For many years, the Workshop has facilitated the establishment of self-organized working groups. Topics covered vary from year to year. Most groups are mechanisms enabling people who share common interests to discuss their current research and benefit from each other’s commentary and criticism.
Some groups are focused on a particular research question and have resulted in a published paper, a research design, a research proposal, or some other joint product.
In the past we have had working groups on:
History and Philosophy of Science Reading Group
Interdisciplinary Multi-method Research
Program in Institutional Analysis for Social-Ecological Systems (PIASES); Integrating Ecological Perspectives with the Social-Ecological Systems Framework (SES) and
A dissertation Research Group
If you have suggestions for a new working group, contact Assistant Director Emily Castle.
Many writers, artists, and designers look and listen to prior works for inspiration. Under the law, the crucial inquiry is whether the source of the inspiration has been transformed sufficiently so that the new design can be considered “original” rather than “derived.” This Data Management and Information Governance Working Group will examine artistic expression in the digital world, with an eye toward the use of the Ostrom Frameworks.
The Working Group will be conducted both in person at the Ostrom Workshop on the IU Bloomington campus and online via Zoom. The Group will be an interactive one, with participants expected to be active in the group’s agenda creation and monthly activities.
The Working Group is co-hosted by Jaime Carini, Adam Smith Fellow at the Mercatus Center and a doctoral student in Musicology and Organ Performance & Literature at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. Contact Jaime for more information.
Even though Bitcoin gets most of the press, the underlying tech, blockchain, is the bigger story; simply put, according to Goldman Sachs, it could “change ‘everything.’”
Indeed, the tech is sometimes billed as a panacea—from making businesses more efficient to engendering the growth of “smart” contracts and even securing medical devices, blockchain is now being investigated by a huge range of organizations and is attracting billions in venture funding. Interest is widespread, with organizations ranging from DARPA to Disney investing in blockchain. Wal-Mart is similarly deploying it to help manage its massive supply chain.
Countries are even getting into the game, from launching their own cryptocurrencies like Venezuela’s Petro, to Honduras and Greece using blockchain to aid in land registries, to its use in secure voting. But, as with every new innovation, there are both opportunities and drawbacks to consider.
The Ostrom Workshop is taking on the challenge of blockchain governance with a new collaborative initiative—the Blockchain Governance Initiative (BGI)—that will be a partnership between our Cybersecurity and Data Governance Programs.
To join our working group, and learn more about blockchain research going on around IU, please sign up for our dedicated blockchain mailing list.
The Climate Governance working group is a forum to discuss research, curricular, and policy initiatives at IU that are related to climate governance. We hope to bring people together around the topic of climate governance, and through a round table and follow on conversations, to facilitate smaller, more focused working groups to build out specific collaborative projects.
According to Forbes, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is created every day. While it is almost incomprehensible to quantify the colossal amounts of data being used on a daily basis, how exactly that data is purposed and where it is being transferred to are questions that rise ethical concerns.
In addition to Big Data, the technological landscape is changing as the progression of the Internet of Things (IoT) extends far beyond personal devices of the average user. By the year 2020 alone, more than 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be deployed, according to analyst firm Gartner. As these technologies advance, large portions of consumer data collection will increase and with the adoption of machine learning integrated with enterprise technology, the right of privacy also continues to diminish.
Transparency is critical to the ethical use of technology in a digital society. Influences on the security of emerging innovations, along with the unintended consequences that are brought along with the advancements of technology will need to be examined through a multidisciplinary lens if we hope to preserve transparency with the ethical uses of our day-to-day technologies.
The Cyber Ethics and Technology Society (CETS) is a new, collaborative initiative that bridges together academic disciplines to foster multidisciplinary dialogue on how the advancements of technology affect society and how we can establish ethical governance of technology as it rapidly progresses. We have established a partnership between our Cybersecurity and Data Governance programs.
We encourage student involvement and will be organizing career panels beneficial to the professional development of IU students. We envision future partnerships between the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering (SICE), Kelley School of Business, Maurer School of Law, and Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research (CACR).
To join our working group, and learn more about our ongoing research, please sign up for our dedicated CETS mailing list.
In many ways, cyber insecurity has never been more pronounced. Hackers have launched attacks on cities such as Atlanta, probed the U.S. power grid, and even tried to compromise our democratic system. Research firm Cybersecurity Ventures projects that global losses from cybercrimes could well hit $6 trillion a year by 2021, while Gartner Inc. forecasts that worldwide spending on cybersecurity will exceed $124 billion in 2019.
But instead of more handwringing or new software patches, what is needed is a new, more proactive approach to cybersecurity that addresses concrete vulnerabilities, helps us better understand how the cyber threat is developing, and strengthen global public- and private-sector defenses to more effectively manage cyber attacks and secure some measure of cyber peace. Yet, to date, there have been relatively few efforts aimed at defining and understanding the goal of "cyber peace."
