On the openness of digital platforms/ecosystems

Title: On the openness of digital platforms/ecosystems

Authors: Jose Teixeira, Turku School of Economics (University of Turku)

Abstract: A plenitude of technology is neither developed in-house nor simply outsourced in dyadic relationships. Instead, we are in a new age where technologies are developed by a networked community of actors and organizations, which base their relations dynamically to each other on a common interest. Such dynamic and networked complexity of technology development is often theoretical explored around the concept of platform, and more recently by employing the concept of ecosystem in an analogy to natural ecosystems. Following the success of open-source software, academics have long been examining openness in digital platforms/ecosystems; however most contributions take the perspective of a single stakeholder from the many that constitute a digital platform/ecosystem. Predominantly, they take the sole perspective of platform providers, those bundling hardware and software or more rarely, the perspective of third-party software developers developing valuable software ‘apps’ that add value to the overall platform. In this conceptual article, we grasp openness more holistically, both by acknowledging that openness means different things to different people and involve all stakeholders within the platforms/ecosystems. Towards the development of a theory of openness within digital settings, we propose six novel aspects of openness for enabling a greater understanding of the open-source software movement with a digital platforms/ecosystems perspective. Moreover, we invite scholars to reconsider the more predominating product-dominant logic in open-source software research to a more holistic logic embracing platforms and ecosystem thinking.

This contribution to OpenSym 2015 will be made available as part of the OpenSym 2015 proceedings (or companion) on or after August 19, 2015.

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