Learning Across Open Collaboration Perspectives

I’m at WikiSym + OpenSym 2013 and happy to notice that some of the hoped-for magic is happening: A cross-polination of insights and ideas across the different disciplinary perspectives on open collaboration.

Specifically, I found that open source has developed insights of value to open access, open data, Wikipedia, etc. that have arrived only now or not yet in these communities. Two examples are non-discriminatory licenses and higher quality through openness.

Non-discriminatory licenses

Open source is by definition non-discriminatory. Open access, in particular Creative Commons and Wikipedia, learned this the hard way: The NC clause of the Creative Commons family of licenses creates more problems than it solves (I also heard about a funny, probably valid, argument for the NC clause—it is an entry level clause that makes people feel comfortable with open licenses and thus reduces the barrier to a first contribution. So maybe there is value in the NC clause, even if not the one originally intended.)

Higher quality through openness

According to Phil Bourne, many academics believe that open access papers are inferior to trad. papers from behind a paywall. From open source we know that open source code is of higher quality than closed source code, because developers are extra diligent to avoid public embarrassment (and a host of other reasons, including mass peer review). I expect that mass peer review in addition to traditional expert peer review will make open access papers superior to closed access papers who passed expert peer review only.

That’s it! Two happy learnings from WikiSym + OpenSym 2013!

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