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A Framework for Analysing the Microbiological Commons
International Social Science Journal (2006)
  • Charlotte Hess, Syracuse University
  • Elinor Ostrom, Indiana University
In an earlier article, “Ideas, artifacts and facilities: information as a common-pool resource”, we examined the role of collective action in building robust knowledge commons and in circumventing trends of enclosure and privatisation of the intellectual public domain. Our analysis suggested that collective action and new institutional design play as large a part in shaping the collection, distribution, and preservation of scholarly information as do legal restrictions and market forces. The microbiological commons extends well beyond the boundaries of e-prints and other full-text research documents that are the focus of the open access movement. It includes the contents of scientific databases, research archives, and multimedia publications which all need to be seamlessly integrated. In addition, the global, biological commons is also comprised of social networks and social capital. The success of freely sharing microbiological data will require a complex blend of technology, scientific content, metadata standards, open source software packages, negotiated and respected intellectual property rights agreements, sustainability and preservation design mechanisms, evolving rules and institutions, and, ultimately, a firm commitment on the part of providers and users to the common good.
Publication Date
June, 2006
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom. "A Framework for Analysing the Microbiological Commons" International Social Science Journal Vol. 58 Iss. 188 (2006)
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