ICTlogy.net refurbished: focus on the personal research portal

More than six years after I set up this site, I’ve just made a dire change on its structure, which is but a change in its purpose, aim or focus.

The site began as a simple blog, and then went on growing by being added more content and sections: the ICT4D Wiki the ICT4D Bibliography, etc. At some point it started to feature information about myself and, especially, the writings and speeches that I was doing.

It is now time to turn it upside down, put the content on the back and the researcher to the forefront. (Almost) everything is still there, but as more people (a) get here through search engines and land directly on a specific page or (b) just subscribe and read content on their RSS feed readers, I thought the home page should be more a presentation of the whole site rather than the last blog post and which kept all other information cornered up to the header menu.

So, main changes:

  • New home page — If you’re reading this on your feed reader, I’ll be glad to know of your impressions on design and structure — with new design, and structured as a Personal Research Portal or, if you prefer it, as a Personal Learning Environment (PLE)
  • Drop of the ICT4D Calendar. When I set it up, I did it for myself (and most things here) to keep track of ICT4D events. It was difficult to gather that information there but it no longer is. The ICTD.at collective, Christian Kreutz, Pablo Arribas and I are experimenting with an ICT4D Calendar on Google Calendar (but we definitely don’t pour much intelligence in it), Mark Openner is doing a cool work with the Ethnos Project Calendar, the IPID discussion list is terrific, and the ICT4D community on Twitter is gorgeous. So, no need to do something other people are doing much better.
  • A new blog, SociedadRed, in Spanish. More information about the reasons to set up a second blog can be found in the first post in SociedadRed, but let us say that this blog — the ICTlogy ICT4D Blog — will remain a mostly scholar, professional, academic one, while SociedadRed, while still dealing mainly with the Information Society, will be more personal and framed in Spain.

By the way: I am sometimes enquired about the odds and ends of this site, how do I work with it, how I benefit from the huge amount of hours that I presumably spend with it, etc. Well, I have been invited to impart a keynote speech at the PLE Conference, which will take place in Barcelona the 8th and 9th of July 2010. Come and find out.

PS: Many many thanks go to Mercè Guillén: she deserves a good share of credit for the redefinition of the site and rearranging the mess it had become. Her advice is like watercolour: comes concentrated and in small drops, but once diluted you can paint a whole sea with it.


e-Research: opportunities and challenges for social sciences

Colleagues Adolfo Estalella and Elisenda Ardèvol (members of Mediacciones) organize a series of seminars called e-Research: opportunities and challenges for social sciences, to debate about the consequences that digital technologies have on the production of knowledge, especially in a scientific framework (it’s worth noting that e-Research here stands for enhanced research, not electronic research).

I’m really proud to have been invited to take part of these sessions side by side with some people whose opinion I most value. I am very likely to be speaking about the Personal Research Portal and see whether this practice can be mainstreamed or not.


From eScience to e-Research: challenges and opportunities for social sciences, with Eduard Aibar and Adolfo Estalella

Research in the Internet: new ethical challenges for social research, with Elisenda Ardèvol and Agnès Vayreda.

Visual methodologies: knowledge production and ways to represent it, with Roger Canals and Juan Ignacio Robles.

Open Science: redefining the boundaries of the academy, with Antonio Lafuente, Ismael Peña-López and Juan Julián Merelo.

Social networks analysis: new ways of visualization, José Luís Molina, Tíscar Lara and Mariluz Congosto.

More information

Official page of the seminars, with complete schedule, how to get there and related information.


The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access

On February 2nd, 2009, a book chapter of mine — The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access — was published in the book Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies, edited by Stylianos Hatzipanagos and Steven Warburton.

This book chapter is the last one of a series of writings and speeches around the concept of the Personal Research Portal that began its journey in 2006. As the (so far) last from the series, I think it is the most accurate one, benefiting from the reviewers observations (thank you). I am grateful to the editors for having given me the opportunity to think over some concepts and polish them up. On the other hand, the book is full of very interesting chapters by authors that are actually paving the path of digital skills, online communities, etc.

Abstract and editors’ notes

We here propose the concept of the Personal Research Portal (PRP) – a mesh of social software applications to manage knowledge acquisition and diffusion – as a means to create a digital identity for the researcher – tied to their digital public notebook and personal repository – and a virtual network of colleagues working in the same field. Complementary to formal publishing or taking part in congresses, and based on the concept of the e-portfolio, the PRP is a knowledge management system that enhances reading, storing and creating at both the private and public levels. Relying heavily on Web 2.0 applications – easy to use, freely available – the PRP automatically implies a public exposure and a digital presence that enables conversations and network weaving without time and space boundaries.


Peña-López proposes the concept of the Personal Research Portal (PRP) – a mesh of social software applications to manage knowledge acquisition and diffusion. This is premised on the belief that there is a place for individual initiatives to try and bridge the biases and unbalances in the weight that researchers and research topics have in the international arena. The chapter highlights the main perceived benefits of a PRP that include building a digital identity, information sharing, the creation of an effective e-portfolio, and the sharing of personal and professional networks. He concludes that the main challenges that need to be addressed include access to technology and developing appropriate skills, problems that are recognised as stemming from the digital divide.

Citation and preprint download

Peña-López, I. (2009). “The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access”. In Hatzipanagos, S. & Warburton, S. (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies, Chapter 26, 400-414. Hershey: IGI Global.

Related information


Book: Science Dissemination using Open Access

Enrique Canessa and Marco Zennaro — both from the Science Dissemination Unit of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics — have collected a a compendium of selected literature on Open Access in their new book Science Dissemination using Open Access.

The book is part of the effort that the ICTP Science Dissemination Unit is doing to promote Open Access as a driver for development (including the Using Open Access Models for Science Dissemination seminar), being a means to enable knowledge diffusion within, towards and from developing countries, by leveraging the potential that open access specially brings to science both at the institutional and individual levels.

The book’s concept is to be a practical tool to steward the open access paradigm with real examples and by also providing actual solutions to most common problems. Hence, it is divided in two parts:

  • Part 1, with selected literature about the main concepts and some best practices and reflections on the opportunities that open access can bring to science and scholars in developing countries,
  • Part 2, with a list and how-to explanations on how to install and implant open access procedures and software.

I want to thank Enrico Canessa and Marco Zennaro for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the book with a paper of mine. Here entitled Web 2.0 and Open Access, it is an adaptation of my former article The personal research portal: web 2.0 driven individual commitment with open access for development published in Knowledge for Management Journal.

The book, following the line of previous joined efforts between the ICTP and Rob Flickenger (see below), is fully accessible online under a Creative Commons license.

More information


More information about the seminar