Prof. Dr. Christopher M. Kelty

Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

He is trained in science studies (history and anthropology) and has also written about methodological issues facing anthropology today.

Current projects include:

  • An NSF-funded research project on Participation. We compare cases of mediated participation in multiple domains (from free software to citizen journalism to science and engineering to culture and art). We are working on a “Bird Guide” to the organization and governance of participation today.
  • Ongoing research on aspects of “openness” in science, ranging from issues of open access to scholarly publications to openness and closure in scientific research both today, and in the past (in particular newsletters and forms of cooperation/coordination around model organisms like the Drosophila Information Service) and in the present in things like DIY Biology, Synthetic biology and open source science.
  • Ongoing historical/media theoretical investigation of the development of computer science, and in particular the development of “logical instruments” such as regular expressions, l-systems, formal languages, and other ways of making theories come alive in the study of life.
  • a new scholarly magazine called Limn.