Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Facilitating open knowledge development

Rufus Pollock, The Four Principles of (Open) Knowledge Development, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, May 9, 2006. Excerpt:
Open knowledge means porting much more of the open source stack than just the idea of open licensing. It is about porting many of the processes and tools that attach to the open development process — the process enabled by the use of an open approach to knowledge production and distribution....Open knowledge allows (and requires for its success) a development process that is: [1] incremental, [2] decentralized (and asynchronous), [3] collaborative, [4] componentized (and ‘packagized’)....

In the early days of software there was...little arms-length reuse because there was little packaging. Hardware was so expensive, and so limited, that it made sense for all software to be bespoke and little effort to be put into building libraries or packages. Only gradually did the modern complex, though still crude, system develop. The same evolution can be expected for knowledge. At present knowledge development displays very little componentization but as the underlying pool of raw, ‘unpackaged’, information continues to increase there will be increasing emphasis on componentization and reuse it supports. (One can conceptualize this as a question of interface vs. the content. Currently 90% of effort goes into the content and 10% goes into the interface. With components this will change to 90% on the interface 10% on the content). The change to a componentized architecture will be complex but, once achieved, will revolutionize the production and development of open knowledge.