Upcoming Call for Papers: XIX Biennial IASC Conference - Nairobi, 2023

I am delighted to share an upcoming call for papers for the XIX Biennial IASC Conference, “The Commons We Want” to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, June 19-24. The Call for Papers will open November 7; below is more information on the topics and panel moderators/chairs:

Panel 1: Incubating Global-to-Local Commons - Panel Co-Chairs: @schutton and Dr. Charles Schweik, University of Massachusetts Amherst / IASC President-Elect


According to Intellectual Property scholar Yochai Benkler, Commons-based Peer Production (CBPP), or Peer Production (PP) for short, is “…the most significant organizational innovation that has emerged from Internet-mediated social practice” and involves three components: (1) Ideas or problems are conceptualized and executed often by different parties; (2) collaborators work[ing] together driven by diverse motivations, including non-monetary ones; and (3) governance and management of Peer Production-based projects [that] are separated from “property and contract” (Benkler, 2016). In earlier work, Benkler noted that Open Source Software (OSS) was the “quintessential instance” of CBPP (Benkler, 2005). In IASC terms, PP projects are a form of Digital or Knowledge Commons. They are Internet-based common property regimes (Schweik and English, 2012).

One question that arises in PP settings is how nascent projects evolve and become sustainable. For years, in OSS settings, nonprofit organizations, often called foundations, emerged in part to incubate and mentor emerging OSS projects toward sustainability. Some foundations play a role in day-to-day operations of OSS projects, while many solely promote the free software movement (Canovas, 2020).

In this panel, members of the PP practitioner and researcher community will discuss the characteristics of OSS foundations as incubators, including which factors contribute to evolving OSS projects from nascency toward sustainability. Panelists will share case analyses and research on what makes a successful OSS project, including the topics “how experienced members of commons guide new projects and gatekeep access,” and “open-source software foundation incubator program policy impact on the production of public goods.”

Contact @schutton for articles cited in abstract.

Panel 2: The Open Source Hardware Commons: Exploring the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of OSH and the Right-to-Repair movement - Panel Co-Chairs: @max_w and @schutton


Over the past few years the preexisting model of producing and delivering physical goods to end users through optimized just-in-time supply chains served by centralized mass-manufacturing hubs has been hitting one problem after another. This model has proven incredibly fragile and sensitive to disruptions; global pandemics, and disasters attributed to rapidly accelerating climate change have placed strains so severe on brittle Supply Chain (SC) systems that management models are being rethought entirely, looking toward increased SC agility and contingency planning for future crises (Magableh, 2021).

What would the reconfiguration of the SC look like, if it were to be adjusted, or reconstructed entirely to support increased agility, resilience, and modularized production? What are the new information sharing, skills development, and sufficiency-driven business models (such as reparability), that the Open Source Hardware (OSH) Commons would need to develop in order to make distributed, localized manufacturing a viable alternative to the current model (Dao et al., 2020)?

In this panel, we will explore how the OSH Commons can help provide alternatives to the current predominant model to ensure that physical goods such as electronic and computing component parts, live-saving medical devices, scientific research hardware, and agricultural equipment can be made available to those who need them in a way that is more environmentally sustainable, socially beneficial, and economically viable.

Contact @schutton for articles cited in abstract.

Call for Submissions: The Open Source Hardware Commons: Exploring the environmental and socioeconomic benefits of OSH and the Right-to-Repair movement, a facilitated panel to be held at the XIX Biennial IASC Conference, “The Commons We Want” in Nairobi, Kenya, June 19-24, 2023.

In this panel, we will discuss what the Open-Source Hardware Commons could look like, and how it can provide alternatives for the provision of physical goods.

Work on individual projects, OSH policy and research are welcomed. To submit:

All submission contacts will be notified by January 16, 2023. For a full outline of the panel topic, please see the Conference Panels overview, Section 10 Local institution building and radical futures for the commons, panel 10.16.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch here, or sarah.hutton@interenetofproduction.org