The Reputation Society. Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey, editors. MIT Press, 2012.

In making decisions, we often seek advice. Online, we may check Amazon recommendations, eBay vendors’ histories, TripAdvisor ratings, and even our elected representatives’ voting records. In this book, experts discuss the benefits and risks of such online tools.

Properly designed reputation systems have the potential to create a Reputation Society, reshaping society for the better through the mediated judgments of billions of people. Effective design can also mitigate the pitfalls of online opinion sharing – motivating truth-telling, protecting personal privacy, and discouraging digital vigilantism.

Book chapters


Journal articles

Developing global health technology standards: what can other industries teach us? Hassan Masum, Rebecca Lackman, Karen Bartleson. Globalization and Health 2013 9(49).  doi:10.1186/1744-8603-9-49

"If implemented well, standardized platforms can lower barriers to entry, improve affordability, and create a vibrant ecosystem of innovative new global health technologies."

Ten Simple Rules for Cultivating Open Science and Collaborative R&D. Hassan Masum, Aarthi Rao, Benjamin M Good, Matthew H Todd, Aled M Edwards, Leslie Chan, Barry A Bunin, Andrew I Su, Zakir Thomas, Philip E Bourne. PLoS Computational Biology 2013 9(9):  e1003244. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003244

"If you want to apply open science and collaborative R&D, what principles are useful? We suggest Ten Simple Rules for Cultivating Open Science and Collaborative R&D. We also offer eight conversational interviews exploring life experiences that led to these rules."

Addressing Ethical, Social, and Cultural Issues in Global Health Research. James V Lavery, Shane K Green, Sunita VS Bandewar, Anant Bhan, Abdallah Daar, Claudia I Emerson, Hassan Masum, Filippo M Randazzo, Jerome A Singh, Ross EG Upshur, Peter A Singer. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2013 7(8): e2227. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002227

"We draw on lessons we have learned during our experiences with the [Ethical, Social and Cultural] Program of the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative to propose key features of [consultation services in research ethics] that may prove useful for those designing or implementing similar programs."

Franchising Rabies Vaccine Delivery: The Case of Indian Immunologicals. Hassan Masum, Hima Batavia, Natasha Bhogal, Kim Le, Peter A Singer. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2011 5(4): e946. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000946 (Also included in the World Health Organization / Public Library of Science special collection World Health Report 2012: No Health Without Research.)

"Indian Immunologicals Ltd. has contributed to rabies vaccination in India by developing a low-cost rabies vaccine, a national franchise distribution network of 3,000 clinics, and social awareness strategies. . . . this vaccine delivery and awareness model may hold lessons for future [neglected disease] efforts."

Indian vaccine innovation: the case of Shantha Biotechnics. Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, Kumar Perampaladas, Jennifer Heys, Peter A Singer. BMC Globalizalization and Health. 2011 Apr 20;7(1):9.

"Home-grown companies in the developing world are becoming a source of low-cost, locally relevant healthcare R&D for therapeutics such as vaccines."

Open Source Biotechnology Platforms for Global Health and Development: Two Case Studies. Hassan Masum, Karl Schroeder, Myra Khan, and Abdallah S Daar. Information Technologies & International Development, 7(1) , Spring 2011: 61–69.

"[W]e examine the potential of open source biotechnology platforms for global health and development. Two initiatives relying on collaborative online platforms are analyzed: projects by the nonprofit institute Cambia and India’s Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) project."

Science-based health innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. Sara Al-Bader, Hassan Masum, Ken Simiyu, Abdallah S Daar, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S1 (13 December 2010). 

"[This] series presents the results of extensive on-the-ground research in the form of four country case studies of health and biotechnology innovation, six studies of institutions within Africa involved in health product development, and one study of health venture funds in Africa."

Africa's largest long-lasting insecticide-treated net producer: lessons from A to Z Textiles. Hassan Masum, Ronak Shah, Karl Schroeder, Abdallah S Daar, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S6 (13 December 2010).

