Title: The open source software phenomenon as a role model for networked innovations in biotechnology: an exploratory study

Authors: Gordon Muller-Seitz

Addresses: Sociology of Organization, Technical University of Berlin, Franklinstr. 28/29, 10587 Berlin, Germany

Abstract: Nowadays, several virtual communities claim to operate in accordance with the way Open Source Software (OSS), i.e., freely available and modifiable software codes, is developed. Given this observation, the present study concentrates upon a longitudinal case study at Biological Innovation for Open Society (BiOS), a nonprofit initiative that aims to develop biotechnological innovations similar to the manner by which OSS projects operate. Thereby, this research contributes to the literature on virtual communities with two predominant findings. First, we show that the parallels between the OSS arena and OSS-inspired initiatives can be drawn cautiously. Second, we elaborate upon the diverse barriers that shed a critical light upon the allegedly OSS-related nature of projects that try to operate in line with mechanisms from the OSS arena. We discuss the ramifications of these findings for the conception of OSS-inspired initiatives.

Keywords: open source software; OSS; virtual communities; open innovation; collaboration; biotechnology; web based communities; networked innovations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2009.023966

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2009 Vol.5 No.2, pp.212 - 237

Published online: 22 Mar 2009 *

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