Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Who are the #hackacad contributors?

If you've missed it, Hacking the Academy (#hackacad) has just finished its 1 week call for content. The project, initiated by Drs. Scheinfeldt and Cohen at the Center for History & New Media at George Mason University, is an attempt to crowdsource enough good content to create a book in a single week.

As I mentioned on Twitter, the project attracted approximately 190 different authors who contributed almost 330 entries. 90 of the entries were written specifically for Hacking the Academy, while the remainder were old posts, videos or presentations that authors felt fit the mandate of the planned book.

The project is now into its second phase: reorganizing the ~330 entries into manageable groups and whittling down the number to something that might be publishable.

I was curious who the contributors were and where they came from, so I went digging.

I was able to tie 133 of the 180 to an institution with the help of Google and all those C.V.s people have on their blogs. I'm sure it's not 100% accurate, but it is probably good enough to give a rough idea. The graph shows the number of posts by institution, including all schools with 4 or more posts (click to see full size):

I probably should have also included group blogs such as University of Venus (14 posts) and Professor Hacker (7 posts). The chart shows the folks at CHNM definitely got on the bandwagon, which is great. But, at least in the first draft, one might suggest the entries are geographically...biased. I guess that's what happens when entrants are self-selected.

Stay tuned for another chart when the final version comes out.


emarsh said...

Great effort. What about independent or unemployed scholars?

Adam Crymble said...

I did come across a few people who declared themselves "independent" but since my only sources for people's affiliations (or lack thereof) came from their email addresses, blogs or personal webpages, I'm sure I have some outdated info.

That would particularly be the case with recently graduated PhD students who maybe havn't updated their "About" page on their blog since finishing. These people likely got lumped in with their last known institution.

Dorothea said...

Four posts or four people?

I believe I contributed four or more all by myself, and yet I don't see University of Wisconsin on the chart. Are my eyes failing? This also is possible.

Adam Crymble said...

Hi Dorothea,

Four posts. I'll probably put together a chart of people per institution later.

And you were amongst the entrants that I wasn't able to tie to a particular institution, which is why your school doesn't show up on the list. I generally didn't look beyond the first page of Google results since there were so many people to get through.

Unknown said...

Adam - this is excellent! Thanks so much for pulling this together. It would be interesting to see where people are writing from geographically. I'm the Exec Director of University of Venus and our submissions came from the US (13), Sweden (1), and Turkey (1). It is also interesting to see that the overwhelming majority of the submissions are single-authored pieces from individual blogs.

Mary Churchill
University of Venus

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Jonathan Dresner said...

I'd be curious to know if the geographic distribution changes when you include 1, 2, and 3 post contributors (like me!), or if it stays pretty much the same.

Ernesto said...

Cool. Also, nice to see someone else using Many Eyes!

Thanks for sharing.

Jordan said...

Very interesting. I'm not trained in graphs, but this looks like the "power law distribution" I read about in Clay Shirky's new book. Does this mean that contributors to #hackacad fit the pattern of all social media sites, with the most active institution far outpacing the institution in the number two spot, and so forth?

Jordan Grant
American University

Adam Crymble said...

It's tough to geographically distribute people based on where they work. Many people telecommute; so for all we know everyone who contributed lives in Vancouver. All we can do is guess based on what information is available. Or we could ask, but hey.

In terms of CHNM appearing at the top: this makes perfect sense. I'm sure the project was announced in person with great enthusiasm to the staff and THATCamp participants. Once the announcement is left to permeate the globe via Twitter, it's message has less impact and entices less participants.

If I've learned anything as a project manager it's that people are far more likely to do something if you ask them directly than if you circulate a generic message.

I'd be interested to find out how many people who submitted were told by someone who explained the concept, and how many stumbled across it online. I'd be willing to bet the former had a higher response rate than the latter.

So if anything, this graph shows the institutional (not geographic) distribution of CHNM's influence on Twitter and at THATCamp amongst people who self-associate themselves as Digital Humanists.

Meg said...

Hi Adam, Thanks for putting together these data. Also, thanks to your help, I created a map of the contributions (based on workplace)

Check them out here:

@emarsh: Independents or unemployed folks were mapped by what I could figure might be their address. Many many people (who blog) make it very easy to suss out a location. Just takes a little detective work.

@Mary_Churchill I did get that Univ of Venus had multiple entries for different locations around the world. I found the same location information for the Profhacker pieces.

What do you think?

By the way, I did NOT go to THATCamp (though I would have liked to) but I DID hear about #hackacad on Twitter.

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