digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Peer production (also known as mass collaboration) is a way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals. In such communities, the labor of a large number of people is coordinated towards a shared outcome.


Peer production is a process taking advantage of new collaborative possibilities afforded by the internet and has become a widespread mode of labor.[1] Free and open source software and open source hardware are two examples of peer production. One of the earliest instances of networked peer production is Project Gutenberg, a project in which volunteers make out-of-copyright works available online.[2] Examples include Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, and Linux, a computer operating system. For-profit enterprises mostly use partial implementations of peer production, and would include such sites as Flickr, Etsy, Digg, and Delicious.[citation needed] Peer production can also be utilized by sharing open source hardware designs to be replicated with digital manufacturing technologies such as RepRap 3-D printers.[3] The number of such designs is growing exponentially on free design sites such as Youmagine.[4] As such open designs can be replicated for approximately the cost of materials they provide enormous value to commons.[5] Peer production refers to the production process on which the previous examples are based. Commons-based peer production is a subset of peer production.

Peer production occurs in a socio-technical system which allows thousands of individuals to effectively cooperate to create a non-exclusive given outcome.[6] These collective efforts are informal. Peer production is a collaborative effort with no limit to the amount of discussion or changes that can be made to the product. However, as in the case of Wikipedia, a large amount, in fact the majority, of this collaborative effort is maintained by very few devoted and active individuals.[7]


Crowdsourcing products such as community cookbooks are a form of peer production. Gooseberry Patch[8] has used its customer/friend community to create its line of exclusive cookbooks for over 18 years.

For example, there are now several types of open-source solar-powered 3-D printers,[9] which can be used for production in off grid locations.[10]

Peer production has also been utilized in producing collaborative Open Educational Resources (OERs). Writing Commons, an international open textbook spearheaded by Joe Moxley at the University of South Florida, has evolved from a print textbook into a crowd-sourced resource for college writers around the world.[11] Massive open online course (MOOC) platforms have also generated interest in building online eBooks. The Cultivating Change Community (CCMOOC) at the University of Minnesota is one such project founded entirely on a grassroots model to generate content.[12] In 10 weeks, 150 authors contributed more than 50 chapters to the CCMOOC eBook and companion site.[13] The Peer to Peer University has applied peer production principles to online open learning communities and peer learning.


Several critics have challenged the prevailing optimism with which peer production is viewed.

Daniel Kreiss, Megan Finn, and Fred Turner criticize the consensus perspective on peer production as utopian. Asserting that this new mode of production challenges the traditional form of bureaucracy, they reference Max Weber’s analysis of modern bureaucracy and urge that this analysis be applied to peer production. They argue that bureaucracy is better equipped to handle social problems than peer production, which they consider unsustainable. As bureaucracy promotes a rationally organized, rule-oriented functioning of society, Kreiss, Finn, and Turner claim that peer production undermines this aspect due to its tendency to encourage individual behavior based on private morality. This tendency, they argue, degrades autonomy by “collapsing public and private boundaries,” allowing people’s professional lives to extend into their private domains.[14]

Other critics claim that the participatory nature of peer production is apt to generate misinformation and products of inferior quality. In his book The Cult of the Amateur, Andrew Keen assesses peer-produced content on the Internet and asserts that it exists as a “smokescreen” which emptily promises more truth and deeper knowledge, but actually leading to the disappearance of truth. According to Keen, the Internet advocates peer production to a questionable degree by permitting anyone to post information freely. This form of peer production, he cautions, leaves room for people to plagiarize ideas and distort original thoughts, which he says ultimately creates an uncertainty in the validity of information.[15]

Another critic, Jaron Lanier, cites Wikipedia as an example of how dependence on mass collaboration may result in unreliable or biased information. He warns that websites like Wikipedia promote the notion of the “collective” as all knowing, and that this concentrated influence stands in direct contrast to representative democracy.[16]

In addition to these adversarial views, some critics assert that peer production does not perform as well in some contexts as it does in others.[17] Paul Duguid suggests that peer production works less efficiently outside of software development, stating that continued reliance on peer production in various domains of information production will necessitate a search for new ways to guarantee quality.[2] Yochai Benkler similarly proposes that peer production may produce functional works like encyclopedias more proficiently than creative works.[17] Despite the valuable potential of peer production, several critics continue to doubt extensive collaboration and its ability to yield high quality outputs.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Benkler, Yochai (April 2003). "Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information". Duke Law Journal 52 (6): 1245. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Duguid, Paul (2006-10-02). "Limits of self-organization: Peer production and "laws of quality"". First Monday 11 (10). ISSN 1396-0466. Retrieved 2014-09-26. 
  3. ^ RepRap stands for self replicating rapid prototyper and the design of the printer itself is an example of peer production.
  4. ^ Wittbrodt, B.T.; Glover, A.G.; Laureto, J.; Anzalone, G.C.; Oppliger, D.; Irwin, J.L.; Pearce, J.M. (2013). "Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers". Mechatronics 23 (6): 713–726. doi:10.1016/j.mechatronics.2013.06.002. 
  5. ^ Pearce, J.M. (2015). "Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development". Modern Economy 6 (1): 1–11. doi:10.4236/me.2015.61001. 
  6. ^ Benkler, Yochai and Nissenbaum Helen, "Commons based Peer Production and Virtue"
  7. ^ Huberman, Bernardo A, Wilkinson, Dennis M, Wu, Fang "Feedback loops of attention in peer production"
  8. ^ "Gooseberry Patch". Gooseberry Patch. 
  9. ^ King, Debbie L.; Babasola, Adegboyega; Rozario, Joseph; Pearce, Joshua M. "Mobile Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities". Challenges in Sustainability 2 (1): 18–27. 
  10. ^ D.J. Pangburn, How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-The-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities - MotherBoard available at http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-3d-printers-are-boosting-off-the-grid-underdeveloped-communities Nov. 7, 2014.
  11. ^ "About.""Writing Commons". CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Anders, Abram (November 9, 2012). "Experimenting with MOOCs: Network-based Communities of Practice.". Great Plains Alliance for Computers and Writing Conference. Mankato, MN. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ "About.""Cultivating Change Community". CC BY-NC 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Kreiss, Daniel; Finn, Megan; Turner, Fred. "The limits of peer production" (PDF). Sage Journals. Sage. pp. 243–259. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  15. ^ Keen, Andrew (2007). The Cult of the Amateur: How Today's Internet Is Killing Our Culture (3rd ed.). Crown Business. 
  16. ^ Lanier, Jaron (2010). You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 
  17. ^ a b c Benkler, Yochai; Shaw, Aaron; Mako Hill, Benjamin. "Peer Production: A Modality of Collective Intelligence" (PDF). Retrieved 24 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_production — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
337877 videos foundNext > 

