The rise of the Internet has made it possible for knowledge to be created and shared in ways that emphasise its character as a common good, rather than as something to be owned. In the world of open source programming, the computer software is distributed under licence, allowing users to change or share the software’s source code – the human readable version of a computer programme.
This report explores what other fields have to learn from open source methods – they bring principles and working methods which can help to produce better knowledge, goods or services, or make them available on more widely beneficial terms. From the formulation of public policy to more open forms of academic peer review, setting up mutual support groups for people facing similar health problems to collaborative forms of social innovation, the principles of open source promise to radically alter the way we approach complex social problems.
Posted on: 18 April 2005