"One of the largest sources of bed nets for Africa, A to Z Textiles is Africa-based, and its Tanzanian operations have a production capacity of 30 million [Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated nets] per year, along with full WHO recommendation for its nets."

Can incubators work in Africa? Acorn Technologies and the entrepreneur-centric model. Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S7 (13 December 2010).

"[A South African] publicly funded incubator founded in 2002, Acorn Technologies, helped to catalyze local health product innovation."

Venture capital on a shoestring: Bioventures’ pioneering life sciences fund in South Africa. Hassan Masum, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S8 (13 December 2010).

"Bioventures, the first VC company focused on life sciences investment in sub-Saharan Africa . . . . has learned lessons about how the traditional VC model might evolve to tackle health challenges facing Africa, including how to raise funds and educate investors; how to select, value, and support investments; and how to understand the balance between financial and social returns."

Harnessing biodiversity: the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA). Manveen Puri, Hassan Masum, Jennifer Heys, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S9 (13 December 2010).

"The Malagasy Institute of Applied Research (IMRA) has employed bioprospecting to develop new health treatments for conditions such as diabetes and burns."

Turning science into health solutions: KEMRI’s challenges as Kenya’s health product pathfinder. Ken Simiyu, Hassan Masum, Justin Chakma, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S10 (13 December 2010).

"KEMRI faced many challenges in its attempt at health product development, including shifting markets, lack of infrastructure, inadequate financing, and weak human capital with respect to innovation. . . . The findings could have implications for other research institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa seeking to develop health products."

The road to commercialization in Africa: lessons from developing the sickle-cell drug Niprisan. Kumar Perampaladas, Hassan Masum, Andrew Kapoor, Ronak Shah, Abdallah S Daar, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S11 (13 December 2010).

"[C]ountries in sub-Saharan Africa face barriers in translating traditional medicinal knowledge into commercially viable health products. . . . The case study method was used to illustrate efforts to overcome these barriers during the development in Nigeria of Niprisan – a novel drug for the treatment of sickle cell anemia, a chronic blood disorder with few effective therapies."

Venture funding for science-based African health innovation. Hassan Masum, Justin Chakma, Ken Simiyu, Wesley Ronoh, Abdallah S Daar, Peter A Singer. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010, 10(Suppl 1):S12 (13 December 2010).

"This paper uses lessons learned from five venture capital firms from Kenya, South Africa, China, India, and the US to suggest design principles for African health venture funds."

Market-Minded Development. Hima Batavia, Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, & Peter Singer. Stanford Social Innovation Review Winter 2011:66-71.

"Acumen Fund was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit social venture capital firm that uses entrepreneurial approaches to tackle problems of poverty in developing countries. . . . Whether these business models reach significant scale or inspire governments, multilateral health organizations, and commercial financiers to reinvent health systems will determine social venture capital’s future role in global health."

India's billion dollar biotech. Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, Kumar Perampaladas, Jennifer Heys & Peter A Singer. Nature Biotechnology 28, 783 (2010) doi:10.1038/nbt0810-783.

"By focusing on an unmet medical need, providing a cost-efficient solution and reinvesting the resulting revenues into R&D and state-of-the-art manufacturing, Shantha Biotechnics was able to build one of India’s first biotech successes."

Five promising methods for health foresight. Hassan Masum, Jody Ranck, and Peter A Singer. Foresight Journal, 2010, Vol.12 No.1, pp 54-66.

"This paper aims to show through empirical examples how five foresight methods have provided value in medicine and global health, and to argue for greater use of health foresight."

Public engagement on global health challenges. Emma RM Cohen, Hassan Masum, Kathryn Berndtson, et al. BMC Public Health, 2008 May 20, 8:168.

"[G]ives an overview about public engagement and related concepts, with a particular focus on challenges and benefits in the developing world. We then describe an Internet-based platform, which seeks to both inform and engage youth and the broader public on global water issues and their health impacts."

Accelerating health product innovation in sub-Saharan Africa. Hassan Masum, Abdallah S Daar, Sara al-Badr, Ronak Shah, and Peter A Singer. Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, Fall 2007, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp 129-149.

