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About the study

This study extends the work initially outlined in Yochai Benkler's The Wealth of Networks to provide a map of economic sectors relevant to development. Through this mapping exercise, we aim to capture the evolving actors' strategies towards "closedness" or "openness" and how they impact intellectual property adoption, enforcement, and innovation.

Looking at changes in and evolution of the markets, we want to be able to identify the motivations, pressures and other driving forces that act in a certain field and what are their consequences. Finally, by looking at the same time at different fields – alternative energy (solar, tide and wind), biotechnology (genomics and proteomics) and educational materials we are able to compare if the same interventions appear and what were their influences.

In addition to looking at traditional players -– for-profit, non-profit, universities and government -– the study will also identify and map commons-based approaches and creative business models that can be considered paradigmatic in terms of innovation in producing knowledge.

Additional goals of the project are:

1) Map the practices, organizations, and institutions that form the basis for creating commons-based information production in areas critical to long-term development in a global information economy.

2) Provide a source of ideas and learning opportunities for new social and educational agents who are considering new tasks, and thinking about how to approach their organization so as to leverage the power of distributed peers in support of their goals.

3) Provide data necessary to examine the success and sustainability of commons-based practices as part of the online policy and political debates over the importance, extension, or contraction of patents, copyrights, and similar exclusive rights and their implementation through the world trade system.

4) Provide a platform and context for practitioners and researchers interested in commons-based production, collaboration, development, and access to knowledge to network with each other, to learn from each other's work and in conversation with each other's practices.

5) Provide a rich set of materials to stimulate innovative organizational and institutional thinking among policy makers, at both the national and international levels; among civil society activists and social entrepreneurs; and among the small but growing portion of the business community that seeks to interact with practitioners of social production and achieve positive social outcomes.

6) Develop a political map of Intellectual Property dependency.

Meet our research team
For more information, contact Berkman Fellow Carolina Rossini (crossini AT