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So how did you come up with this collaboration PhD project idea?

It all started a few years ago, when I was working on my master thesis (Virtual communities as a new channel in Internet Marketing Communications). It came to my mind that it would a good idea to get community involved.  I was fascinated with Wikipedia and some other online communities I was a part of at that time. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time and the web was not as developed as it is now, so I decided to leave it for later. Now, I have the feeling that the time has come. 

Wait a second, so you are not doing it because you can't afford a PhD?

Well, the lack of money is one of the main motives. If I could study at some reputable information, business or media school I would still use community in my PhD. Probably not to the same extend as now but still... Also, I do believe in public domain. I am sick of having to pay for the access to interesting publications.

 It seems like you are not really satisfied with education system now...

I don't want to say I am not satisfied. I simply see quite a few disadvantages of it. I understand that education cannot be free but at the same time it cannot be so ridiculously expensive. All publications shall be free and easily accessible online. They also should be written in a clear manner, so that everybody can understand them. The are researches that think that the more complicated the language they use is, the better and smarter they sound. Nonsense!

Ok, let's not get emotional here. When reading this website I have an impression that you may be trying to use it as a self promotion tool. Isn't that so?

Well, yes and no. I am surely not hoping that thank to this project  I will get a new job or that Bill Gates will sponsor my studies. But I hope to draw people, professors attention to my research idea and maybe my research idea will actually be awarded a PhD. This would, as far as I know, be the first time that a PhD would be awarded for a piece of research that was done through online wiki-style collaboration.

But a PhD is awarded to a single person, while this would be done by a number of people. Isn't unfair?

When writing a PhD you are assigned a few supervisors (at least 2) and you also consult other professors, not only at your university but also on conferences, etc. You mention their publications, quote them, etc. I think you could count community as a one big mentor. It is still me doing the job, writing the dissertation - community is providing their insights, links, corrections - just like your supervisor would.

So do you really think, somebody will award you a PhD thank to this project?

No. As I said before, I want to draw people attention to my research idea. I treat this as a big experiment. Perhaps, it will become a new way of conducting research in the future. We will see. However, if I am given a chance to conduct this experiment in an academic environment (like a PhD program at a reputable institution), I would be more than happy.

You say you only want to use web2.0 tools in this project, what do you mean?

I want this project to as cost efficient and as much Internet based as possible. We will use free Delicious to exchange links, free Google Spreadsheets to work with data, Digg and Slashdot to promote the project and finally wiki to work on the text itself. Look at this website: it is hosted on free GooglePages, I used a free logo from http://templatesbox.com, modified in GIMP. Possibilities are endless!



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