Plans for 2016

Our 2015 research has mostly been theory-driven, focused on transitional scenarios and visions for a commons-oriented society and economy. In 2016, P2P lab collaborators will try to ground these arguments and the, currently, tentative policy proposals on strong empirical evidence towards a more rigorous scientific treatment of the topic.

Our first and foremost goal is to empirically document the sustainability of an emerging productive model, called “design global, manufacture local”, through various projects that implement this approach [1]. Furthermore, we will seek to understand how open source technology, a key aspect of this model, may be utilised in the agricultural sector as well as in urban context (towards a commons-oriented “smart city”). We are also aspiring to create the conditions to achieve this through participatory action research, aiming at understanding phenomena from an insider’s perspective.

Moreover, we will attempt to study the impact of patents on technological advance and entrepreneurship. An empirical study of at least two different cases will be conducted: the FDM patent, widely used in the 3D printing industry, and the CERN open hardware licence and repository. At the same time, we will formulate a proposal for a transitional, hybrid-open public licence to govern knowledge resulting from R&D, funded by public expenditure. In short, a new form of license that could be summarised as commons on the inside, property on the outside. [2]

Further, we shall document and critically explore the potential of Open Value Network (OVN) organisational structure by reviewing and comparing the two most prominent projects which utilize OVN: Metamaps and Sensorica. This will allow us to consider how algorithms and technological innovation affect society, politics and culture, and how in turn social, political, and cultural values affect technological development. [3] In addition, P2P Lab fellows will work on the Bitmind project, a commons-oriented start-up which tries to build common ground for scaling-up OVN.

Last, we will try to carry on our work on the educational potential of commons-based artefacts and practices with action research projects in selected Greek schools.

P2P lab is sustained on a modest, if not tight, budget. Thus, in parallel with our research endeavours we will be working towards successful research funding (any suggestion or offer for collaboration in this would be more than welcome!). Of course, we are constantly on the look-out for co-operation on interesting projects and will gladly provide our services in a pro-bono manner if the output is a commons.