30 October 2007

Call for papers: eParticipation Challenges and Opportunities

Call for papers: eParticipation Challenges and Opportunities

A special issue of International Journal of Electronic Business

Governments seek to encourage participation in order to improve the efficiency, acceptance, and legitimacy of political processes. Citizens, non-governmental organisations, businesses, lobbyists, and pressure groups demand participation in order to further their own interests, either within the established political system or outside it through activism and civil disobedience. Participation contributes to deliberation, opinion forming, agenda setting, political decision making, and feedback mechanisms (where these can be thought of as stages of a policy-making cycle). Participation is therefore an important component of all democratic systems, and in some democratic forms (such as direct democracy) it is the central component. Governments and the public sector are making increasing use of information and communication technologies, to foment participatory activities.

eParticipation, therefore, involves the extension and transformation of participation in societal democratic and consultative processes that are mediated by information and communication technologies. It synergistically enhances democratic and the formal political processes through the use of new digital technologies by facilitating, changing, and improving patterns of democratic deliberation and decision-making. This special issue is devoted to further our understanding of the emerging research area of eParticipation.

Papers that address theory and practice of all aspects of eParticipation are invited. Case studies and empirical research are welcome. Contributions will be evaluated on their originality, clarity and relevance. Submissions from all interdisciplinary areas and from people with practical experience in industry or government are encouraged.

The topics include but are not limited to eParticipation research challenges in the following and related areas:

Theoretical accounts of the relationship between technology and participation
- Effect(s) of virtual communities or virtual cities on participation
- Evaluating the effect of ICTs on political participation
- Technologically mediated development of democracy forms
- The role of political parties in online participation and campaigning
- Grassroots campaigning and activism

Governmental and societal challenges
- Prioritizing eParticipation over managerial eGovernment projects
- Extending participation in non-democratic or lesser developed countries
- The extent of citizen involvement in voting and other participatory activities
- The digital divide (improving access and avoiding elite control and inequality)

Socio-technical design of technologies and the participation and governance structures they are embedded in.
- Technology design (e.g. discussion systems)
- Design and management of eParticipation activities (e.g. online debating, eVoting)
- The design of on-line governance, participation in rule-making, transparency
- Computer visualization techniques that facilitate consultation and decision making
- Achieving security and trust (especially in eVoting)

Evaluating eParticipation genres
- Evaluating eParticipation: technologies and activities

Important Dates
Full Paper Submission: 15 February, 2008
Authors Informed of Review Results: 15 May, 2008
Final Paper Submission: 15 June, 2008

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