Emerita at Syracuse University, Charlotte Hess is an internationally recognized
researcher, writer, and speaker on commons, common-pool resources, and collective action.
She is particularly known for her innovative analysis of the burgeoning areas of
"knowledge commons" and "new commons". Hess is also known for her
collaborative publications with Nobel-laureate in Economics Elinor Ostrom, including
their co-edited book _Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice_ (MIT
Press, 2007). 

At SU, Hess was the Associate Dean for Research, Collections, and Scholarly Communication
at the Syracuse University Libraries (2008-2013) where she spearheaded the development of
the SU institutional repository, Surface and was a tireless advocate throughout campus
for the critical importance of open access and the proactive provision and preservation
of scholarly information. Prior to coming to Syracuse, Hess was the Director of Library
and Information Services at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at
Indiana University and the founder and former director of the Digital Library of the
Commons http://dlc.dlib.indiana.edu (2000-2008). She served on the Executive Council of
the International Association for the Study of the Commons 1993-2009. 



The Unfolding of the Knowledge Commons, St. Anthony’s International Review (2012)

This piece reports on some of the significant research and activities within the knowledge commons...



The Calculus of Commitment: The Ostroms, The Workshop and The Commons, The Commons Digest (2010)

"When Elinor Ostrom was interviewed at Indiana University after winning the 2009 Nobel Prize in...



A Framework for Analysing the Microbiological Commons (with Elinor Ostrom), International Social Science Journal (2006)

In an earlier article, “Ideas, artifacts and facilities: information as a common-pool resource”, we examined...



The Name Change; or, What Happened to the “P”? (with Ruth Meinzen-Dick), The Commons Digest (2006)

This past spring, members voted to change the name and the mission statement of the...



Resource Guide for Authors: Open Access, Copyright, and the Digital Commons., CPR Digest (March) (2005)

"This article aims to introduce you to the important issues about copyright and open access;...


Book Chapters


Private and Common Property Rights (with Elinor Ostrom), Encyclopedia of Law & Economics (2008)

The relative advantages of private property and common property for the efficiency, equity, and sustainability...



A Framework for Analyzing the Knowledge Commons : a chapter from Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: from Theory to Practice., Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: from Theory to Practice (2005)

Who hasn’t heard of the six blind men of Indostan encircled around an elephant?1 The...


Conference Documents


Mapping the New Commons, Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons (2008)

From Introduction: "This paper is a guide to the rapidly growing area of research and...



Studying Scholarly Communication: Can Commons Research and the IAD Framework Help Illuminate Complex Dilemmas? (with Elinor Ostrom) (2004)

"This paper presents a framework for analyzing the complex resource of scholarly communication as a...



The Knowledge Commons: Theory and Collective Action; or Kollektive Aktionismus?, the Wizards of OS 3: The Future of the Digital Commons,” An International conference (2004)

Keynote address presented at the Wizards of OS 3: The Future of the Digital Commons,”...



Dilemmas of Building a Sustainable Equitable Information Resource. Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University (1998)

From Page 1: "Because information plays a central role in environmental and CPR research, the...




Institutional Design and Governance in the Microbial Research Commons, The International Symposium on Designing the Microbial Research Commons (2009)

Presentation slides on institutional design and governance to facilitate a global research commons for microbiology...




Governing the Commons (Podcast) (with Ruth Meinzen-Dick, Jesse Ribot, Jerry Michalski, and Environmental Defense Fund), Library Publications (2010)

Hess described those New Commons as shared resources for which there are no pre-existing rules...