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FOSS Academic

About page

Hi! This blog is meant to do two things.

First, one goal is to explore life as a “FOSS Academic” – someone who uses Free and Open Source technologies to do academic work. I’m hoping that my discussions of FOSS technologies in an academic setting help others – students, professors, university administrators – understand the benefits and values of FOSS in the academy. I’m not a developer, but I am a professor who’s been using FOSS to do his job for over a decade. I call this goal of exploring FOSS tools in the academy Goal 1.

Second, this blog has Goal 2 – otherwise known as my nefarious purpose. I’m planning a book-length project about the culture, politics, and technical elements of FOSS. So, in addition to writing about using FOSS tools to do academic work, I will also write about the world of FOSS itself. Sometimes, the two topics will collide in a single post. My intent here is to be more open about my own research process and writing.

You can learn more about the goals of the blog in the introductory post.

As for me, I’m Robert W. Gehl, a professor of Communication and Media Studies at York University. My actual title is long: Ontario Research Chair of Digital Governance for Social Justice. The long title basically means I do research and teaching at York. I’ve also been a Fulbright Canada Research Chair of Communication, Media, and Film at the University of Calgary. I’ve written three books: Reverse Engineering Social Media, which won the Association of Internet Researchers Nancy Baym Book Award, Weaving the Dark Web, and Social Engineering (co-authored with Sean Lawson). I’ve also published over two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles in venues such as New Media & Society, Communication Theory, and Social Media + Society.

Robert W Gehl using a laptop
Me, typing furiously on some document in a coffee shop.

You can see more of my work at my homepage.