Open Business Models: The Importance Of Peer Production - Michel Bauwens

Help us caption and translate this video on Amara.org: http://www.amara.org/en/v/B0Ml/ P2P evangelist Michel Bauwens shares his vision for an economic ...

Complexity Management: 19 Peer Production

Peer production is a new model to the production of value within society. Peer production is a process taking advantage of new collaborative possibilities ...

Peer Productions Full Time Course

For more information about us visit www.peerproductions.co.uk or to APPLY NOW visit: ...

Can traditional network theory explain peer production?

COMM506 Final Project by Kelly Spencer, University of Alberta.

What manufacturers don't want you to know about peer production

Peer production flips the idea of the factory by using resources spread across the community instead of in a centralized location. Factories are the inevitable ...

Wikipedia Academy - "When Peer Production Succeeds", Keynote by Benjamin Mako Hill

Wikipedia Academy - "When Peer Production Succeeds", Keynote by Benjamin Mako Hill As Wikipedians have collaborated over the last decade to build the ...

An introduction to participatory and contributions-based peer production - Michel Bauwens

In this video, we will look into more detail into the characteristics of the emerging commons-based peer production, how the productive forces of society are ...

Harnessing citizen engagement through peer production

Listen to the President and two of his closest advisors discuss the potential of peer production to help transform how public policy is created in government ...

Jerome Hergueux on Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia

From Wikipedia to Open Source Software, Peer Production --- a large-scale collaborative model of production primarily based on voluntary contributions --- is ...

"Offene" Organisationen und "Peer-Production": Möglichkeiten für nachhaltige Unternehmensentwicklung

Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Dr. Ayad Al-Ani, Hertie School of Governance Berlin, auf der Jahrestagung des Instituts für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung ...

337877 videos foundNext > 

274 news items

American Action Forum (blog)

American Action Forum (blog)
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 03:26:15 -0800

As methodological techniques advance and data is collected, it is likely that the real benefits will be conferred to the owners of the asset. Early data from Airbnb and other online marketplaces suggests that the introduction of these peer-to-peer ...

Harvard Law School News

Harvard Law School News
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 09:37:30 -0800

The challenge that commons-based peer production faces today is how to move from a stable, growing but still peripheral part of much of the economy into a genuinely alternative model of sustained living for ideally many millions of people. The idea of ...

Co-operative News

Co-operative News
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 02:13:31 -0800

In his presentation at the conference he looked at how the ethic of peer-to-peer production could be connected to the reality of co-operatives. He explained how the rise of the free culture movement was based on the idea that there is a way to ...

Boston Review

Boston Review
Mon, 09 Nov 2015 06:15:00 -0800

Yochai Benkler refers to this as “commons-based peer production”; familiar examples include open-source software and Wikipedia. This kind of commons-based production—which, as Wikipedia shows, can outcompete for-profit production—is at the core of ...

Co-operative News

Co-operative News
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 01:45:00 -0800

As peer-to-peer production is witnessing a tremendous growth in the online sector, new online models where people are collectively producing and owning innovative goods are emerging. “These online models are embodying very strong non-market values ...


Mon, 26 Oct 2015 05:33:45 -0700

This represents the necessary convergence, through open cooperativism, of economic forms which respect social justice (the solidarity economy and other forms), with peer production; and on the other hand the equally necessary convergence with ...

The Conversation FR

The Conversation FR
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:00:00 -0800

Membre du comité de rédaction pour les revues (en ligne, “green open access”) Tecnoscienza, RESET et Journal of Peer Production, Francesca Musiani est auteure pour l'Internet Policy Review, revue en ligne de l'Humboldt Institut für Internet und ...

Boing Boing

Boing Boing
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 17:56:15 -0700

They want articles and experimental pieces exploring the relationship between hacking and gender, race and orientation. In this call, we understand feminist perspectives to be pluralistic, including intersectional, trans, genderqueer, and race ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight