commons research

Report on the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture

Mike Linksvayer, September 22nd, 2008

Giorgos Cheliotis has written a report on Free Culture 2008, last mentioned here when the program was announced. Here’s an excerpt describing the final session, A Research and Action Agenda for Free Culture:

This was the most important session for the future of research on free culture. The aim of the session was to (a) identify future directions that would be ripe with research challenges but also promising to yield insight that would be useful to the practice of free culture advocacy, and (b) make an assessment of the workshop and decide whether to repeat it and in what format.

The session started with a discussion of potential areas of research, where the collection of more data and the visualization of this data for intuitive exploration and communication of findings was proposed as one potential area of focus. Action research was also mentioned as a methodology that would be relevant in the context of practice-inspired and practice-informed research. Global-scope studies and comparative studies across multiple jurisdictions were also favored by some participants as areas needing much more development. But the discussion quickly turned to practical issues, such as how to organize a network for continuous communication and collaboration among interested researchers and whether we should plan a journal special issue, or a special track in an existing research conference.

Participants tried to propose solutions to the perennial problem of engaging in interdisciplinary collaborations while at the same time being respected in one’s own scientific community. There was some consensus that we should not attempt to create a new discipline, but that we nevertheless need venues and opportunities to engage in cross-disciplinary dialogue and do research across disciplinary boundaries, as the phenomena that interest us the most tend to cut across multiple dimensions of the Internet, including law, IT, economics, communications, media studies and policy (just to name a few).

The most concrete and positive outcome of the entire workshop was the unanimous agreement of all participants to the idea of repeating this gathering on an annual basis. Epitomizing the positive assessment of this year’s proceedings was Lawrence Lessig’s proposal to help find a venue for the workshop next year and also to help turn it into a larger and more substantive academic conference, a proposal that was greeted with enthusiasm by the rest of the participants in the session.

The rest of the discussion focused on what the envisioned conference should look like, in light of the lessons we learned from Free Culture 2008. It was tentatively agreed to raise the bar for participation at the conference next year by requiring that presenters submit a full paper at some stage in the process (this year it was optional and selection was based solely on extended abstracts). This, along with having more time dedicated to research presentations and research-focused discussion will help ensure that next year’s event will be more focused and session participation will be more consistent, which will be essential to building rapport and promoting genuine dialogue among participants.

Some participants also voiced concerns with respect to the conference potentially attaining too much of a traditional academic character and losing the relative spontaneity and participatory nature of the iSummit. It was therefore suggested that we maintain some slots for open discussion and seek to synthesize perspectives and findings in the form of panels or by any other means, instead of focusing only on single-person presentations. Finally, several potential publishing venues were brought up but it was agreed that it is somewhat premature to be concerned with this at the moment and we should rather focus our energies in planning Free Culture 2009.

Read the whole report and look forward to Free Culture 2009!

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Assessing the Commons: Social Metrics for the New Media Landscape

Melissa Reeder, September 3rd, 2008

Hopefully, everyone that supports CC also knows that we’re a non-profit organization. As such, we rely on individual, corporate, and foundation support to sustain our operations. This past spring, CC submitted a proposal called Assessing the Commons: Social Metrics for the New Media Landscape to the Social Science Research Center (SSRC). This grant would fund CC and Giorgos Cheliotis of CC Singapore and the National University of Singapore to conduct research on the “global patterns of CC license use, as well as develop metrics showing penetration and impact of open licensing, per jurisdiction and globally.” Sadly, it was denied, but they saw great promise in it, along with a number of other projects.

Because they saw so much promise in projects they were unable to fund, they decided to start their Honorable Mentions page. They are using this hub as a way to pitch these projects to other interested foundations. Check out our project, and feel free to pass it along to anyone you think might be interested. To indirectly support this project by supporting CC’s operations, please visit our donate page.

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The Metrics Project Now Live!

Tim Hwang, July 9th, 2008

Tim Hwang, Business Development Intern here. Along with Jon Phillips and many others, we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes and excited to announce today that we’ve officially launched the Creative Commons Metrics Project!

Recently, there’s been a growing academic interest in understanding how CC adoption is changing the creative landscape worldwide. Metrics is a wiki-project designed to bring together existing efforts and encourage collaboration on this emerging field of research.

You can read more details about the project on our Press Releases page, and can visit the project directly to browse what we’ve gathered so far (and contribute!).

(image: Giorgos Cheliotis’ chart of global CC adoption and permissiveness — learn more about his amazing work at the Participatory Media Lab)

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First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture program announced

Mike Linksvayer, July 6th, 2008

The program for the First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture has been announced:

We received 29 submissions for research presentations and each submission was reviewed by at least 3 reviewers, sometimes more! So the total was about 90 reviews written in a rather short amount of time. Of course we’re talking about extended abstracts here so reviews were sometimes very short, but this is still quite an achievement I believe. After careful consideration of the review results and other factors (having a good mix of presentations, diversity, inclusion, expected interest) we decided among the chairs to accept 16 papers for presentation (55% acceptance rate) and another 5 for posters.

Generally many papers received favorable reviews, even if some reviews were quite critical, so we opted for a model of maximum inclusion, where we want to give everyone with a sufficiently interesting submission a chance to present their work. The inevitable downside is that the research track will dedicate a fair amount of time to traditional “academic” presentations, but we have made space for a 1-hour speedgeeking session and a 1.5 hour open discussion on setting a commons research agenda. Also, all participants will naturally be able to mingle with every other isummit participant during breaks, social events, etc, so overall there should be a fair balance between ad-hoc participation and structured presentations.

