This article introduces the user-centered approach of co-creation for the self-reflexive development of research software in media and communication studies. In essence, three advantages of co-creation will be made apparent: First, co-creation enables research software to be developed densely with reference to existing research practices. Second, co-creation helps to develop research software close to the practices of people in everyday life and to take them seriously as research subjects. And third, co-creation supports the development of a community of researchers around the respective research software, thus securing its sustainability. To illustrate this the process of co-creation is discussed as a certain way of dealing with infrastructures, which reveals their internal mechanics, allowing researchers to adequately reflect on them. This then affords a discussion of the iterative process of co-creation in more detail, making people’s practices, the practices of researchers and the methods of implementation with their respective specific methods apparent, which are close to a qualitative research design in media and communication studies. The article concludes with a reflection on the potential of co-creation far beyond the development of research software.
The article was published as part of the DFG project "The sustainable provision of software for research on cross-media practices and digital traces". of the ZeMKI Lab Datafication and Mediatization and written by ZeMKI members Alessandro Belli, Prof. Dr. Andreas Hepp and Florian Hohmann.