söndag 19 februari 2017

ICT and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (CFP)


Me and a bunch of other people organized a workshop, HCI and UN's Sustainable Development Goals: Responsibilities, Barriers and Opportunities, at the NordiCHI conference back in October. It was a great workshop and we were approached already before the workshop was held by Carlo Giovanella, the editor in chief of an online peer-reviewed open-access journal, Interaction Design & Architecture(s) (IxD&A) about putting together a special issue on that topic - to which I agreed. Technically it's not going to be a "special issue" but rather a "focus session" and the difference is that a focus session has fewer articles than a special issue (3-5 instead of 6-9). Also, we would have had to wait another six months for a slot for a special issue.

Giovanella characterized the journal’s focus as relating to 1) computer science, 2) social innovation, 3) design and 4) education. This all adds up to a general focus on “designing the future”. It also seems IxD&A specifically target workshops (like ours) and entice workshop organizers to sign up for putting together special issues or focus sessions for the journal.

IxD&A publishes four issues per year and the acceptance rate is around 30% for special issues and focus session. It is indexed by Web of Science and Scopus. I don't know if it's a thing but I just don't know how to react to the fact that a journal that has "design" right there in the name also has a webpage in such stark need for improving the design of its webpage (here's for example the IxD&A archive).

The deadline for submitting articles to our focus session is June 30 and the articles will be published in IxD&A in November this year. The editors for the special issue are me - Daniel Pargman (KTH Royal Institute of Technology), Neha Kumar (Georgia Tech), Mikael Anneroth (Ericsson Research) and Elina Eriksson (KTH Royal Institute of Technology). There is some more info about the editors at the bottom of this blog post. Do also note that the focus of the workshop was HCI & the SDGs while the special issue concerns ICT & the SDGs - so the focus has shifted slightly and has now become broader.

Below are the most relevant parts of the Call for Papers - the full CFP together with some further instructions can be found here.


Sustainability is the most important global challenge for the 21st century. While interest in sustainability is increasing within computing, it is not particularly difficult to claim that we currently do too little, and perhaps at times also the wrong things. It can be daunting for researchers to tackle global problems such as climate change, famine and biodiversity loss (Steffen et. al. 2015, Raworth 2012), to name just a few of the large issues the world is and will continue to grapple with during the remainder of this century. Still, developing a sustainable society does not refer only to “other” (non-computing) areas such as transportation, heating and food, but also to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) since ICT has become an integral part of all areas in society. But how does ICT contribute to a sustainable society, and, what are we aiming for?

In September 2015, the UN formally adopted a set of global goals the succeeded the  Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). The new Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs, see further https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) consist of 17 overarching goals, aiming at accomplishing sustainable development for people and the planet by 2030. The SDGs thus address ecological as well as social and economic sustainability and they are to a higher extent also applicable to the whole world rather than just to the developing countries in the global south. Since the Sustainable Development Goals are more ambitious and broader than the Millennium Development Goals it however also becomes more difficult to measure and track progress.

In this IxD&A focus session, we want to engage everyone who is interested in working towards a sustainable future in terms and using the UN SDGs as a starting point. How can ICT be inspired by, and contribute to these goals? What should we do more of, and, are we doing the right things (Brynjarsdottir 2012, Silberman 2014, Knowles 2014)? In what areas should we form partnerships in order to reach the Sustainable Development Goals and with whom should we form these partnerships? This IxD&A focus session builds upon a workshop that was held at the NordiCHI 2016 conference (Eriksson et. al. 2016)

Topics of Interest

We particularly welcome contributions that not only describe a particular study and relates it to the SDGs but that also critically engages with the relationship between ICT and the SDGs. We welcome contributions from (but not limited to) HCI, interaction design, design, STS and ICTD. For further questions, please contact the editors.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

• ICT solutions that engages one or more SDGs
• Work that critically discusses important topics not covered by the SDGs
• The Interconnectedness of the SDGs in relation to ICT
• Bridging global goals (SDGs) in terms of scaling and operationalizing them to make them possible/easier to address
• The challenge of working with long-term goal in the context of ICT which emphasizes speed and results
• On possible tensions and contradictions between different SDGs
• The connection between socio-technical systems and the SDGs
• Methods for monitoring progress in reaching the SDGs (for example utilising Big Data).

Daniel Pargman is an associate professor at the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. He is also affiliated with the VINN excellence research Center for Sustainable Communications (CESC). He is interested in energy research and social science, teaching sustainability and Computing within Limits. He blogs at danielpargman.blogspot.com and he was an organizer of the workshop “HCI and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Responsibilities, Barriers and Opportunities” at the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI’2016).

Neha Kumar is an assistant professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a focus on human-computer interaction for global development. She received her Ph.D. from the School of Information at UC Berkeley in 2013, and was a postdoctoral scholar crossing disciplines at the University of Washington's Computer Science and Engineering department and at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. She combines computing, design, and ethnographic expertise to research the adoption, design, and use of mobile technologies towards stronger community infrastructures, social and technical.

Mikael Anneroth holds an Expert position at Ericsson Research, focusing on the Human and Society perspective of ICT. He is member of the management team for the Ericsson Research Area Sustainability and the driver of several external research projects in the area of Sustainability‚ User Experience design, Society impact of ICT and the transformative effects of digitalisation

Elina Eriksson is an assistant professor in HCI with a specialization in sustainability at at the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design (MID) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. She is doing research at Green Leap and the KTH Centre for Sustainable Communication (CESC). Her current research projects concerns ICT for Urban Sustainability and an exploration of energy futures. She was an organizer of the workshop “HCI and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: Responsibilities, Barriers and Opportunities” at the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI’2016)


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