Download IGOPnet brochureIGOPnet is the area of Internet, politics and commons / social innovation of the Institute of government and public policies (IGOP) of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

About UAB – Autonomous University of Barcelona

The Autonomous University of Barcelona also known as UAB is a public university mostly located in Cerdanyola del Vallès, near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. The UAB is a pioneering institution in terms of fostering research. The UAB is considered to be the best University in Spain by the 2012 QS World University Rankings.

About IGOP – Institute of government and public policies

The Institute of Government and Public Policies (IGOP) is an interdisciplinary research institute. It draws together political scientists and sociologists, but also researchers coming from other disciplines within social sciences, such as geographers, economists, anthropologists, jurists and environmentalists. The IGOP has a remarkable record in projects of basic and applied research on government and public policies.

About IGOPnet action research: Internet, Social Innovation, Politics & Commons

Keywords: Internet & politics; public policies; Common-based peer production; Social innovation; Online communities; Political participation; Digital methods; Social movements (Global Justice Movement & Free culture movement; Indignados/15M mobilization).

Research lines:

  • Changes associated to the adoption of ICTs in public policy and the dynamic of interaction among political actors.
  • New areas of public policy, conflict and social mobilization: Regulation on ICTs and the conditions of access and reuse of information and knowledge.
  • Social change: New digital generations (from youth digital cultures to active aging and ICTs).
  • Emergence of the digital social economy and common-based peer production.

Methodological Approach: Commitment to rigour, innovation & open access

  • Quan(li)tative triangulation
  • Experimenting with online/virtual methods
  • Action-participation
  • Open access

Strategic guidelines

i) Combining political commitment and innovation with rigor in research.

ii) Multidisciplinary: Backgrounds on political science, anthropology, philosophy, economy & arts. Partnerships with computer science departments.

iii) Multimethods. Methods triangulation combining qualitative and quantitative methods, experimenting with online/virtual methods, and action participation.

iv) Glocal: Local and international partnerships (such as Berkman center for Internet & Society (Harvard University) and MIT Civic Media).

v) Self-reflective: Put into practice the results of research and experiment with the organization of the research. Directions:
High importance of communication in the research (“Release soon & frequently”)
Open publication (open access) & deliver research data (open data)
Organizational Transparency

vi) Networking with frontier experiences in creating open knowledge. Collaborations with Wikimedia Foundation and Open Knowledge Foundation.

vii) Gender analysis incorporated transversally in the research


In a context characterized by a political and economic crisis, ecological and geopolitical restructuring, and technological innovation, approaches to the Internet which initially characterized the debate in the field of Internet and policies and saw the Internet as a “remedy” or new technological “instrument” that would strengthen the processes of public policies are extremely limited. Distancing ourselves from this vision, we consider that the changes linked to the adoption of ICTs are of such depth that they reconfigure the organization of collective action, as well as the equilibrium of power between agents (State, market and Civil society). The current situation cannot be characterized as a mere renewal of the same “instruments” (i.e. from voting to e-voting) or a regular conjectural crisis of the system, but should instead be viewed as a transition between systems or a change of era that seems more visible when we expand our analysis from traditional political actors to civil society (by hernandez at dh online). It seems that the Internet has favored greater changes in the surroundings of political institutions – in the composition of society and the organization and mobilization of civil society – than in the political institutions themselves. In this regard, civil society seems growing in importance as a mode of management and production of public resources – the commons – in contrast to the state or market, thus breaking the traditional dichotomy of state or market as a mode of organization.


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