Institutional and Entrepreneurial Engagement in Commons-Based Peer Production

Rong Wang, Giorgos Cheliotis


This study examines how various ways of organizing online collaboration affect the structure of the engagement network in commons-based peer production. The main interest is in testing whether loosely structured collaborative practice, without defined roles and leaders, leads to less centralized engagement. We use network analysis to uncover and compare three endogenous network attributes in two online music production communities, where participants produce public goods mainly through two strategies: ad-hoc collaboration and team-based collaboration. The analysis reveals that the introduction of formal structure in collaboration does not necessarily lead to greater centralization. In fact, more loosely structured collaboration can result in higher centralization, whereby a small number of participants emerge as focal points for the productive output of the community.


commons-based peer production, online communities, network analysis, online collaboration

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