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Peer production (also known by the term mass collaboration) is a way of producing goods and services that relies on self-organizing communities of individuals who come together to produce a shared outcome. The content is produced by the general public rather than by paid professionals and experts in the field. In these communities, the efforts of a large number of people are coordinated to create meaningful projects. The information age, especially the Internet, has provided the peer production process with new collaborative possibilities and has become a dominant and important mode of producing information. Free and open source software are two examples of modern processes of peer production. One of the earliest instances of networked peer production is Project Gutenberg, a project that involves volunteers that make "etexts" from out-of-copyright works available online. Modern examples are 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. 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. 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.
Crowdsourcing products like community cookbooks were a form of peer production. Gooseberry Patch has used its customer/friend community to create its line of exclusive cookbooks for over 18 years.
Peer production has also been utilized in producing collaborative Open Education 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. 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. In 10 weeks, 150 authors contributed more than 50 chapters to the CCMOOC eBook and companion site. The Peer to Peer University has applied peer production principles to online open learning communities and peer learning.
- ^ "User Generated Content". Farlex. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- ^ Benkler, Yochai (April 2003). "Freedom in the Commons: Towards a Political Economy of Information". Duke Law Journal 52 (6): 1245. Retrieved 28 November 2011.
- ^ Hart, Michael Stern. "Project Gutenberg Canada".
- ^ Duguid, Paul. "Limits of self-organization: Peer Production and "Laws of Quality." First Monday Vol 11 No 10 (Oct 2 2006)
- ^ Benkler, Yochai and Nissenbaum Helen, "Commons based Peer Production and Virtue"
- ^ Huberman, Bernardo A, Wilkinson, Dennis M, Wu, Fang "Feedback loops of attention in peer production"
- ^ "Gooseberry Patch". Gooseberry Patch.
- ^ "About.""Writing Commons". CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- ^ 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.
- ^ "About.""Cultivating Change Community". CC BY-NC 3.0. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
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