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency specializing in information and communication technologies, pioneered some of the early work in the field, as did the World Federation of Scientists and the Vatican, but too often cyber peace is viewed as a negative, e.g., the end of cyberattacks. Although certainly desirable, such an outcome is politically and technically unlikely, at least in the near term. Instead, what might a positive cyber peace look like, and how might we get there? At the end of the day, what is the best we can hope for in terms of "peace" on the internet?
Building from the Cyber Peace Alliance that the Ostrom Workshop Cybersecurity and Internet Governance Program built with nonprofit foundations, including the Cyber Peace Foundation, we are formalizing a Cyber Peace Working Group to help advance the field.
If you have an interest in peacebuilding both online and offline and are interested in getting involved in this effort, please do so by signing up.
Public Health is responsible for doubling lifespans in the 20th century because it focused attention on a simple question: why do people die? Of course, it’s more complex than that, involves addressing the reasons, and more. Complementing medicine’s attention to individual health with attention to the health of a population has been tremendously powerful.
Today’s work in cybersecurity often focuses on an individual (either an individual human or an individual enterprise.) We believe there is a tremendous possibility in the frame, and that a diverse and broad community will have a tremendous impact.
*APPLYING PUBLIC HEALTH THINKING TO CYBERSECURITY *
Adopting a public health-style perspective that embraces data-driven investigation, population thinking, and preventative approaches to shared risks would be transformative for the practice of cybersecurity. Experts could systematically test associations between risk factors and cyber threats, measure and compare the effectiveness of interventions, and adopt preventative measures that reduce both local and systemic risks to make the internet more secure and resilient for all.
*THE PATH TOWARD A SCIENCE OF CYBER PUBLIC HEALTH*
We are mobilizing a global community of experts, business leaders, and policymakers to work together on proposals to unlock other critical datasets and establish standards for the collection and reporting of key Data.
One element of this is that we hope to see a cyber public health lab at a major university by 2030.
Establishing a science of Cyber Public Health will require overcoming some significant challenges. The biggest challenge is data. We need to build the foundations of Cyber Public Health on vast quantities of high-quality data, but we have precious little of it. Arguably, Florence Nightingale and John Smith had access to more relevant, large-scale data than cybersecurity professionals today.
The second big challenge is building the infrastructure and institutions to support a mature practice of Cyber Public Health. For example, today’s public health infrastructure includes institutions at every level of government, international NGOs, academic institutions, and private organizations that play a role.
This is another area where coordination and collaboration among businesses, NGOs, academic institutions, and governments will be critical to navigating a path forward. The challenges are significant, but the opportunities are immense. Please join the initiative to make the science of Cyber Public Health. Monthly discussions are scheduled for the fourth Thursday of the month.
Equity and justice are increasingly prevalent themes in political, economic, and social discussions about energy and the environment.
As the United States and other nations pursue governance around pollution, climate change, and natural resources, it is an opportune time to explore the variety of theoretical, empirical, and practical approaches scholars are taking to explore the intersection of these issues.
This working group brings scholars of multiple disciplines together to pursue research on questions of equity, access to environmental services, protection from environmental degradation and energy insecurity, and the distributive effects of governance of energy resources and the environment.
Understanding the design of institutions that govern individual and collective behavior is of enduring interest to scholars across disciplines. Ultimately, to develop theoretically and practically meaningful assessments of institutional designs, robust approaches for characterizing them are needed. Robust approaches are those that reliably and validly capture features of institutional design, are generalizable across institutional domains, and are theoretically and methodologically versatile. One such approach is the Institutional Grammar, the focus of the Institutional Grammar Working Group.
The Institutional Grammar Working Group convenes scholars from around the world who are interested in the study and practice of institutional analysis leveraging the Institutional Grammar. Working Group members are using the Institutional Grammar in their empirically and/or theoretically motivated research, and are thus interested in its theoretical and methodological advancement.
The Working Group hosts monthly open, online seminars during which Working Group members share their research, deliberate on various Institutional Grammar discussion topics, and occasionally offer tutorials on using the Institutional Grammar.
The Working Group is co-hosted by Edella Schlager, Professor and Director of the School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona, and Saba Siddiki, Associate Professor in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
The Working Group’s mission is aligned with that of the Institutional Grammar Research Initiative (IGRI) which engages scholars pursuing research relating to one or more of the following themes.
The Polycentricity Working Group welcomes any and all students and scholars who are either research active, or are interested in learning more about polycentric governance, the Ostrom Design Principles, and the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD), Social-Ecological Systems (SES), and Governing Knowledge Commons (GKC) Frameworks. The Ostrom Workshop community has historically been at the forefront of this work, and through this effort we seek to spread awareness of the Bloomington School and continue pushing the frontiers of multi-disciplinary governance research.
If you have an interest in polycentricity and want to get involved, please email Dan Cole.
The Pandemics working group analyzes aspects of governance and political economy during pandemics.
Pandemics are not only biological events. They generate impacts that are worth understanding from a broad societal, political, and economic perspective. This requires focusing on the big picture and on fundamental questions. Central features of our global society such as connectivity, mobility, and social interactions render the world more vulnerable to the challenge of pandemic diseases.
Pandemics increase the general problem of scarcity that always exists in society. For every decision made, opportunity costs must be considered in order to reduce total damage for society. Awareness of a secondary non-biological crises arising from the side effects of pandemic reactions need to be raised at the same time.
Questions that can be explored within the working group are, among others: Why are some countries/region handling the crisis better than others? What is the role of political and economic institutions for crisis management? How can resources be effectively mobilized? What are the lessons for the future?
Specific Research Ideas Related to the Pandemic and Addressed by the Working Groups (non-exhaustive list)
What type of institutions should be built to deal with a pandemic?
What is the relevance of the separation of powers and “checks and balances”?
How do and how should we deal with emergencies that may require temporary concentration of power?
The political economy of rational behavior versus panic during crisis.
Macroeconomic and general equilibrium aspects related to redistributive politics.
The economics and politics of government debt: Who is buying government bonds to pay for stimulus programs?
Enforcement and cooperation mechanisms during pandemics: Lockdowns, trust, immunity certificates.
Global and local commons are central to the intersecting challenges of climate change, sustainability, and resource degradation. While this has always been the case, questions of inequality and justice have gained greater significance in the present moment, in which the fate of global and local commons is tied together more strongly than ever before.
For example, powerful actors seek to use local forest commons as sites for global restoration efforts or international carbon offset projects that are meant to stop the deterioration of global atmospheric commons. At the same time, because of the widespread reckoning with questions of justice and equity both global and local commons present new opportunities for justice-centered resource stewardship.
The Ostrom Workshop Working Group on “Power, Inequality and Justice in the Commons” builds on the workshop tradition of institutional analysis to develop novel analytical approaches for a deeper understanding of issues of power, inequality, and justice in the commons.
To do so, we engage with a plurality of theoretical and methodological approaches, including classical institutional analysis of the commons and interdisciplinary fields such as political economy, political ecology, agrarian studies, critical theory, development studies, and urban studies.
This working group will act as a hub of brainstorming, researching, and writing that both advances our knowledge and is relevant for policy-making, and citizen actions. It aims to build stronger bridges between the Ostrom Workshop and the members of International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC). We welcome early- and late- career scholars, scholar-activists, and other researchers to join us in this exciting new endeavor.
The possibility of harvesting valuable minerals from the seabed has produced one of the most elaborate and ambitious international attempts to manage a common space. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, negotiated during the 1970s, built a legal framework for the International Seabed Authority as an instrument to manage the resources of the deep seabed. In the 1990s, the ISA began operations and it is now a fully functioning international organization with a multinational staff.
In the last few years, the work of the ISA has accelerated in several respects. It has adopted regulations for seabed exploration and is developing additional regulations for commercial exploitation. Yet important questions have emerged about whether the ISA’s structure and working procedures are adequate for the effective regulation of commercial mining. Attention to the potential environmental consequences of seabed mining have been particularly salient.
The Working Group plans periodic meetings with scholars and practitioners from around the world related to seabed mining and the work of the ISA in particular. The Group seeks to contribute to policy discussions related to the ISA’s performance while also bringing the organization’s work into dialogue with the broader scholarly work on governing common spaces. The Group welcomes members and discussions employing the Ostroms’ work and other theories derived from a variety of disciplines.
This working group is co-sponsored by the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies.
The Ostroms’ work has been adapted to a wide range of sectors and disciplines, from fisheries and forests to climate change and, more recently, to the final frontier. There is a growing literature on applying polycentric principles to space governance, and more broadly addressing collective action problems including orbital debris and space weaponization. Nevertheless, the Working Group hosts discussions employing other theories to space governance.
The Working Group holds monthly meetings of space law & governance with scholars and professionals from around the world sharing their research and ideas. The Group welcomes members and discussions employing the Ostroms’ work and other theories, of various disciplines, to space governance.
Water governance had a special place in Elinor Ostrom’s research. This working group aims to continue that research agenda, considering new challenges posed by climate, global socio-economic changes, and different property arrangements on water. From interdisciplinary perspectives, employing field studies and other empirical and theoretical approaches, we explore collective action around different water uses, such as food production, livelihood, and industry.
The working group holds monthly online meetings and aims to bring together scholars and professionals around water governance.
The working group is co-hosted by: Bryan Bruns Maija Halonen-Akatwijuka Anahi Ocampo Lavanya Suresh