Commons-Based Peer Production

Commons-based peer production as a cooperative working method.

Commons-based peer production or CBPP is a term created by Yochai Benkler a professor at Harvard Law School. It describes a phenomenon of production of generally informal goods without drawing on the standard market structures. CBPP is a form of production where people work en masse usually on the internet. Projects that are commons-based are usually quite relaxed or open and lack a traditional or strict hierarchy.

Commons-based Peer Production ©   Flikr by Zavata Asso

The Principles of Commons-based Peer Production

It is essential for the main goals of any production must be made up of components. The reason for this is that all production will have different aspects, however, those different aspects must be able to be worked on at the same time. Commons-based peer production and collaboration cannot work if one component is waiting for the completion of another. Each objective must be split into sections that can be worked on at all times. These sections can then be divided down into differently sized tasks, this means that those who want to work on larger or more complex tasks can do so and those who desire simpler tasks can complete smaller tasks instead. All that isleft is integration and quality control to put all the work together.

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The Production Method in Practice

Commons-based peer production describes the collaborative production of products, usually without financial compensation, that is shared by the community. For example a buffet with individual food and beverage contributions. The Internet has revolutionized this form of contribution. One example is “Wikipedia.” However, what creates the incentive is disputed, for many it is a labor of love and the satisfaction of being part of something that helps others can be enough. Other well known examples are Linux a computer operating system and the citizen science program Clickworkers! Clickworkers was a NASA project that used public volunteers to carry out small scientific tasks. This is also known as Virtual Volunterring.