Blog Archives

Open science and the environmental movement

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By Shannon Dosemagen, co-founder and Executive Director of Public Lab.

Historically, environmental monitoring in the U.S. is by industrial polluters and those responsible for regulating and enforcing environmental laws. This leaves little room for engagement with those who are affected by the environmental health decisions being made about their communities.

The vision behind Public Lab is a community driven collaborative model that creates the physical means for independent people and organizations to engage in environmental data collection and the scientific research process.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014

How many peers will it take to change the bulb in a smart city?

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By Alberto Abella, assistant professor, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos; and president, OKFN Spain

According to UN, 66% of the world population will live in big cities by 2050. Changing the bulb of living in a smart city is therefore a radically important problem to address.

Current and exclusive top-down approach at city services has, in general, proved to be no longer valid as it exhausts city’s resources and provides inadequate services to citizens. Smart cities realize that it is better to open their knowledge and to let the ecosystems of citizens and developers to work together in a peer-production style.

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Posted in Open Thoughts 2014
About the Question
How many peers does it take to change a light bulb?

Systems like Linux and websites like Wikipedia are paradigmatic of a particular way of open collaboration known as peer production. Peer producers choose their tasks freely and coordinate their work using open digital platforms. They share the fruits of their labour as part of a global commons, and everyone works according to their abilities and benefits according to their needs.

Is this an emerging form of communism? Or the future of liberal capitalism? Or is it simply a new mode of production? In this blog we want to explore both the benefits and the downsides of such way of working.

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