Open is the New Secret: Managing Intellectual Content and Competetive Advantage in Open Collaboration

Date: Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Time: 13.00-15.00

Location: G3-26

Speakers: Clifford Tatum


The emergence of openness as a collaborative practice is often at odds with entrenched modes of secrecy as a means to protect intellectual resources. To complicate matters, the popular conception of openness, from projects like open source and open access, has come to represent an exaggerated ideal of the Internet as an egalitarian medium. Nevertheless, openness appears increasingly as an alternative to closed modes of collaboration, which historically were oriented towards a “skunk works” conception, one that held secrecy as a quintessential dimension of successful research and innovation. In todays ICT-mediated world, open is the new secret--it is rapidly displacing secrecy as the popular mode of collaboration. While there has been much attention paid to the few high profile successes, such as Linux, Wikipedia, and the Open Knowledge Project, there is little known about openness as a dimension across collaborative contexts. Openness is therefore itself still a secret. The aim of this study is to examine openness across different knowledge production domains, to both locate it as a move away from closed collaboration and to develop a better understanding of its affordances and limitations in contemporary practice.

Attendance and participation to the debate open to anyone interested.