We are thrilled to announce that our team (@Michelle @Pat @Joshua @bernieh @glp2 @caden @Kate) has received NIH-funding to take Network Canvas in an exciting new direction.
Over the next 5 years, we will develop an enhanced cloud-based version of our existing software. This new platform, which we call “Network Canvas Studio,” will provide researchers with a means of collecting social network data remotely and at-scale while still maintaining the low technical burden, ease-of-use, and other qualities that define our existing software.
Network Canvas Studio will include all the features of the current desktop and tablet software, but will also provide several significant enhancements:
A web-browser based interview experience that will work across devices and be suitable for both remote self-administration and co-production.
The ability for research teams to collaboratively design, share, and edit an interview protocol from within the browser.
Added functionality for longitudinal studies that allows data to be pulled forward from previous interviews.
An open API to provide access to data and real-time integration with analysis software and cloud workbooks.
A role-based access control system that allows large project teams to have granular control over data access and management.
Survey deployment tools which enable the dynamic scheduling of surveys and the sampling of study participants.
Enhanced accessibility features, including language localization, to ensure our software meets web content accessibility guidelines and the needs of diverse participants.
We owe much of the vision for the planned development to you - our community of users and supporters - who have provided feedback and insights from the field over the last five years. We hope that the planned enhancements address many of the issues that you have raised with us, and we look forward to continuing to work with you as we refine the design and development of the new platform.
Community input will continue to play an important role in development decisions, so please stay tuned for ways you can get involved as the project advances. We anticipate conducting a user survey to better understand specific researcher needs for the platform followed by focus groups around salient topics (e.g., cloud-based platform and remote self-administration, language localization and web accessibility, open API functionality, standardization of network data measurement, longitudinal data capture).
As with the original development of the Network Canvas Software Suite, it will be some time before the new platform is available for public use, but we will continue to share updates as we complete key development milestones. However, if you are interested in contributing to the formative stages of this work, there will be opportunities to serve as formal collaborative pilot partners and informal early testers over the next few years.
Our team is excited to embark on the development of Network Canvas Studio, and to continue producing community-driven tools to support personal networks research across diverse contexts.
Q: What will this mean for the existing Network Canvas Architect and Interviewer apps?
The existing Network Canvas Architect and Interviewer apps will continue to be available for download through our website; however, these apps will remain in their current state, save potential bug fixes as necessary. We continue to encourage community extensions to improve our software, whether small bug fixes or the addition of new features.
Q. Will the new platform be compatible with the existing Network Canvas applications?
We plan to develop the ability to import existing Network Canvas protocols into Studio so that researchers can benefit from the functionality of the new platform without needing to start protocol design from scratch. However, it is unlikely that we will develop the ability to export data from the new platform into the existing Network Canvas Software Suite, unless there is significant demand for this feature, and we can secure additional funding to support its development.
We see the new platform as complementing the existing Network Canvas Software Suite - not as a replacement. If your work requires offline data collection, or if you are already in the process of collecting data, the existing Network Canvas tools may continue to be the best option.
Q. Will the new platform be open-source? How much will it cost?
We are committed to making the new Studio platform open-source and free to use. We will be releasing the code on GitHub as we develop it, just as we did in the development of the original Network Canvas suite (Complex Data Collective · GitHub). Researchers will always have the option to self-host the platform, which may be free or low-cost depending on your institution’s IT infrastructure.
We will also seek to support the software’s development by providing the option to pay to access a centrally-managed version of the platform. We will be sharing more details about this in the coming months.
Q. What is the best way to learn more about the new Studio platform?
We plan to develop a dedicated website for Studio that will house user documentation and other important information about the project. As soon as this site is live, we will announce it via this community site, our project listserv, and twitter.
For questions related to collaboration with our team, including serving as a formal pilot partner and contributing to development efforts as an early tester, please contact us at email@example.com.
Periodically, we will plan to post updates about Studio’s development to this community site to keep you informed about significant development milestones. We hope this community continues to grow and look forward to further exchange directly between users!