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First COMMUNIA Workshop: a small big success

First Communia workshop The COMMUNIA workshop in Torino was a small big success. First, in terms of participation: more than 100 attendees from many EU countries, and even someone from overseas, filled up the Politecnico's Aula Magna for the entire day. But it was also a great occasion for sharing ideas and fire up the discussion, with high quality presentations, stimulating comments, and good humour as well.

Here is the download page for the various presentations, papers and slides, while below we put together a short report.

A big thank you to everybody for making this event a success!

In his welcome address, Juan Carlos De Martin pointed out the need to question the neutrality of technology, despite a traditional approach based on the assumption that "a tool is just a tool". Especially with today's mass usage of digital technologies, any scientist "must carefully weight the consequences of his/her ideas or inventions". Even further, is up to the general public to ponder and discuss the effect of technology on our society as a whole.

On the same note, the keynote speech by Rishab Ghosh was mostly focused on the need to protect and foster open standard in the research community worldwide, in embracing the collaborative success of such venues as Wikipedia and the free software movements. "Our technology future - insisted Mr. Ghosh - will be based on collaborative, open projects of such large scale that global policies and regulations will become more flexible to meet the needs of every stakeholder involved."

Many other interesting presentations followed in the topic sessions, addressing different technology and infrastructure matters: From collaborative support for research management (Keith Jeffery) to the network as a commons (Stefano Quintarelli) to the danger of national sovereignty in radio (Robert Horvitz). The bottom line remained an interdisciplinary and broad approach, pushing for the development of the "digital commons" as a general mainframe.

The final wrap-up panelists underlined and relaunched many of the ideas surfaced during the workshop. Starting with the need to work toward a legal, clear, and positive definition for the public domain, in order to better protect and foster it. Also important is the "economic abundance" that the knowledge commons could potentially create, thus unleashing a large, shared wave of innovation worldwide.

We are looking forward to expand and deepen the discussion on such issues in the upcoming COMMUNIA events. And many, many thanks to everybody for making this first workshop a success!

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Presentations, papers and other material related to COMMUNIA events are available in the download page

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