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Internet Success: A Study of Open-Source Software Commons Hardcover – June 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Charles Schweik and Robert English have written a book that illustrates, for scholars and Ph.D. students around the world, the challenge of undertaking careful research on the intellectual commons and then summarizing it in a responsible manner. The final chapter will be of substantial importance to anyone thinking of studying how individuals develop creative settings for jointly producing a common good. I strongly recommend this outstanding book."--Elinor Ostrom, Senior Research Director, Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, Indiana University; Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science, 2009

"This book tells at least two stories of Internet success. One describes how open source software development has emerged as a new commons for sharing new technologies and knowledge about how it works, and what to do to contribute. The other describes the rich new database of knowledge that can be explored, analyzed, and queried using globally shared repositories that collectively describe the world of complex software development that no one company or nation controls or effectively exploits. This book is a great resource for both students and scholars of open source software development, open knowledge cmmons, and open global data repositories."--Walt Scacchi, Institute for Software Research, University of California, Irvine

"At last -- a rigorous, empirical assessment of how open-source software commons actually arise, grow and generate value! Charles Schweik and Robert English go beyond hacker folklore to document how a major sector of modern economic production -- internet-based software collaboration -- actually works. Thorough and authoritative, Internet Success will be a beacon for scholars and practitioners for years to come."--David Bollier, commons scholar, activist; author of Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own

"Anyone interested in innovation and the digital economy should read Internet Success. The open source software movement is forging new connections between communities and organizations, and understanding it provides deep insights into human motivation, leadership and governance, and the dynamics of entrepreneurial success. This book and the online resources that accompany it are a model of openness: readers are given all the resources they need to replicate and extend Charles Schweik and Robert English's exemplary and comprehensive research on open source projects."--M. Lynne Markus, The John W. Poduska, Sr. Professor of Information and Process Management, Bentley University

"This is a fascinating and well written book which presents important research findings for the OSS community, but also offers significant insight for other fields with regard to collaborative activities across the Internet." -- International Journal of Information Management

"If you're doing serious research in how collaborative development projects succeed (or not), you have to get this book" -- Dr. David Wheeler's Blog

About the Author

Charles M. Schweik is Associate Professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is Associate Director of the National Center for Digital Government (

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (June 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262017253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262017251
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,521,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book. It is a systematic empirical examination of open source software projects and the various factors that shape collaboration. It is careful and measured throughout. The authors aptly explain and apply the Institutional Analysis and Development framework pioneered by Elinor Ostrom. This framework is very useful for organizing the various factors being studied. The authors present and examine a treasure trove of data. The analysis yields some expected results, such as their confirmation that successful collaboration depends on "hard work, good administration, and leadership." It also yields many surprising results, such as their finding that the "programming skill of the developers ... does not seem to play a strong role in determining success versus abandonment, apparently because a large majority of OSS developers are highly skilled professionals." There are many other important findings. In my view, this is a must read for those interested in OSS and information / Internet commons more generally. An added bonus: the book is incredibly well-written and easy to read! The authors worked very hard to explain everything, from the theoretical framework to their research motivations to the limitations of their work to future research directions. The book is a model for rigorous social science research. I know that I will use it as a guide for my own research.
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