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Massive Open Online Research: An approach to deal with wicked problems

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPICMET 14 Conference, Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology
Subtitle of host publicationInfrastructure and Service Integration
Place of PublicationPortland
PublisherThe Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781890843304
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2014
Publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventPortland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …


ConferencePortland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology
Period1/01/00 → …


Humans are hardwired as problem-solvers. Professional education, in particular, enables us to solve complex problems. Even decades ago, we could safely send a crew to the moon and back. A moon-bound project is a very challenging and complex problem, but it is a tame one. The problem is clearly defined and the challenge becomes how to find the best solution. As the world and issues become more interconnected, there is a different type of problem in the horizon - 'wicked' problems. A wicked problem is normally complex and challenging, but differs from the 'tame' problem because there is no agreement in terms of problem definition. A wicked problem does not allow for the 'choice' of best solution. Solutions tend to only mitigate the problem and sometimes generate unpredictable consequences. For instance, climate change is an issue that requires a level of ingenuity that cannot be achieved by a limited group of people, regardless how brilliant they are. It cannot be addressed by our dominant scientific, reductionist, discipline-based, and proprietary approach either. This paper proposes Massive Online Open Research (MOOR) as a better approach to deal with wicked problems. In terms of organization, this paper includes a literature review on online collaboration, focusing on the dynamics of knowledge creation and innovation. Selected open online research initiatives are used to contextualize the literature review. Based on the literature review and real cases, a MOOR framework is presented and discussed. Limitations and opportunities for future research are also included.

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland