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CFP: “Newcomer Participation in Online Communities” special issue of Computers in Human Behavior

Call for papers for a special issue of Computers in Human Behavior on “Newcomer Participation in Online Communities,” of potential interest to social informatics researchers. Optional abstracts are due April 30th, full papers due September 30th. Click through / see below for more details; contact with any questions.

Special Issue of Computers in Human Behavior: “Newcomer Participation in Online Communities”

Special Issue Editors

Aditya Johri, Virginia Tech
Vandana Singh, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Rosta Farzan, University of Pittsburgh
Oded Nov, NYU Polytechnic


Online communities have become one of the most common forms of organizations on the Internet. They are integral to the functioning of resources such as Wikipedia and form the backbone of many software development efforts, particularly Open Source Software. Going back at least a decade, researchers have examined various issues related to online communities. They have examined different forms of participation and highlighted the problems encountered in maintaining and growing these communities. One important finding from this literature is that it is critical to nurture and support newcomers for communities to thrive. Newcomers are essential for any organization and their successful participation determines their performance, turnover, motivation, and overall productivity and innovation in an organization. Empirical literature on how newcomers become part of an organization focuses primarily on socialization and assimilation. Studies have examined how newcomers proactively seek
information, how information acquisition leads to formation of social relationships and assimilation in the work environment, and how newcomers move from peripheral to full participation within a community of practice. Despite the recognition of the importance of newcomers, few studies have looked at how newcomers actually participate in online communities and what role, if any, technology plays in this process. In this special issue we plan to further explore the role of newcomers in online communities.

Some Suggested Research Topics

  • What role does the experience that newcomers bring with them play in their participation in online communities? How do newcomers influence practices within the community?
  • How does a newcomer integrate into the community and move from the peripheral circles to the core of the community?
  • Are newcomers and their support different in different forms of online communities such as Open Source Software or Wikipedia or Citizen Science?
  • What lessons can we synthesize for learning analytics?
  • Can newcomers be classified?

The special issue will consist of around 8-12 articles. All papers will undergo peer review. Submit any queries to:


April 30, 2013: Abstract submission(optional) (500 words) – Submit abstracts to:
May 15, 2013: Initial notification sent to authors
Aug. 31-Sept. 30, 2013: Submission of full papers (5000-10,000 words) – Submit at: Elsevier system:
November 30, 2013: First round of review feedback
January 31, 2013: Revised submissions due
March 1, 2014: Final decisions and feedback
April 30, 2014: Submission of final manuscripts