Definition of Open Collaboration

OpenSym (formerly WikiSym) is the premier research and practitioner conference on open collaboration.

Open collaboration is collaboration that is

  • egalitarian (everyone can join, no principled or artificial barriers to participation exist),
  • meritocratic (decisions and status are merit-based rather than imposed) and
  • self-organizing (processes adapt to people rather than people adapt to pre-defined processes).

Prime places to find open collaboration are wikis, Wikipedia and other Wikimedia Foundation projects, open source projects, open data and open government initiatives, open educational resources, and so on.

The open collaboration definition was agreed-upon by the WikiSym steering committee in 2012 (after adding “open collaboration” to the conference title in 2009). It was derived from the paper “Open Collaboration within Corporations Using Software Forges” by Dirk Riehle et al. as published in IEEE Software, vol. 26, no. 2 (March/April 2009). Page 52-58.

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