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The power of gifts: Organizing social relationships in open source communities
RISE, Swedish ICT, Viktoria.
RISE, Swedish ICT, Viktoria.
2001 (English)In: Information Systems Journal, ISSN 1350-1917, E-ISSN 1365-2575, Vol. 11, no 4, p. 305-320Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In writings on the open source software development model, it is often argued that it is successful as a result of the gift economy that embraces activities in online communities. However, the theoretical foundations for this argument are seldom discussed and empirically tested. Starting with the 'classic' theories of gift giving, we discuss how they need to be developed in order to explain giftgiving practices in digital domains. In this paper, we argue that the gift economy is important, not only because it creates openness, but also because it organizes relationships between people in a certain way. Open source software development relies on gift giving as a way of getting new ideas and prototypes out into circulation. This also implies that the giver gets power from giving away. This power is used as a way of guaranteeing the quality of the code. We relate this practice to how gifts, in the form of new scientific knowledge, are given to the research community, and how this is done through peer review processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 11, no 4, p. 305-320
Keyword [en]
Gift culture, Open source, Peer review
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-32687DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2575.2001.00111.xScopus ID: 2-s2.0-0035642858OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-32687DiVA, id: diva2:1156820
Available from: 2017-11-14 Created: 2017-11-14 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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