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Commons-based peer production is a term coined by Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler to describe a new model of economic production in which the creative energy of large numbers of people is coordinated (usually with the aid of the Internet) into large, meaningful projects mostly without traditional hierarchical organization (and often, but not always, without or with decentralized financial compensation). Often used interchangeably with the term social production, Benkler compares commons-based peer production to firm production (where a centralized decision process decides what has to be done and by whom) and market-based production (when tagging different prices to different jobs serves as an attractor to anyone interested in doing the job).

The term was first introduced in Benkler's seminal paper Coase's Penguin.[1] His 2006 book, The Wealth of Networks expands significantly on these ideas.

"People participate in peer production communities for a wide range of intrinsic and self-interested reasons....basically, people who participate in peer production communities love it. They feel passionate about their particular area of expertise and revel in creating something new or better." [2]

Another definition, by Aaron Krowne (Free Software Magazine): commons-based peer production

refers to any coordinated, (chiefly) internet-based effort whereby volunteers contribute project components, and there exists some process to combine them to produce a unified intellectual work. CBPP covers many different types of intellectual output, from software to libraries of quantitative data to human-readable documents (manuals, books, encyclopedias, reviews, blogs, periodicals, and more)."[3]

Contents

Examples

Examples of projects using commons-based peer production include:

Outgrowths

Several unexpected but foreseeable outgrowths have been:

  • Customization/Specialization. With free and open source software small groups have the capability to customize a large project according to specific needs.
  • Immortality. Once code is released under a copyleft free software license the genie cannot be put back into the bottle.
  • Cross-fertilization. Experts in a field can work on more than one project with no legal hassles.
  • Technology Revisions: A core technology gives rise to new implementations of existing projects.
  • Technology Clustering: Groups of products tend to cluster around a core set of technology and integrate with one another.

Related concepts

The ease in joining and leaving is a feature of adhocracies.

The principle of commons-based peer production is similar to collective invention, a model of open innovation in economics coined by Robert Allen.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Coase's Penguin or Linux and The nature of the firm - a paper by Yochai Benkler defining what Commons-Based Peer Production is and how it works. The paper also includes a long study of what motivates contributors.
  2. ^ Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2006), by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, Portfolio Books, p 70
  3. ^ Krowne, Aaron (March 1, 2005). "The FUD based encyclopedia: Dismantling the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt aimed at Wikipedia and other free knowledge sources". Free Software Magazine.
  4. ^ Robert C. Allen (1983): Collective invention. In: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 4(1), p. 1-24

External links

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