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Key words : Public goods, commons, cooperative production, public sector, public research, local authorities, innovation, open knowledge, industrial strategies.

In this project, we want to study the reasons what motivates or checks some professionals to provide to the public, on the Internet, informational goods, with the aim to generate cooperative actions based on these goods (co-production, modifications, use). Analyzing these motivations and these brakes, we will investigate what that means on the evolution professional skills, the goals seek by the different actors (being the persons, the group of professionals, or the institutions which hire them), in the light of the habits, the goals of the sector they belong to.

Our work is twofold: to construct a theoretical and methodological background allowing to explain these phenomena, and to test this on the field.

We will focus on two experimental fields we regard as complementary, in terms of the goods produced and of the kind of organization in which they are produced:

  • the production of public information by an administration. Why, and how people belonging to a local authority decide 1) to provide openly informational goods, which were before reserved to a selected public, 2) to involve themselves into open cooperative production (using co-publication tools on the Internet);
  • the production of software based technologies. Why publishing knowledge or innovations integrated into a piece of software and protecting them with a (free) license allowing their reuse? How cooperation works in these sectors? We will focus on public research, which has to find a good balance between basic research diffusion and the financial revenues of its production.

In both cases basic questions are the same: what do the different actors produce, what do they exchange, how do they construct the programs they use, is there cooperation and how it is organized, what are the links existing between the different organizations participating, does a cooperative production change the goals, the play of some of these organization of persons? To tackle with these questions, we propose to conduct two investigations: a preliminary review of literature, based on organizational sociology theories. This will allow us to construct the framework of our investigation on the changes in an institution (and especially a public one),

on the field investigations, based on semi-guided interviews of the people producing these goods. We will focus on understanding their goals, how they analyze the goals of their institution and the diffusion of cooperative practices in their professional practices. This step will deliver a framework to investigate organization or sectors involved into cooperative productions, and a first state of investigation on the fields we have identified.

These productions will feed a research seminar and a plenary final conference on that topic. These meetings will regroup researchers coming from business administration sciences, economics, sociology, law, and focus on the links between knowledge production and IPR systems.

We have identified 5 thematics axes (two will be studies in the present project), for the case studies on public goods (or common goods) production :

  • the production of bibliographical, biographic or cultural public information goods by public institutions like libraries, archives, museums ;
  • the production of political public information good by local authorities;
  • the production of naturalistic or environmental data (and especially those concerning sustainable development);
  • the production of public information goods on the public access to the Internet;
  • the production of juridical data, especially in the juridical data bases and intellectual property on the Internet fields.

Cases studies on the production of software base technologies will be on biotechs (more precisely bio-computing) and digital hardware components production. We will investigate the organization of knowledge production and value creation, in the light of existing models (IPR/patent closure, Free Software open model, other models).

The results of this work will be published on M@rsouin Web site (