Call for Papers

OpenSym 2021

The 17th International Symposium on Open Collaboration

15-17 September 2021 | Hybrid Online Conference | Madrid and Online


About the Conference

The 17th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym 2021) is the premier conference on open collaboration research and practice, including open source, open data, open science, open education, wikis and related social media, Wikipedia, and IT-driven open innovation research.
OpenSym is the first conference series to bring together the different strands of open collaboration research and practice, seeking to create synergies and inspire new collaborations between people from computer science, information science, social science, humanities, and everyone interested in understanding open collaboration and how it is changing the world.
This year’s conference will be held in an hybrid on-line format on 15-17th September 2021. A Doctoral Consortium will take place as well during those days.

OpenSym 2021 will be fully on-line given the current difficulties and uncertainties for travelling

Defining Hybrid

OpenSym 2021 will be a hybrid conference! Not because we need to, but because we want to! We are the premier “open collaboration” conference, if we don’t do it, who else? 😉

OpenSym 2021 will be held jointly at Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid in Madrid, Spain on 15-17 September 2021 and online. We will have on-line sessions with on-line social activities, and physical sessions in Madrid which will be broadcasted. Research and community presentations and performances will be accompanied by keynotes, invited speakers, and a social program. The capital of Spain, Madrid is a vibrant city with a rich history with plenty of things to see and do, and is easy to reach with all major airlines.

There will be differentiated registration costs (and participants can change to another type of registration until August 28 2021):

  1. Online (participants): around 25 euro — we will also have free waivers. Those who cannot afford this cost will have to write a letter stating their interest and committing to attend.
  2. Online (authors with paper in the proceedings): around 100 euro. The extra cost is to cover the costs of the ACM proceedings where papers will be published.
  3. Physical: around 350 euro (early bird, up to three weeks before the conference). This includes attending the conference in a nice venue in the city centre (the Círculo de Bellas Artes is a cultural center close to all the touristic attractions and museums; it was where Picasso went to painting classes). Food (coffee breaks and lunches) and social events (reception dinner and banquet) are included.

This conference provides a platform for researchers and practitioners from a variety of domains to share insights and ideas relevant to understanding open collaboration in its many forms. The open space track is a key ingredient of the event that distinguishes OpenSym from other conferences. It is an integral part of the program that makes it easy to talk to other researchers and practitioners and to stretch your imagination and conversations beyond the limits of your own discipline, exposing you to the full breadth of open collaboration research. The open space track is entirely participant-organized, open for everyone, and requires no submission or review.

Call for Submissions

OpenSym 2021 invites submissions for a range of tracks, including:

  1. Research papers,
  2. Experience reports,
  3. Journal-First,
  4. Doctoral Consortium research proposals.

Research papers will be included in the conference proceedings published by the ACM. Submissions to the other tracks will be included in non-archival companion proceedings.
All submissions are accepted via the EasyChair platform:

All submissions are accepted via the EasyChair platform:

A. Research papers

  • Deadline: June 3, 2021 (abstract) June 15, 2021 (full paper)
  • Length: 10 pages 18 pages in the new single-column format ACM submission template
  • Format: ACM, double-blind
  • Required registration: online author or in-person

The completed research paper submission deadline is June 15 2021 (abstracts have to be submitted on June 3, 2021). Submitted papers should present integrative reviews or original reports of substantive new work: theoretical, empirical, and/or in the design, development and/or deployment of novel concepts, systems, and mechanisms. Research papers will be reviewed to meet rigorous academic standards of publication. Papers will be reviewed for relevance, conceptual quality, innovation, and clarity of presentation.

Papers should report research thoroughly but succinctly: brevity is a virtue. The maximum length of a research paper is 18 pages (not including references). Papers should be formatted using ACM submission templates. The review process is double-blind, so manuscripts must be anonymized.

Authors whose submitted papers have been accepted for presentation at the conference have a choice of:

  • Having their paper become part of the official conference proceedings, archived in the ACM Digital Library;
  • Having no publication record at all but only the presentation at the conference.

New Ideas and Emerging Research papers are also welcome. They contain innovative research and current work in progress. New ideas should present new directions well supported with a solid research plan, which can provide benefit for the community. Emerging Research papers should present initial and preliminary results with a non complete evaluation in order to collect early feedback from the community. Submissions are limited to 5 pages 9 pages in the new single-column format ACM submission template (not including references). Papers should be formatted using ACM submission templates. The review process is double-blind, so manuscripts must be anonymized.

Furthermore, as in OpenSym 2020 we plan to have a Journal Article Collection in the Journal of Internet and Software Applications, to which the best research papers in the conference will be invited.


As part of the review process of research papers, papers may be conditionally accepted, at which point authors are given an opportunity to write a response to their reviews before final decisions are made by the Program Chairs. This should be treated as an opportunity to correct any mistakes or misconceptions in the reviews as well as to propose minor changes that the authors can make during the short period between final notification and the camera-ready deadline.

B. Experience reports

  • Deadline: August 8, 2021
  • Length: 2 pages 3 pages in the new single-column format ACM submission template
  • Format: ACM sigconf, single-blind
  • Required registration: online or in-person

OpenSym also invites authors to submit a short (two page) abstract containing the title and a description of the content of experience reports. Authors of accepted short abstracts for experience reports are invited to bring accepted talks to be presented during the conference.

The submission deadline is August 8, 2021. To propose an experience report, authors should submit an extended abstract (not more than 3 pages) describing the experience. Experience reports should be formatted in ACM sigconf paper format and will be published in a companion volume. The review process of experience reports is single-blind.

