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Applying the Open Source Development Model to Knowledge Work

This paper introduces a distinction between two different types of information goods in order to analyse the processes governing the review and integration of multi-authored contributions to information goods such as those produced through collaborations using the Internet as well as modular information goods such as open source software. It is argued that these distinctions are important because they suggest different organisational arrangements for producing such information goods. This method of analysing the nature of the information goods is employed to examine different organisational arrangements using the analogy of collaboration for traditional publication to identify actors and processes. The analysis of 'contributors' is extended from authorship to collectors and researchers. The paper examines a small survey of the governance procedures employed in projects that employ open source methods for collecting various types of information. We noted the prime role of the recruitment process in the relative success of the examples that we examined (ODP, Wikipedia, Nupedia, MathLearning, VRoma, and Web of Life). For these 'collection' efforts, the role of hierarchy in editing and review of project submissions appears to be important than in open source communities and may be an impediment to recruitment and project development. A number of directions for further research are identified.

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File URL: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/Units/spru/publications/imprint/sewps/sewp94/sewp94.pdf
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Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 94.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:94
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  1. Juan Mateos Garcia & W. Edward Steinmueller, 2003. "The Open Source Way of Working: a New Paradigm for the Division of Labour in Software Development?," SPRU Working Paper Series 92, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
  2. Cowan Robin & David Paul & Foray Dominique, 1999. "The Explicit Economics of Knowledge Codification and Tacitness," Research Memorandum 025, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Steinmueller, W Edward, 2000. "Will New Information and Communication Technologies Improve the 'Codification' of Knowledge?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 361-76, June.
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