Erickson, Rodriguez Perez and Rodriguez Perez (2018)
|Erickson, Rodriguez Perez and Rodriguez Perez (2018)|
|Title:||What is the Commons Worth? Estimating the Value of Wikimedia Imagery by Observing Downstream Use|
|Author(s):||Erickson, K., Rodriguez Perez, F., Rodriguez Perez, J.|
|Citation:||Erickson, K, Rodriguez Perez, F and Rodriguez Perez, J (2018) What is the Commons Worth? Estimating the Value of Wikimedia Imagery by Observing Downstream Use. In: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Open Collaboration. OpenSym ’18: The 14th International Symposium on Open Collaboration, 22-24 Aug 2018, Paris, France. ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). ISBN 978-1-4503-59 36-8|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of a sample of 10,000 randomly-selected image files from the Wikimedia Commons database. Images were categorised based on their size, author, source, licence type and linked usage on Wikipedia. Thereafter, a reverse-image search was conducted using the Selenium program, which determined where the images were used externally.|
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“The Wikimedia Commons (WC) is a peer-produced repository of freely licensed images, videos, sounds and interactive media, containing more than 45 million files. This paper attempts to quantify the societal value of the WC by tracking the downstream use of images found on the platform. We take a random sample of 10,000 images from WC and apply an automated reverse-image search to each, recording when and where they are used ‘in the wild’. We detect 54,758 down-stream uses of the initial sample and we characterise these at the level of generic and country-code top-level domains (TLDs). We analyse the impact of specific variables on the odds that an image is used. The random sampling technique enables us to estimate overall value of all images contained on the platform. Drawing on the method employed by Heald et al (2015), we find a potential contribution of USD $28.9 billion from downstream use of Wikimedia Commons images over the lifetime of the project.”
Main Results of the Study
• The study finds that voluntarily produced, and open source, imagery brings significant economic value.
• 34.8% of the images on the Wikimedia Commons were used externally at least once, with a mean rate of 5.48 uses per image (dropping to 2.99 for commercial usages).
• 99.8% of images are licensed, with the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (CC BY SA) the most common (56.8%). This study also finds that licence type is a determinant of downstream re-use, noting that licences which require attribution and share-alike provisions are less likely to be used, compared to fully public domain images.
• Wikipedia is the most frequent user of these images, and when images are displayed in this context they are more likely to be used externally in a commercial capacity.
• Other external use factors include: the age of the image, the size, and the image’s origin (e.g. if originally posted on Flickr).
• The estimated lifetime value of the Wikimedia Commons images is $22.5 billion (based on an assumption that downstream users would otherwise be paying commercial licence fees for these images if the project did not exist).
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Given the potential value of open source images, the study suggests that an assessment of the economic contribution of open source content should be conducted when future policy considerations threaten to encroach on this. This is particularly so given the broader societal benefits of open source imagery, including downstream educational uses.
Coverage of Study