C. Journal First

  • Deadline: July 15, 2021
  • Length: 1 page
  • Format: ACM sigconf, single-blind
  • Required registration: online or in-person

Authors of any journal papers within scope of the conference that were accepted for publication and made available during 2020 or 2021 are invited to submit a Journal-First presentation proposal. The Journal-First submission deadline is July 15 2021. Submissions should include a copy of the accepted manuscript, and have a cover page of no more than 1 page that must contain: the journal paper’s title, the journal paper’s authors, an extended abstract that clarifies how the paper fits within the scope of the conference, and a pointer to the original journal paper at the journal’s Web site. Journal First submissions will be reviewed for relevance and scope. In selecting submissions for inclusion in the program, priority will be given to Open Access papers. Given the multidisciplinarity of OpenSym, submissions may have been presented at or submitted to other Journal First tracks.

D. Doctoral Consortium

  • Deadline: July 15, 2021
  • Length: 5 pages 9 pages in the new single-column format ACM submission template
  • Format: ACM sigconf, single-blind
  • Required registration: online or in-person

The deadline for submission to the Doctoral Consortium is July 15 2021. The OpenSym 2021 Doctoral Consortium provides a unique opportunity for doctoral students to present and develop their research in an interdisciplinary and interactive workshop. The Consortium will be action-focused: contributions around the conceptualisation, analysis, and visualisation skills and techniques of the PhD research are particularly welcome. We invite students conducting research on topics within the scope of the conference to apply for this unique opportunity, and to share and develop their work with students and staff during the event. Submissions should not exceed 9 pages (ACM sigconf paper format) and should contain (1) the stage of Ph.D (proposal phase, year {1,2, .. N}, write-up), (2) a statement of research problem/objective, and why that is an important problem, (3) a summary of closely related prior research, (4) the research method used or planned, with a timeline for completion, and (5) the expected contributions of the work.

Conference Proceedings

OpenSym is held in-cooperation with ACM SIGWEB and ACM SIGSOFT and the conference proceedings will be archived in the ACM Digital Library like all prior editions. OpenSym seeks to accommodate the needs of the different research disciplines it draws on, including disciplines with archival conference proceedings and disciplines where authors usually present at conferences and publish later.

Journal Article Collection

The Editors of the Journal of Internet Services and Applications (JISA) have agreed to publish an “Article Collection” of the extended and revised versions of the best papers submitted to OpenSym 2021. (JISA does not have distinct journal issues; an “article collection” is the equivalent of a special issue). More information on the Article Collection will be made available during the conference.

Important Dates

Research papers

  • Abstract: 3 June 2021
  • Submission deadline: 15 June 2021
  • Reviews sent to authors: 20 July 2021
  • Response to reviews from authors due: 24 July 2021
  • Decision notification: 1 August 2021
  • Camera-ready papers due: 15 August 2021

Doctoral Consortium and Journal First

  • Submission deadline: 15 July 2021
  • Decision notification: 1 August 2021

Experience reports

  • Submission deadline: 8 August 2021
  • Decision notification: 15 August 2021


We are looking for submissions on, but not limited to, the following topics:

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS)
  • FLOSS development communities, including both software engineering aspects and human factors
  • FLOSS development processes, such as code reviews, joining process, etc.
  • Best practices and case studies of open collaboration with FLOSS
  • FLOSS collaboration beyond software (e.g. FLOSS collaboration for open data/content, open standards, open hardware, etc.)
Wikipedia and Wikimedia Research
  • Participation in Wikimedia communities
  • Group Dynamics and Organization in Wikipedia and related projects
  • Readership/Engagement on Wikipedia and related projects
  • Technical Infrastructure and Design in Wikimedia projects
  • Evaluating Content of Wikimedia projects
  • Knowledge Diffusion, Outreach, and Generalization
Open Collaboration Research, esp. Wikis and Social Media
  • Novel open collaboration technologies ranging from entirely new socio-technical systems to MediaWiki extensions
  • Wikis in corporations, academia, non-profits, and other organizations
  • Online collaboration using social media technologies (e.g., Wikis, Blogs, Twitter)
    Theoretical work on open collaboration
  • Digital divides and open collaboration technologies
Open Data and Open Science
  • Open data quality, standards, measures and metrics
  • Open data and open science methods, applications and prototypes
  • Best practices and case studies for Open Data and Open Science
  • Repositories, networks and working platforms for open scientific communication, collaboration, exchange and access to open knowledge
Open Education
  • Tools and methods for managing, storing and sharing of Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Open online learning environments such as MOOCs
  • Enabling individual learning paths
  • Connecting formal and informal learning
  • Supporting self-paced learning and co-construction of knowledge
  • Development of new knowledge or products (e.g. Maker Spaces), collecting data (e.g. Citizen Science) or discussing political topics (e.g. e-participation).
Open Innovation
  • Architecture and design of open innovation systems
  • The role of IT-artefacts in open and collaborative innovation activities
  • Implementation of open innovation platforms in corporate IT landscapes
  • IT security, intellectual property and personal anonymity in open innovationç
  • Best practices and case studies of open data, open standards, open source for open innovation
  • Open innovation and GLAM
Open Policy/Open Government
  • Open policy formulation and design
  • Implications of open policies for governments
  • Implementation of open policies
  • Measuring the success and impact of open policies
  • Best practices and cases studies of open policy/government
  • Openness in various public initiatives (e.g. Smart Cities, Internet of Things)
Open Standards
  • Communities for development, maintenance, use, and implementation of open standards
  • Implications of open standards for governments and other organizations
  • Open standards development processes
  • Open standards and licensing aspects