Journal Title

National Center for Digital Government Working Paper Series

Publication Date



This paper has three primary goals. First, we provide an overview on some foundational concepts – “peer-production,” “user-centric innovation,” “crowdsourcing,” “task granularity,” and yes, open source and open content – for they are key elements of Internet-based collaboration we see today. Second, through this discussion on foundational concepts, we hope to make it clear why people interested in collaborative public management and administration should care about open source and open source-like collaboration. After this argument is made, we provide a very condensed summary of where we are to date on open source collaboration research. The goal of that research is to learn about the factors that lead to successful or abandoned collaborations in the open source domain, in part to help us understand how “open source-like” collaborations can be deployed in areas outside of software. We have a lot to cover. Let’s get right to it.