James Howison

James Howison is an Associate Professor in the Information School of the University of Texas at Austin.

Picture of James Howison

I research collaboration and technology. I've studied open source software development and the development of software in science because both are interesting examples of collaboration. I'm particularly interested in understanding how different incentives, such as working for fun or for academic reputation, lead to different structures of collaboration. I draw on my training in social science, organizational science, economics, and software engineering to study people, organizations, and technologies. I employ methods such as interviews, participant observation, analysis of software code, and analysis of “digital trace data,” which are the records left behind by online activity.

My work has been supported by the NSF, including a 2015 NSF CAREER award (#1453548) and a 2019 PECASE award, as well as the Sloan Foundation. James has published in the fields of Information Systems, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, and Information Sciences (e.g., MIS Quarterly, ACM CSCW Conference, and JASIST), as well as keynotes for industry and funding agency advisory events. Recently I have contributed to the development of [CiteAs](http://citeas.org), a system to improve incentives for high quality software work in science by mapping from software to its requested citation, and released a gold standard dataset of software mentions in publications, to facilitate improved rewards for software work in science.

Prior to UTexas I was a post-doctoral associate at the Institute for Software Research at the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science where he worked with Jim Herbsleb.

I received my PhD in May 2009, advised by Kevin Crowston, at the School of Information studies at Syracuse University in Upstate New York. My dissertation examined the work of free and open source software developers and developed a theory called collaboration through superposition. More on that on my dissertation page. My undergraduate training is in Political Economy at the University of Sydney.

In addition to my academic work I have been invited to present at industry conferences, including O'Reilly's first P2P conference (which became E-Tech) and the 2005 FOOCamp, LinuxAsia 2006, the 2006 O'Reilly Open Source Conference and the 2011 O'Reilly SciFoo Camp.

You can contact me at or my cellphone +1 315 395 4056. There's also an embedded microformat hCard in the html on this page.)