Congratulations to researchers with accepted submissions and the workshop chairs, Giorgos Cheliotis, Tyng-Ruey Chuang, and Jonathan Zittrain.

The workshop runs for three days, July 30-August 1 in Sapporo, Japan in conjunction with iSummit’08. We posted about the workshop CFP in April.

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Final reminder: First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture CFP

Mike Linksvayer, April 21st, 2008

Submissions due April 26. Head on over to the complete CFP.

The program chairs are Jonathan Zittrain, Oxford University, UK, Tyng-Ruey Chuang, Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and Giorgos Cheliotis, Singapore Management University, Singapore.

This is a fantastic opportunity for researchers studying the commons to share with peers in this highly interdisciplinary field.

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CFP: First Interdisciplinary Research Workshop on Free Culture

Mike Linksvayer, April 3rd, 2008

Submissions are due April 26. This track should make iSummit 2008 the most exciting so far. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Studies on the use and growth of open/free licensing models;
  • Critical analyses of the role of Creative Commons or similar models in promoting a free culture;
  • Building innovative technical, legal or business solutions and interfaces between the sharing economy and the commercial economy;
  • Modelling incentives, innovation and community dynamics in open collaborative peer production and in related social networks;
  • Economic models for the sustainability of Commons-based production;
  • Successes and failures of open licensing;
  • Analyses of policies, court rulings or industry moves that influence the future of Free Culture;
  • Regional studies of Free Culture;
  • Lessons from implementations of open/free licensing and distribution models for specific communities;
  • Definitions of openness and freedom for different media types, users and communities;
  • Broader sociopolitical, legal and cultural implications of Free Culture initiatives and peer production practices.

The iSummit overall will be the most diverse yet. Submissions for other tracks are due April 18, more info here.

Previously: commons-research list announced.

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commons-research list

Mike Linksvayer, February 11th, 2008

There’s a new mailing list spearheaded by Giorgos Cheliotis (see past posts concerning his research) has been set up for researchers critiquing, investigating, quantifying, or otherwise researching Creative Commons and the commons more broadly. Researchers from all fields are welcome.

Visit commons-research to join (thanks again to ibiblio for hosting this and many other CC-related resources over the years).

There’s also a research stub article on the CC wiki for gathering additional resources, including a potential research track at our upcoming annual summit.

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Participatory Media Lab launch with ccMixter analysis

Mike Linksvayer, January 14th, 2008

Giorgos Cheliotis‘ group at Singapore Management University has launched a site for their Participatory Media Lab, featuring a working paper on ccMixter reuse patterns titled Remix Culture: Creative Reuse and the Licensing of Digital Media in Online Communities (pdf) and including data and visualizations from this and earlier research on open content, previously blogged here last October and June.

At Asia and Commons in the Information Age (ACIA) this weekend Giorgos will present on Licensing Attitudes in Asia and (mis)Perceptions of Free Culture.

I’m very eager for additional researchers to take a serious look at all aspects of the use and reuse of CC licensed works. My talk at ACIA will be on this subject: Toward Useful CC Adoption Metrics.

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“creative commons” percentage by top level domain

Mike Linksvayer, October 15th, 2007

At the CC Greece launch Diomidis Spinellis presented a very interesting (but crude, with many caveats) look at CC adoption worldwide:

To compile the metrics I used the Internet Systems Consortium July 2007 list of top-level domain names by host count distribution. From that I selected the 71 domains with more than 100,000 hosts. I then run a Google search for all pages in each domain (for instance .edu) and a search for the pages in that domain containing the string “creative commons”. The results, ordered by the percentage of pages containing the consecutive words “creative commons”, (most of which are presumably licensed by a corresponding license) are striking.

Go check out the entire list, but a few tidbits:

  • Yugoslavia (.yu) has the highest percentage of pages containing the string “creative commons”, an amazing 16.56%. There is no CC Yugloslavia, though CC Serbia is an upcoming jurisdiction.
  • Greece (which only got jurisdiction licenses on Saturday) is at #11.
  • Luxembourg, which gets jurisdiction licenses today, follows at #12.
  • Of course “unported” licenses are available for use anywhere, and apparently are being used heavily in places without jurisdiction licenses. The next ranking top level domain without corresponding launched CC jurisdiction ported licenses is Morocco, at #15. CC Morocco, anyone?
  • Spain (at #5) and Latin American domains rank high, corresponding nicely with Giorgos Cheliotis’ research, which found (using completely different methods, and looking only at jurisdiction ported licenses) that Spainish licenses stand out in terms of CC adoption.
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Taking Stock of the Creative Commons Experiment

Mike Linksvayer, October 2nd, 2007

As Creative Commons approaches its 5th birthday it makes sense for papers to appear with titles like Taking Stock of the Creative Commons Experiment: Monitoring the Use of Creative Commons Licenses and Evaluating Its Implications for the Future of Creative Commons and for Copyright Law. This paper, presented a few days ago at TPRC 2007 (though not the final version), is from Giorgos Cheliotis, Warren Chik, Ankit Guglani, Giri Kumar Tayi. It offers an expanded and extremely interesting analysis expanding on that presented by Cheliotis this summer at our annual summit.

Read the paper or just skim for some neat graphs concerning CC license adoption and license mix against criteria such as region, wealth, population, and license launch date.

If you’re in San Francisco you can ask in person about this research as Giorgos Cheliotis will be one of the presenters at next week’s CC Salon. A full announcement for that event will be posted here soon.


Giorgos Cheliotis at iSummit 2007, photo by Dominick Chen licensed under CC BY.

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