Online / 5 & 6 February 2022


Code Liberation and Software Sustainability

The Prospero Experience

Developed from 1995 onward, Prospero is a framework for longitudinal analysis of text corpora. Based on dictionaries and semi-automatic classification, it mainly allows its user to combine approaches of statistical computation, co-occurrence network and search for nested patterns. Inspired by pragmatic sociology, it focuses on the multiple forms of expression and argumentation used by actors, on language regimes and on the identification of transformations occurring in the research case. Initially distributed commercially, then from 2011, by the Doxa association, as shareware under a non-profit and ethical charter, it is now hosted by the Corpora association and developed under the aGPLV3 CECILL variant Affero compliant license.

In this presentation, we will discuss more specifically the question of the permanence of a research-targeted software approach, through its evolution over almost 30 years. During this period, evolving expectations and technical developments have led to a client/server step (which remained in the prototype stage) and now to the transition to SaaS. Based on this experience, we will also discuss the conditions we consider relevant for the durability of the software in a new interconnected phase. The broadening of its audience of users and developers calls for ever greater interoperability, on the technical level, but with an approach that combines non-profit and academic models (with limited resources) and business uses.

Josquin Debaz With a PhD in history of science, he has worked more than 10 years on contemporary controversies in health, environment and energy at GSPR (Pragmatic and Reflexive Sociology Group, EHESS). He is now developer at Finsit. With F. Chateauraynaud, he published Aux bords de l'irréversible. Sociologie pragmatique des transformations (Paris, Pétra, 2017).

Waldir Lisboa Rocha With a degree in Environmental Engineering, he co-founded Luminae, an energy efficiency company, where he served as Chief Operating Officer between 2008 and 2012, before deciding to make a turn in his career and dedicate himself to the Social Sciences. He holds a Master's degree in Sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales - EHESS, and is currently working on his PhD at the same institution, in which he is focusing on the relations between media, inquiry and democracy. In parallel to his academic research, he has been dedicated to the conception and structuring of Prefigura, an experimental institution, and of Enumera, an operating ecosystem.


Photo of Josquin Debaz Josquin Debaz
Photo of Waldir Lisboa Rocha Waldir Lisboa Rocha