Introduction to Book of Peer Production

Mathieu O'NEIL, Johan Soderberg

Research output: Textual Creative WorksOther contribution


The Book of Peer Production is an off-spring of the Journal of Peer Production, an open access, peer reviewed journal dedicated to investigating the emergence of peer production as a new mode of production. Characteristic of peer production is that the output is orientated towards the further expansion of the commons; while the commons, recursively, is the chief resource in this mode of production. In fact, the commons and peer production are two names for describing the same thing: a particular kind of labour relation. This labour
relation is predicated on voluntary participation and the selfselection of tasks. Participants may be driven by a variety of motivations, for instance, self-fulfilment, peer recognition, developing new skills, or something else again. We may call such motivations intrinsic. The high degree of intrinsic motivation
in commons-based peer production is proportionate to a relatively low degree of extrinsic motivation. That is to say, monetary compensation for labour expenditure. This is testified in the willingness among participants to relinquish
exclusive proprietary rights over the results of their labour in favour of public ownership licenses. Starting from this ideal type, we set out to scrutinise the inconsistencies and contradictions of peer production, placing emphasis on its hybrid co-existence with dominant forms of (wage) labour and property
relations. A key area of investigation are cases where the output of the community is appropriated by a private rights holder. Commons-based peer production is thus turned into a model for exploiting free labour. We invite contributions from as many perspectives as possible in this discussion. The overriding goal is to conceptualise what peer production is and could become, as a step towards building a more just and sustainable future.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNSU Press
Number of pages2
Place of PublicationGothenburg
ISBN (Print)9788787564830
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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