About me

Kevin Crowston

Distinguished Professor of Information Science,
Syracuse University School of Information Studies

Picture of Kevin

Kevin Crowston is a Distinguished Professor of Information Science at the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (aka the iSchool). He received his A.B. (1984) in Applied Mathematics (Computer Science) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. (1991) in Information Technologies from the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Crowston is currently on a temporary rotation as a Program Director at the US National Science Foundation for the Cyber-Human Systems Program in the Information and Intelligent Systems Division of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate.

His research examines new ways of organizing made possible by the use of information technology. He approaches this issue in several ways: empirical studies of coordination-intensive processes in human organizations (especially virtual organization); theoretical characterizations of coordination problems and alternative methods for managing them; and design and empirical evaluation of systems to support people working together. For more information, please consult his vitae and now quite out-of-date Fall 2005 research statement (both in PDF). Specific domains of interest include free/libre open source software development projects, citizen science projects and research data management.

He was until recently a PI on 3 NSF sponsored projects: NSF SOCS Grant 09-68470 for "SOCS: Socially intelligent computing to support citizen science" (see here for details); NSF SOCS Grant 11-11107 for "SOCS: Socially intelligent computing for coding of qualitative data" (see here for details); and NSF SOCS Grant 12-11071 for "Collaborative Research: Focusing Attention to Improve the Performance of Citizen Science Systems: Beautiful Images and Perceptive Observers" (see here for details). He and Jian Qin recently were awarded a research challenge grant from ICPSR for the development and dissemination of a capability maturity model for research data management (see here for details).

Other past NSF grants include:

  • OCI Grant 09-43049 for "VOSS: Theory and design of virtual organizations for citizen science" (see here for more details).
  • CNS Grant 07-08437 for "Collaborative Research: CRI: CRD: Data and analysis archive for research on Free and Open Source Software and its development" (with Megan Conklin, Elon University). This project supported work on the FLOSSmole data repository.
  • HSD 05-27457, "DHB: Investigating the Dynamics of Free/Libre Open Source Software Development Teams" (with Robert Heckman and Elizabeth Liddy). You can find the project home page for this project here.
  • IIS Grant 04-14482, "How can document-genre metadata improve information-access for large digital collections?" (with Barbara Kwasnik). You can see this project's home page here.
  • "A Multi-Method Study of the Use of Information Technology in the Real-Estate Industry" (see this project's home page here).
  • "Tools for Inventing Organizations: Toward a Handbook of Organizational Processes"

Kevin Crowston was a founding member of the MIT Center for Coordination Science and the University of Michigan Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work. Prior to moving to Syracuse, he taught for five years at the University of Michigan Business School. He has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Auckland, Department of Management Science and Information Systems, a researcher at the Centre for Technology and Innovation Management at the Universität der Bundeswehr München, a Shidler Visiting Fellow at the University of Hawai'i Shidler College of Business and a visiting scholar at the Centre for Work, Technology and Organizations, Stanford University.

His Ph.D. dissertation, Towards a Coordination Cookbook: Recipes for Multi-agent Action, won the International Centre for Information Technology (ICIT) Thesis Prize for best dissertation in Information Systems in 1991 and was a runner-up for the International Conference on Information Systems thesis prize in 1992.

Professor Crowston is the Vice Chair and Webmaster for IFIP Working Group 8.2 (Information Systems and Organizations) and Division Chair-elect for the Academy of Management Organizational Communications and Information Systems Division. He is a member of Sociocultural issues working group for the DataONE project.