"Lays out an ambitious yet achievable plan for a network of "convergence centers" - facilities which will bring together local scientists, entrepreneurs, business people, and investors to develop affordable health products and services focused on local health needs."

A visual dashboard for moving health technologies from "lab to village". Hassan Masum and Peter A Singer. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2007;9(4):e32.

"[We have modeled the] myriad forces and issues involved in moving health technologies from the lab to those who need them. . . . we focus on extending the model into a dashboard and examine how this dashboard can be used to manage the information related to the path from lab to village."

A tough transition. Peter A Singer, Kathryn Berndtson, C Shawn Tracy, Emma RM Cohen, Hassan Masum, James V Lavery, and Abdallah S Daar. Nature, September 13 2007 (Vol.449, pp 160-163).

"The path from basic scientific discovery to effective therapy is rarely rapid or simple, especially in the developing world. Making this transition easier is a sizeable and pressing problem."

Given enough minds...: bridging the ingenuity gap. Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey.  First Monday, July 2006 (Vol.11, No.7). (Reprinted in Nonprofit Online News Journal, November 2006, pp 19-58.)

"Our challenge is to make a [sustainable, scaleable, and open] problem–solving infrastructure so much fun that it becomes a natural, widely accepted custom — a combination of widely available software, open science, and open content that leads to open participation in building our common future."

MusicGrid: a case study in broadband video collaborationHassan Masum, Martin Brooks, and John Spence.  First Monday, May 2005 (Vol.10, No.5).

"Running from 2002 to 2004 with partners in several Canadian and international locations, [MusicGrid] ran over one hundred successful multi–site education and performance sessions. . . . We believe that our experience and the opportunities and issues identified will be useful to all those interested in large–scale, video–based collaboration projects."

Using S&T foresight to augment organizational tool kits: a Canadian institutional-entrepreneurial experiment.  Jack Smith, Hassan Masum, Raymond Bouchard, Peter Kallai, and Eric Lockeberg.  R&D Management, November 2004 (Vol. 34, No. 5, pp. 579-589).

"Explore[s] recent Canadian federal experience in developing S&T foresight and creating knowledge sharing networks aimed at creating integrative capacities and convergent domains that involve fusions of several disciplines."

Manifesto for the reputation societyHassan Masum and Yi-Cheng Zhang.  First Monday, July 2004 (Vol.9, No.7).

"By leveraging our limited and local human judgement power with collective networked filtering, it is possible to promote an interconnected ecology of socially beneficial reputation systems — to restrain the baser side of human nature, while unleashing positive social changes and enabling the realization of ever higher goals."

The Turing ratio: a framework for open-ended task metrics. Hassan Masum, Steffen Christensen, and Franz Oppacher. Journal of Evolution and Technology, October 2003 (Vol.13, Issue 2).

"We suggest an extension of [the Turing Test] to a more differentiated measure - the "Turing Ratio" - which provides a framework for comparing human and algorithmic task performance, up to and beyond human performance levels."

TOOL: The Open Opinion Layer. Hassan Masum. First Monday, July 2002 (Vol.7, No.7). Creating an open "Internet of Opinions".

"This article explores the development of a distributed open opinion layer, which is given the generic name of TOOL. Similar to the evolution of network protocols as an underlying layer for many computational tasks, we suggest that TOOL has the potential to become a common substrate upon which many scientific, commercial, and social activities will be based."

Partners in progress: S&T productivity in NRC and Canada's research universities. Hassan Masum and Jack Smith. The Innovation Journal, March 2002.

"We demonstrate that [the National Research Council of Canada]'s performance compares favorably with that of Canada's research universities relative to its funding, show that both parties would benefit from an increased level of collaboration, and suggest methodology for future work in this area."

Switching models for nonstationary random environments. BJ Oommen and Hassan Masum. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, September 1995; pp 1334-1339.

"The authors present three models of nonstationarity in learning automata, which are stochastic finite state machines that attempt to learn the characteristic of an unknown random environment with which they interact. . . . The question of analyzing the various learning machines when interacting with these environments introduces an entire new avenue of open research problems."

