The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 214, Issue 1, pp 109–152 | Cite as

Towards a global participatory platform

Democratising open data, complexity science and collective intelligence
  • S. Buckingham Shum
  • K. Aberer
  • A. Schmidt
  • S. Bishop
  • P. Lukowicz
  • S. Anderson
  • Y. Charalabidis
  • J. Domingue
  • S. de Freitas
  • I. Dunwell
  • B. Edmonds
  • F. Grey
  • M. Haklay
  • M. Jelasity
  • A. Karpištšenko
  • J. Kohlhammer
  • J. Lewis
  • J. Pitt
  • R. Sumner
  • D. Helbing
Open Access
Regular Article


The FuturICT project seeks to use the power of big data, analytic models grounded in complexity science, and the collective intelligence they yield for societal benefit. Accordingly, this paper argues that these new tools should not remain the preserve of restricted government, scientific or corporate élites, but be opened up for societal engagement and critique. To democratise such assets as a public good, requires a sustainable ecosystem enabling different kinds of stakeholder in society, including but not limited to, citizens and advocacy groups, school and university students, policy analysts, scientists, software developers, journalists and politicians. Our working name for envisioning a sociotechnical infrastructure capable of engaging such a wide constituency is the Global Participatory Platform (GPP). We consider what it means to develop a GPP at the different levels of data, models and deliberation, motivating a framework for different stakeholders to find their ecological niches at different levels within the system, serving the functions of (i) sensing the environment in order to pool data, (ii) mining the resulting data for patterns in order to model the past/present/future, and (iii) sharing and contesting possible interpretations of what those models might mean, and in a policy context, possible decisions. A research objective is also to apply the concepts and tools of complexity science and social science to the project’s own work. We therefore conceive the global participatory platform as a resilient, epistemic ecosystem, whose design will make it capable of self-organization and adaptation to a dynamic environment, and whose structure and contributions are themselves networks of stakeholders, challenges, issues, ideas and arguments whose structure and dynamics can be modelled and analysed.

Graphical abstract


European Physical Journal Special Topic Boundary Object Smart City Collective Intelligence Information Visualisation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Buckingham Shum
    • 1
  • K. Aberer
    • 2
  • A. Schmidt
    • 3
  • S. Bishop
    • 4
  • P. Lukowicz
    • 5
  • S. Anderson
    • 6
  • Y. Charalabidis
    • 7
  • J. Domingue
    • 1
  • S. de Freitas
    • 8
  • I. Dunwell
    • 8
  • B. Edmonds
    • 9
  • F. Grey
    • 10
  • M. Haklay
    • 11
  • M. Jelasity
    • 12
  • A. Karpištšenko
    • 13
  • J. Kohlhammer
    • 14
  • J. Lewis
    • 15
  • J. Pitt
    • 16
  • R. Sumner
    • 17
  • D. Helbing
    • 18
  1. 1.Knowledge Media InstituteThe Open UniversityMilton KeynessUK
  2. 2.Distributed Information Systems LaboratoryÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL-IC-IIF-LSIR, Bâtiment BCLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institut für Visualisierung und Interaktive SystemeUniversität Stuttgart, Universitätstraße 38StuttgartGermany
  4. 4.Dept. MathematicsUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.Embedded Systems LabUniversity of Passau, IT-Zentrum/International HousePassauGermany
  6. 6.School of InformaticsUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  7. 7.Information Systems LaboratoryUniversity of the AegeanKarlovasi, SamosGreece
  8. 8.Serious Games Institute, Coventry Innovation VillageCoventry University Technology ParkCoventryUK
  9. 9.Centre for Policy ModellingManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  10. 10.Citizen Cyberscience CentreCERN, UNOSATGenevaSwitzerland
  11. 11.Dept. Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering University College LondonLondonUK
  12. 12.Research Group on Artificial IntelligenceHungarian Academy of Science and University of SzegedSzegedHungary
  13. 13.Skype Labs, SkypeTallinnEstonia
  14. 14.Fraunhofer-Institut für Graphische Datenverarbeitung IGDDarmstadtGermany
  15. 15.Dept. AnthropologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  16. 16.Dept. Electrical & Electronic EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK
  17. 17.Disney Research ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  18. 18.ZurichETH ZurichSwitzerland

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