%|
|a collaborative project||9||4.5%|
|contributors producing data||28||14.0%|
|a unified community||5||2.5%|
|a diverse community||7||3.5%|
|a social product||20||10.0%|
|object of study (direct)||12||6.0%|
|object of study (indirect)||30||15.0%|
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Grinberger, A.Y.; Minghini, M.; Yeboah, G.; Juhász, L.; Mooney, P. Bridges and Barriers: An Exploration of Engagements of the Research Community with the OpenStreetMap Community. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2022, 11, 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11010054
Grinberger AY, Minghini M, Yeboah G, Juhász L, Mooney P. Bridges and Barriers: An Exploration of Engagements of the Research Community with the OpenStreetMap Community. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2022; 11(1):54. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11010054Chicago/Turabian Style
Grinberger, A. Yair, Marco Minghini, Godwin Yeboah, Levente Juhász, and Peter Mooney. 2022. "Bridges and Barriers: An Exploration of Engagements of the Research Community with the OpenStreetMap Community" ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 11, no. 1: 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi11010054