Reports and conference papers

Open Source for Neglected Diseases: Magic Bullet or Mirage? Hassan Masum and Rachelle Harris. Results for Development Institute, 2011.

"This landscaping paper discusses open source approaches for research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases and their potential to lower costs and R&D time frames, increase collaboration, and build a knowledge commons."

Roadmapping the Grand Challenges in Global Health.  Hassan Masum.  McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, 2007.

Statistical analysis of heuristics for evolving sorting networks. Lee Graham, Hassan Masum, and Franz Oppacher. GECCO-2005; June 2005, Washington DC, USA.

Explorations in 4-peg tower of HanoiBen Houston and Hassan Masum.  Carleton University Technical Report TR-04-10, November 2004.

Beyond ISS: normative foresight reveals stepping stones to the futureJack Smith, David Crabtree, Steffen Christensen, and Hassan Masum.  IAC 2004: 55th International Astronautical Congress (Vancouver, Canada; October 4-8, 2004).

NRC science and technology foresight pilot project: scenarios workshop reportGovernment of Canada publication, June 2003. A look forward to 2025, from a large Canadian scenarios exercise drawing from a broad range of participants.

From institutional R&D to entrepreneurial knowledge networks. Jack Smith, Hassan Masum, Raymond Bouchard, Peter Kallai, and Eric Lockeberg.   R&D Management Conference 2003; July 2003, Manchester, U.K.

The Turing ratio: metrics for open-ended tasks. Hassan Masum, Steffen Christensen and Franz Oppacher. GECCO-2002; July 2002, New York City, USA.

Regulatory networks and genomic algorithms. Hassan Masum and Franz Oppacher. SCI 2001 / ISAS 2001; July 2001, Orlando, USA.

From genetic to genomic algorithms: steps toward an interdisciplinary synthesis of evolutionary and molecular computation. Hassan Masum, Franz Oppacher, and George Carmody. Carleton Journal of Computer Science, Spring 2001.

Estimating risk-neutral probability measures in GIMMC4, and Monte Carlo simulation in the integrated market and credit portfolio model in IPSW5. (Both papers in the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences workshop proceedings from June 2001.)

Reputation layers for open-source development. Hassan Masum. Position paper at the First Workshop on Open-Source Software Engineering, in ICSE 2001; May 2001, Toronto, Canada.

Genomic algorithms: metaphors from molecular genetics. Hassan Masum, Franz Oppacher and George Carmody. Workshop Proceedings of GECCO-2000; July 2000, Las Vegas, USA; pp 173-178.

On modelling nonstationary random environments using switching techniques. BJ Oommen and Hassan Masum. Proceedings of the 1993 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics; October 1993, France; pp 572-577.

Blog posts

Other publications
  • Decomposition and optimization in near-hierarchical Boolean function systemsHassan Masum.  Ph.D. thesis, Carleton University, 2003.
  • Review of Algorithmics for Hard Problems.  Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, June 2003, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp 6-8.
  • Decoding biological systems with evolutionary computation.  Hassan Masum.  Complexity, January 2003, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp 42-44.
  • Review of A New Kind of Science.  Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, December 2002, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp 15-21.
  • A primer for simulation of concise models.  Hassan Masum.  Complexity, November 2001, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp 16-18.
  • An introduction to support vector machines. Hassan Masum.  ACM intelligence, Summer 2001, Vol. 12 No. 2.
  • Review of How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics.  Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, March 2001, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp 8-12.
  • Review of Data Structures and Algorithms in Java (2nd ed).  Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, March 2001, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp 3-5.
  • Review of Computational Geometry: Algorithms and Applications (2nd ed.)   Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, December 2000, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp 10-12.
  • Review of Microsurveys in Discrete Probability.  Hassan Masum.  SIGACT News, September 2000, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp 22-24.
  • "To boldly go" - Haiku Pentacycle. In Star Trek: The Poems, Valerie Laws (Editor); Iron Press, 2000 (ISBN 0906228778).