Digital knowledge commons: Definition and conditions of existence

By Nicolas Jullien, Karine Roudaut

The term “knowledge commons” used to describe the projects of collective production of knowledge, especially online, refers to Ostrom & Ostrom’s work. Being non-rivalrous, knowledge appears alien to the issues of regulating access and exploitation of rival resources of traditional commons, or of more traditional scientific collaboration collectives. Thanks to three examples of online collective production (Debian, Georezo, Wikipedia), we specify what the shared resource is, and why it is rival. We thus show what the “digital knowledge commons” are: socio-technical systems of production of new knowledge. This analysis narrows down, but specifies what can be called knowledge commons and allows us to propose hypotheses on when, and how, commons can appear to organize the production of knowledge, especially scientific knowledge.
JEL Codes: H41, L17, O35

  • Collective Action
  • Digital Knowledge Commons
  • Resource
  • Rivalry
  • Exclusion
  • Regulation.
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