Lakhani and Von Hippel (2003)

From Copyright Evidence
Jump to: navigation, search

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Lakhani and Von Hippel (2003)
Title: How open source software works: “free” user-to-user assistance
Author(s): Lakhani, K.R., Von Hippel, E.
Year: 2003
Citation: Lakhani, K. R., & Von Hippel, E. (2003). How open source software works:“free” user-to-user assistance. Research policy, 32(6), 923-943.
Link(s): Definitive , Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: The authors collected two types of data:
  • For data regarding long-term participation in CIWS-U (the Apache Usenet help forum) — who participated, long-term trends, etc. — the authors examined Usenet posting patterns from 1996 to 1999. This 4-year period spans essentially the entire history of online Apache help. The Usenet log data was obtained from a World Wide Web service called Deja.com (since acquired by Google). This service archives all of the discussion groups on the World Wide Usenet and makes available advanced search and parsing capability through their website (http://groups.google.com).
  • The authors collected questionnaire data from people who posted either questions or answers to CIWS-U during the 4.5 months from 1 October 1999 to 15 February 2000. During this time period, they monitored activity on CIWS-U near-continuously via computer. Within 3 days of when a question or an answer was posted on CIWS-U, a computer automatically detected whether the individual was posting a question (e.g. was starting a new “thread”) or was providing information related to a previously posted question (e.g. was referring to an existing thread in his or her posting). It then sent a version of a questionnaire (one appropriate to information seeking or one appropriate to information providing) to the email address of that individual. The e-mail contained a brief introduction to the study, a link to the individual’s actual posting on CIWS-U and a link to a password protected website that contained the survey. This “automatic” data collection method had the advantage of allowing the authors to obtain information from posters on a near real-time basis — while recollections regarding what they did and why they did it was still fresh. Upon completion of each questionnaire, the individual answers were archived to a protected database as well as e-mailed to the authors.
  • This process identified 1709 total participants, yielding 336 usable responses (214 information seekers and 122 information providers).
Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • 1 October 1999 - 15 February 2000.
Funder(s):
  • Boston Consulting Group

Abstract

Research into free and open source software development projects has so far largely focused on how the major tasks of software development are organized and motivated. But a complete project requires the execution of “mundane but necessary” tasks as well. In this paper, we explore how the mundane but necessary task of field support is organized in the case of Apache web server software, and why some project participants are motivated to provide this service gratis to others. We find that the Apache field support system functions effectively. We also find that, when we partition the help system into its component tasks, 98% of the effort expended by information providers in fact returns direct learning benefits to those providers. This finding considerably reduces the puzzle of why information providers are willing to perform this task “for free.” Implications are discussed.

Main Results of the Study

Main results:

  • The authors segmented an information transaction on Apache Usenet help into three subtasks: (1) a question must be posed; (2) the information sought must be matched to an appropriate and willing provider of information; (3) an answer must be provided.
  • 98% of the time spent at the Apache online Usenet help site by providers is spent upon task (2)—reading questions and answers posted on the Usenet site.
  • The actual answering of questions (task (3)) took up only 2% of a information provider’s time on site, with providers reporting that they invested only l–5 min per question answered.

Benefits of contributing include:

  • The expectation of reciprocity - someone will help them in their turn.
  • Helping the cause - strong identification with the open source community.
  • Reputation/Enhanced career prospects - answering lots of questions well and in a timely fashion builds reputation and can lead to career anhancement.
  • Intrinsic reward - answering questions is fun, rewarding and makes information providers feel competent.
  • Part of the job - some information providers may be answering questions as part of their employment, because there are commercial versions of Apache available.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

Policy implications:

  • It is important to analyse the micro-level functioning of successful open source projects to really understand how and why they work.
  • It would be useful to conduct similar empirical studies to explore other puzzling aspects of how an open source project functions such as: how is coordination achieved among open source software contributors; how can problems be segmented into module of a size that fit the sources and incentives of individual users to effectively contribute?
  • The learning gained from such micro-studies of a range of tasks may well turn out to cumulate to some general principles. For example, it is interesting to discover that learning on the part of contributors is an important motivator in the case of the relatively “mundane” task of help-provision.
  • The learning gained can also help with the design of the next generation of open source projects and similar, user-based innovation systems.



Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Green-tick.png
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Green-tick.png
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Datasets

Sample size: 336
Level of aggregation: Individual
Period of material under study: 1999-2000