About knowledge-commons.de

"„He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper [candle] at mine, receives light without darkening me.“ (Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson , 13 Aug. 1813 ) "

This site is about the knowledge commons and open knowledge peer production for  human development. Following Jeffersons paradigma, I ask, how free knowledge can (and could) trigger the freedom to learn and the freedom to innovate on a global scale. Below, you find more info on me and on the definition of „knowledge commons“.

Please note: This site is a curated collection of news, analysis, training material and scientific articles. The site represents my own thoughts, which might coincide with others’ including my company GIZ or not:-)  – also see the imprint.

Some of the (tagged) themes covered on knowledge-commons.de are as follows:

 

About me (professional me)

Balthas Seibold with open source penguin. Copyright: Balthas Seibold

Balthas Seibold with open source penguin. Copyright: Balthas Seibold

I am Balthas Seibold,  I work as a senior project manager for Global Knowledge Cooperation & Learning at GIZ, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH.

‘How to foster the freedom to learn and the freedom to innovate in developing countries?’  has been a key theme of my professional journey. I am particularly interested in the knowledge commons, global knowledge cooperation & social networks, that build human capacities, link up people and foster learning.

Current research and advocacy themes include:

  1. commons-based peer production for human development
  2. open innovation and open source appropriate technology
  3. peer-to-peer learning  & community empowerment

Previously, I worked at the department of Sustainable Business Development of GIZ and InWEnt – Capacity Building International, where I led capacity building programmes that promote the IT-sector in Africa and Asia. Such programs included ict@innovation, commons@ip, it@foss, FOSS-Bridge EU-Vietnam, it@coops. A lot of the content on this site related to Open Source and OpenIT stems from this work.
Before, I worked for UNESCO’s bureau of strategic planning, the GTZ and the UNDP.

About the knowledge commons:

Of course, Wikipedia explains best, what the „knowledge commons“ is all about. Therefore, I proudly reproduce below the up-to-date version of the Wikipedia entry on the „knowledge commons“ (proudly also, because I happened to have the privilege to start this entry together with a colleague, Phillip Winter).

Wikipedia on the knowledge commons

The term "knowledge commons" refers to information, data, and content that is collectively owned and managed by a community of users, particularly over the Internet. What distinguishes a knowledge commons from a commons of shared physical resources is that digital resources are non-subtractible; that is, multiple users can access the same digital resources with no effect on their quantity or quality.[1]

Conceptual background

The term 'commons' is derived from the medieval economic system the commons. Today, the knowledge commons act as a frame of reference for a number of domains, including Open Educational resources such as the MIT OpenCourseware, free digital media such as Wikipedia, Creative commons–licensed art, open-source research,[2] and open scientific collections such as the Public Library of Science or the Science Commons, Free Software and Open Design. According to research by Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom,[1] the conceptual background of the knowledge commons encompasses two intellectual histories: first, a European tradition of battling the enclosure of the "intangible commons of the mind",[3] threatened by expanding intellectual property rights and privatization of knowledge. Second, a tradition rooted in the United States, which sees the knowledge commons as a shared space allowing for free speech and democratic practices, and which is in the tradition of the town commons movement and commons-based production of scholarly work, open science, open libraries, and collective action.[1]

The production of works in the knowledge commons is often driven by collective intelligence respectively the wisdom of crowds and is related to knowledge communism as it was defined by Robert K. Merton, according to whom scientists give up intellectual property rights in exchange for recognition and esteem.

Ferenc Gyuris argues, that it is important to distinguish "information" from "knowledge" in defining the term "knowledge commons". He argues that "knowledge as a shared resource" requires that both information must become accessible and potential recipients must become able and willing to internalize it as 'knowledge'. "Therefore, knowledge cannot become a shared resource without a complex set of institutions and practices that give the opportunity to potential recipients to gain the necessary abilities and willingness".[4]

Copyleft

A main principle of the knowledge commons is that the traditional "copyright" is being replaced by "copyleft". Copyleft licenses grant licensees all necessary rights such as right to study, use, change and redistribute—under the condition that all future works building on the license are again kept in the commons. The most popular applications of the 'copyleft' principle are the GNU Software Licenses (GPL, LGPL and GFDL by Free Software Foundation) and the share-alike licenses under creative commons.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Hess, Charlotte; Ostrom, Elinor (2007). Understanding Knowledge as a Commons - From Theory to Practice (PDF). Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-0-262-08357-7. 
  2. ^ Joshua M. Pearce, "Open Source Research in Sustainability", Sustainability: the Journal of Record, 5(4), pp. 238-243, 2012. DOI free and open access
  3. ^ Boyle, James (2003). "The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of the Public Domain". Law and Contemporary Problems. 66 (1-2): 33–74. Archived from the original on 2010-11-23. 
  4. ^ Gyuris, Ferenc (2014). "Basic education in communist Hungary. A commons approach". International Journal of the Commons. 8 (2): 531–553. doi:10.18352/ijc.458. 

External links

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_commons

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article “knowledge commons“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Jefferson on the knowledge commons

My candle lights your candleThe “candle” quote above has inspired this site. Therefore, I end this section with a more complete  quotation of the parts of the letter of Jefferson on knowledge and property. They read  perfectly up to date, considering that  Jefferson wrote these lines to Isaac McPherson on the 13 August of 1813. The entire letter is also online here, the content should be in the public domain by now :-).

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

Thomas Jefferson to Isaac McPherson , 13 Aug. 1813

One thought on “About

  1. Carlos says:

    The site is very interesting!

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