Survey of Open Content Projects in Non-Western Countries

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Survey of Open Content Projects in Non-Western Countries

Erik Moeller-3
FYI - lots of good links for projects and initiatives to partner with.


Survey of Open Content Projects in Non-Western Countries
-----------------------------------------------------------
http://oc.openflows.org

Vienna, 04.9.2006. Openflows.org releases today a survey of open content
projects in five non-western regions: Arab countries, Sub-Saharan Africa,
India, Brazil and South East and Eastern Europe. The aim of the study is
to assess the potential of the open content production process for areas
and fields which are under served by the commercial players. While we
cannot claim completeness, we believe that the range of projects allows
insight into the complex ways in which these projects interact with their
particular contexts and the vast differences this creates.

Main Findings

Open content projects are extremely sensitive to local conditions. For
their constituencies (producers and users of the project) the practical
value of the material tends to be far more important than abstract layer of
licensing. Hence, very few projects view themselves as 'open content', in
contrast to 'open source' software projects, where the sense of community
across projects is much stronger.

Open content projects rely on at least a kernel of a civil society,
comprised of dedicated individuals, NGOs, educational institutions and
initiatives, and others who value open cooperation (i.e. where
contributions are encouraged from people who are not formerly known). If
that does not exist, be it that social tensions are too strong, or that
economic situation is too harsh, open content projects cannot flourish.

For the majority to larger projects, some form of institutional support
for basic intrastructure is necessary, because of the long-term nature of
the projects. In Brazil, for example, this is provided by public
institutions (educational and governmental), in collaboration with NGOs and
other independent actors. Thus a number large, structured open content
projects are developing strongly, particularly in the field of music and
education. Where such institutional support is missing, for example in
India, such projects have a hard time reaching critical mass.

The situation is different for smaller open content projects, such a
blogging. These can run on globally available commercial infrastructures
(Web2.0 companies) and are hence in all areas growing strongly. Their
social and political impact, though, depends highly on local conditions.
Political blogs in Egypt, for example, are subject to entirely different
dynamics than those in India.

Outlook

Apart from well-known project based in highly-developed countries
(Wikipedia, MIT's Open Course Ware, Web2.0 companies) the field of open
content is still nascent. Without support, the uphill battle to reach
critical mass (when the project becomes self-sustainable) will be very
steep for most larger open content projects.

The growth of a globally available infrastructure for collaboration,
provided by Web2.0 companies, on the other hand, might help to unlock some
of the creative potential currently held-back by the lack of stable,
scalable platforms.

As of mid 2006, the snapshot provided by this survey, it's too
early to say where and in which form this will happen. And without a
general strengthening of civil society in these regions, it might well
remain stunted for a longer time than necessary.

Principal researcher and contact:
Felix Stalder

Essential research partners:
Branka Curcic, Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro; Alaa Abd El Fattah,
Cairo, Egypt; Tori Holmes and Tati Wells, Rio de Janerio, Brasil; Kerryn
McKay and Heather Ford, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lawrence Liang,
Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India

Support:
The research was made possible by a generous grant from the Open Society
Institute's Information Program (Very Franz)
http://www.soros.org/initiatives/information
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--
Peace & Love,
Erik
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Re: Survey of Open Content Projects in Non-Western Countries

SJ-5
Yes, an excellent survey.  It's good to see Alaa on the list of
rsearchers.  --SJ


On 9/4/06, Erik Moeller <[hidden email]> wrote:

> FYI - lots of good links for projects and initiatives to partner with.
>
>
> Survey of Open Content Projects in Non-Western Countries
> -----------------------------------------------------------
> http://oc.openflows.org
>
> Vienna, 04.9.2006. Openflows.org releases today a survey of open content
> projects in five non-western regions: Arab countries, Sub-Saharan Africa,
> India, Brazil and South East and Eastern Europe. The aim of the study is
> to assess the potential of the open content production process for areas
> and fields which are under served by the commercial players. While we
> cannot claim completeness, we believe that the range of projects allows
> insight into the complex ways in which these projects interact with their
> particular contexts and the vast differences this creates.
>
> Main Findings
>
> Open content projects are extremely sensitive to local conditions. For
> their constituencies (producers and users of the project) the practical
> value of the material tends to be far more important than abstract layer of
> licensing. Hence, very few projects view themselves as 'open content', in
> contrast to 'open source' software projects, where the sense of community
> across projects is much stronger.
>
> Open content projects rely on at least a kernel of a civil society,
> comprised of dedicated individuals, NGOs, educational institutions and
> initiatives, and others who value open cooperation (i.e. where
> contributions are encouraged from people who are not formerly known). If
> that does not exist, be it that social tensions are too strong, or that
> economic situation is too harsh, open content projects cannot flourish.
>
> For the majority to larger projects, some form of institutional support
> for basic intrastructure is necessary, because of the long-term nature of
> the projects. In Brazil, for example, this is provided by public
> institutions (educational and governmental), in collaboration with NGOs and
> other independent actors. Thus a number large, structured open content
> projects are developing strongly, particularly in the field of music and
> education. Where such institutional support is missing, for example in
> India, such projects have a hard time reaching critical mass.
>
> The situation is different for smaller open content projects, such a
> blogging. These can run on globally available commercial infrastructures
> (Web2.0 companies) and are hence in all areas growing strongly. Their
> social and political impact, though, depends highly on local conditions.
> Political blogs in Egypt, for example, are subject to entirely different
> dynamics than those in India.
>
> Outlook
>
> Apart from well-known project based in highly-developed countries
> (Wikipedia, MIT's Open Course Ware, Web2.0 companies) the field of open
> content is still nascent. Without support, the uphill battle to reach
> critical mass (when the project becomes self-sustainable) will be very
> steep for most larger open content projects.
>
> The growth of a globally available infrastructure for collaboration,
> provided by Web2.0 companies, on the other hand, might help to unlock some
> of the creative potential currently held-back by the lack of stable,
> scalable platforms.
>
> As of mid 2006, the snapshot provided by this survey, it's too
> early to say where and in which form this will happen. And without a
> general strengthening of civil society in these regions, it might well
> remain stunted for a longer time than necessary.
>
> Principal researcher and contact:
> Felix Stalder
>
> Essential research partners:
> Branka Curcic, Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro; Alaa Abd El Fattah,
> Cairo, Egypt; Tori Holmes and Tati Wells, Rio de Janerio, Brasil; Kerryn
> McKay and Heather Ford, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Lawrence Liang,
> Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore, India
>
> Support:
> The research was made possible by a generous grant from the Open Society
> Institute's Information Program (Very Franz)
> http://www.soros.org/initiatives/information
> login or register to post comments
>
> --
> Peace & Love,
> Erik
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>


--
++SJ
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foundation-l mailing list
[hidden email]
http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l