Academic Commons Solution Stories

Commons are open to all participants who accept their principles

Commons support a diversity of skills and knowledge without privileging any. All commoners will find a home for their knowledge and their interests. Participation in a commons is not restricted on the basis of accreditation, professional standing or reputation, or any other criteria except willingness to contribute and uphold the principles of the commons. Content and behaviour are the only criteria for moderation within an academic commons.




The Commons is an intellectual space that values active sharing and collaboration to produce the best scholarship and research and its broad dissemination above all else. People serve these requirements in different ways across the spectrum of stakeholders. The commons does not require a specific volume or genre of contribution, a particular professional, educational, or social background, affiliation, certification, or status. It is not restricted to participants from any single sector or region. It provides a home for the work of full professors, citizen­-scientists, entrepreneurs, and bloggers. It recognises the comment, the scholarly monograph, the dataset, the discussion​,and the commercial product or service. It provides a home and recognition for programmers, statisticians, bench scientists, and literary critics. It welcomes the most narrowly focussed specialist work and the broadest popularisation. Above all, it encourages commoners to collaborate and share their specialisations and interests.


Each commoner gets more value than they give as they grow the scholarly Commons. The return on investment (ROI) for the commoner demonstrates how the commons as a whole is more valuable than any of its pieces. One part of this equation is due to the network effect, which amplifies the value of participation and also the utility of each object being shared in the network. Commoners also grow networks inside the commons as their contributions get reused. These networks reflect a shared ethos and a capacity for more trustful interactions. The act of commoning builds the commons as a scholarly community.


The Commons can also be subdivided by interests, disciplines, experiences, and goals. “The Commons” is really a collection of multiple Commons that build on the same core principles, while adding or modifying them in a ways that make sense to their participants. Commoners across the planet will be linked through the Commons in which they participate. These


Commons will tap into a bit of the cognitive surplus of this crowd to address an immediate problem of any member. Expert teams can be assembled to acquire the funding needed to address larger problems using the resources of the Commons.


Adapted from Version .05 Force11 Commons Principles


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Idea No. 28