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Expinet – community intellect at work

27.05.2013

Expinet – community intellect at work
I.T. Co. and the Bortnik Foundation have contributed to the deployment of the Expinet expert network in Russia. Expinet is a communication platform, enabling specialists to share products of their work, conduct expert (including cooperative) reviews and assess each other's competencies. Expinet cloud platform is based on principles of post-crowdsourcing, transparency of information and is a de facto model of community intellect.

While involved in creation of the expert network cloud platform, I.T. Co. supported financially by the Bortnik Foundation, conducted research which was to give detailed description of the post-crowdsourcing technology. The research engaged mathematicians, psychologists, sociologists, experts in competencies and semantic networks. Such approach proved completely effective and revealed a number of interesting features of professional network activity. Specifically, it was demonstrated the one of the main motivations for experts to engage in the network is a joint "consumption" of information, as now there’s no expert can handle the total amount of information, related to his or her area. It was also found out that the main measurable quality of an expert is the scope of his competence, which is each professional’s unique feature.

The Expinet expert network (http://www.expinet.ru) is a communication platform with algorithms, enabling effective organization of group work to increase the community’s total IQ. The expert network is used to publish articles, reviews of publications on professional areas, discuss projects of the network members and projects, submitted for expert review. However, it is important to understand that Expinet does not only provide expert review of projects upon request (paid expert evaluations), but also reviews all are-related literature.

The main difference of Expinet from today’s popular social networks is that it provides full information transparency to its participants. At the same time, network membership has limitations dependent on the expert’s competence level, while terms of participation include mutual commitments.

Expinet unites experts form all regions and using different access tools. For this reason services of the expert network are usually cloud-based (i.e. independent of the platform).

The expert network is a de facto model of so-called community intellect, and a customer may resort to it – without going deeply into details of how it is going to be done – as to a supercompetent expert, who is able to provide his or her evaluation. The expert network selects experts by itself according to required competencies, freedom from affiliation, cost of expert review etc. This is done by using I.T. Co’s and NRU HSE’s solution, which provides semantic search functionalities for effective selection of experts. Same algorithms enable experts to find articles and colleagues according to their competencies, provide choice of reviewers, etc. The rating algorithm solutions provide impartial assessment of experts by determining their competency level. As Expinet’s user value for customers will be based on the ability to provide quick and high quality expert reviews, the main advantage of the network is that it is able to arrange effective communication between experts. 

The customers, who may use or become interested in the functionalities of the expert network include state authorities, development and non-commercial partnership funds, research centers and major vertically-integrated holdings, which involve research and design institutes.

Boris Slavin, I.T. Co’s Director for Research and Innovations: “Cooperative tools, which also include social networks and software products, can often be used to solve innovative and non-standard tasks. But in real life this is possible only when combined with efforts of professional experts. Whatever the amazing opportunities of crowdsourcing technology are, such technology shouldn’t be overestimated. It is today’s expert network technology which is to eliminate the minuses of crowdsourcing together with the losses in possibilities, provided by modern mass communication technologies. The technology, which manages activities of an expert community, working within multi-user network communication system, is known as post-crowdsourcing technology. It is this technology that we are trying to put into action by launching our innovative solution – the Expinet expert network.”

There’s a prototype of an expert network software platform currently running on free Alfresco software, based on objectives, which were established during research and development stage. This prototype is used to apply computer-aided tools to activities of IT expert community. In addition, Expinet has already been involved in a number of major projects, including, among others, the expert review of the “Russian Federation IT Industry Development Strategy”, issued by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications late in April 2013. As the industry development strategy covers different aspects, a representative group of 15 experts was made, including IT service managers (including regional agencies), directors of IT companies, representatives of universities and scientific organizations, working in the IT area, etc. 

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