Prof Pär Ågerfalk - Open Source Software Development
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With ties to the research centre stretching back to 2005, Prof Pär Ågerfalk has been involved with Lero since its very inception. Now a professor at Sweden’s Uppsala University, Prof Ågerfalk is a former research fellow at Lero. A widely published researcher, Prof Ågerfalk’s areas of research within systems development focus on digital practices, such as open source software development.
“I initially moved to Limerick to study as a postdoctoral researcher at University of Limerick because there were professors working in UL that I had cited in my own PhD work. I thought it was a great opportunity to work with people who I had great respect for. At the time, I was working alongside professor Brian Fitzgerald (who is now Director of Lero), so when he moved to Lero in 2005, I moved with him. I was there from 2005 to 2007 as a research fellow, working on EU projects and Science Foundation Ireland funded projects, primarily on open source and global software development.
As part of our research at Lero, we looked at three different aspects of systems development: global projects, where we had participants from different parts of the world; agile methods, seeing how we could be more flexible in systems development; and open source. We tried combining those three aspects in different ways, looking at how industry partners and organisations use those approaches.
My current research focuses on digital practices, which are everywhere. With regards to my research in open source software, one main application is the software’s capability for commercial use. At Lero, we studied how people use and develop information technology in various practices, which is something that I’ve been continuing with. The developments today in artificial intelligence and machine learning represent what the near future holds in this research area.
Lero provided a great environment and international network that I could tap into. I enjoy collaborating and working in networks, which is a great benefit of Lero. Lero also provides research funding and allows you to travel to conferences, and participate in international projects.
By collaborating with people at Lero, I learned how to publish research at the highest level, and was involved in some important publications. The atmosphere there is very helpful, and I gained valuable insight into the political side of research and the importance of collaborating. The international experience and publication record that I developed in my years at Lero are things that helped get me to where I am now. Tapping into the networks of people in Lero was important and it’s something that I’ve brought with me to my current job. Industry collaboration was strong at Lero and that is something we are building towards here. That’s a perspective that I have taken with me and I think is really important.
I am now a professor at Uppsala University in the Department of Informatics and Media. I am also the editor in chief of the European Journal of Information Systems, which I got involved with during my time at Lero.
The advice I’d give to researchers starting out in Lero would be to try to leverage the interaction with the people there as much as possible. I am happy that I have maintained relationships with the people I got to know at Lero and I still work with them and involve them in different collaborations. Lero has really grown over the last 15 years, and has allowed software researchers in Ireland to join forces and create something more than each university could have achieved individually. Lero is a name that people recognise. People know Lero and the people in Lero.