A Social Approach to Knowledge Management in Projects – A White Paper

I recently submitted a paper to be considered for an academic conference on the topic of IT Project Management.

The conference uses a double-blind review process to review papers and provide feedback.  In this double blind-review, reviewer’s aren’t provided with author(s) information and author’s aren’t provided information about the reviewers.

Good and fair process….and one that I’m about to completely tear apart today. :)

My submission, titled A Social Approach to Knowledge Management in Projects, was conditionally accepted for inclusion if I were to address a major concern on the part of the reviewer.

The main concern was a claim of plagiarism.

The reviewer believed that the author (me) had plagiarized a good part of the paper.  They pointed to a website that they claimed proved that the author had used content from and note cited.  That website was mine – http://ericbrown.com.

Plagiarism is defined as:

the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.

I can see where the reviewer might have thought plagiarism existed as some of the work in the paper has been previously published here on my blog.  I’m actually quite excited that someone out there found my site interesting enough to cite as the original source of something that might have then been used in a plagiarism matter.

While this could be considered a case of self-plagiarism (if you believe in such an oxymoron), it’s not plagiarism.  The conference organizer requested that I cite my own work published on this blog within my article and also rework the article to ensure that the majority of the paper was significantly different than any other paper / article I’ve written.

Because I don’t believe in ‘self-plagiarism’, and because I’m feeling a bit rebellious this morning, I’ve decided to withdraw the paper from the conference and publish it, in its entirety, as a PDF here.  You can download the full paper using the link at the bottom of this post.

In the paper, I try to look at ways to answer this question:

Can a project team use Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 platforms to communicate and share knowledge during a project? Can this communication be indexed and mined to capture relevant knowledge about the project, project team members and project technologies without adding additional burden to the project team members?

Download a PDF copy of A Social Approach to Knowledge Management in Projects today

Enjoy.

  • http://www.teamworkpm.net Sam

    They say Imitation or in your case Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery although when it’s yourself copying yourself I don’t know if it’s the same :-)

    I’m going to download your paper and take a read as the whole social side of project managing is something that really interests me and it’s helping to shape our business as well.

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Thanks Sam. Would love feedback on the paper.

    • http://www.teamworkpm.net Sam

      Hi Eric,

      It’s very detailed piece and for me not coming from a trained PM background it’s a bit overwhelming.

      The one part I did find interesting in the paper was the Analysis Layer section. The idea of being able to analyze past projects and to find and document knowledge that was gained during projects so that info can be used again. Documenting experience is something that I think is quite hard to do.

      I have been managing all types of projects now for a little under 10 years and it’s from time on the ground that I can now spot similarities between projects and tell from past projects what I can do to get it back on track or what actions to take to try to stop it from slipping from past experience. Knowing what data to mine for to get this info would be quite a challenge.

      I guess coming from the side that has built a web 2.0 project management system I can see how hard this would be to achieve, as organizing and sorting data can be very complicated.

      Not sure if I’m making much sense but it’s a hard topic to get down in words without going on for ages or tying yourself in a knot as well. Plus the phone won’t stop bloody ringing!! :-)

      • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

        Great feedback Sam. Thanks so much.

        There’s a lot to this topic but its an interesting one, isn’t it? :)

        There’s a considerable amount to consider here…how do you tie a project management tool to a knowledge repository? How do you really capture knowledge from people? How can you really be sure knowledge is accurate?

        Lots to think about…will let you know how the research comes along.

  • http://cuberules.com Scot Herrick

    It would be difficult to write a “substantially different” article from anything you have written — it is like asking you to change your viewpoint.

    I don’t disagree with your actions; publish the paper here…

    I hope the reviewer finds out that the site they show for plagerism is the author’s!!

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      My thoughts exactly Scot. Gotta love the academic world :)

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  • Jamie

    Firstly, thank you for posting the article for us to access.

    Secondly, the article itself is very good, and I especially like the way you have presented the different layers.

    Thirdly, there is no such thing as self-plagiarism. That is like asking Picasso to paint like someone else instead of himself. I think your reviewer needs to get a better perspective.

    Thanks again for the PDF.

    • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

      Thank you Jaimie. Glad you liked the article!

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  • Mark Gibaud

    I would say the request to reference the work (even if it’s your own) is fair. I often see authors referencing previous work of their own in later papers as the point they are referencing is better substantiated in the that prior work, while at the same time the author is not wanting to include the same solid (lengthy) substantiation of a particular assertion in the new paper.

    Their loss is our gain though! Will read the paper shortly and leave some feedback :-)

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