The Open Crowd-Sourced, Online Digital Review of Asia Pacific (e-DIRAP): The remaking of DIRAP

grouppictureAlmost a decade of publishing as a paper-cum-CDROM-cum online work, the Digital Review of Asia Pacific (DIRAP) is remaking itself into a crowd-sourced online publishing endeavor. The new e-DIRAP is seeking the collaboration of netizens in an open, participatory manner, to sustain its mission of reviewing, analyzing, forecasting and reporting on ICT and development issues.

DIRAP has been a biennial comprehensive review of the state of diffusion, adoption and application of ICTs in 30 economies of the Asia Pacific region. The print publication model has been expensive and time-consuming to produce, and providing current ICT data such as country statistics has been a characteristic weakness, given the lengthy print preparation cycle causing the timeliness to fall behind.

The Editorial Board of DIRAP has felt the need to develop a more viable mode of producing and publishing and will test the open access, crowd-sourced model. This model is defined by the concepts of shared ownership, collaborative methods, transparency, lower cost, and essentially – a distributed “do-it-ourselves” approach. It reflects the Board’s attempt to engage the public to contribute many voices to the making of DIRAP rather than identifying and commissioning known ICT academics and practitioners. Theoretically, crowd-sourced DIRAP should be inexpensive to maintain. A crowd-sourced e-DIRAP would foster an online community of those interested in ICT and Society issues. E-DIRAP is envisaged as an on-going public work and the development of a network is a goal of the project.

An iterative approach of testing and experimentation will be applied in the transformation of DIRAP from a print to an on-going online publication. It will be a case study that provides operational principles for similar online, crowd-sourced publishing “public good” contexts.If successful, this open, collaborative, crowd-sourced model of online production and publication could be expanded to cover Latin America and Africa.

The e-DIRAP Board members met in Shanghai in the first week of August this year. Their discussions were focused on the design for adopting a people-centric approach and having a social platform that incorporates co-creation of content. The collaborative platform will tag and cross-link existing valuable content, and the Board will be addressing issues of creative commons rights with its more than current 100 authors. Evaluation is underway for the most suitable platform and platform development will soon commence with an expected launch date of November, 2011.