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Beyond Open Source Software:An Introduction to Researching Open Content

Chitu Okoli
Concordia University, Canada


Abstract
The same open source philosophy that has been traditionally applied to software development can be applied to the collaborative creation of non-software information products, such as books, music and video. Such products are generically referred to as open content or free cultural works. Due largely to the success of large projects such as Wikipedia and the Creative Commons, open content has gained increasing attention not only in the popular media, but also in scholarly research. It is important to rigorously investigate the workings of the open source process in these new media of expression. This paper introduces the scope of emerging research on the open content phenomenon, other than open source software. We develop a framework for categorizing copyrightable works as utilitarian, factual, aesthetic or opinioned works. Based on these categories, we consider the applicability of some implications of findings from open source software research for open content. We also briefly review the literature for some specific directions of open content research, involving the quality of products, the marketing of digital music, and open content in developing countries.

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Reference:Okoli, C. (2010). "Beyond Open Source Software:An Introduction to Researching Open Content," . Sprouts: Working Papers on Information Systems, 9(64). http://sprouts.aisnet.org/9-64
Keywords:Open content; open knowledge; free cultural works; open source software; Wikipedia; Creative Commons; reliability; quality assessment; licensing; digital music
Item Type:Article - Volume 9 Article 64 (2009)
Language:English
Email: Chitu Okoli (Chitu.Okoli@concordia.ca)

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