Communications of the Association for Information Systems


This paper motivates, describes, demonstrates in use, and evaluates the Open Models Laboratory (OMiLAB)—an open digital ecosystem designed to help one conceptualize and operationalize conceptual modeling methods. The OMiLAB ecosystem, which a generalized understanding of “model value” motivates, targets research and education stakeholders who fulfill various roles in a modeling method's lifecycle. While we have many reports on novel modeling methods and tools for various domains, we lack knowledge on conceptualizing such methods via a full-fledged dedicated open ecosystem and a methodology that facilitates entry points for novices and an open innovation space for experienced stakeholders. This gap continues due to the lack of an open process and platform for 1) conducting research in the field of modeling method design, 2) developing agile modeling tools and model-driven digital products, and 3) experimenting with and disseminating such methods and related prototypes. OMiLAB incorporates principles, practices, procedures, tools, and services required to address the issues above since it focuses on being the operational deployment for a conceptualization and operationalization process built on several pillars: 1) a granularly defined “modeling method” concept whose building blocks one can customize for the domain of choice, 2) an “agile modeling method engineering” framework that helps one quickly prototype modeling tools, 3) a model-aware “digital product design lab”, and 4) dissemination channels for reaching a global community. In this paper, we demonstrate and evaluate the OMiLAB in research with two selected application cases for domain- and case-specific requirements. Besides these exemplary cases, OMiLAB has proven to effectively satisfy requirements that almost 50 modeling methods raise and, thus, to support researchers in designing novel modeling methods, developing tools, and disseminating outcomes. We also measured OMiLAB’s educational impact.





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