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date: 18 March 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Open access commons are a family of institutional arrangements that are far more pervasive in modern complex economies than usually recognized in the economic literature. The defining characteristic of open access commons is their utilization of symmetric use privileges for an open, undefined set of users in the public, rather than asymmetric exclusive control rights located in the hands of an individual legal entity or defined group (club) use, and their primary reliance on queuing and some form of governance-based allocation, rather than price-cleared models, for congestion clearance and management. The chapter includes an overview of the commons literature, thumbnail case studies of the emergence of open access commons in the digitally networked environment, and a typology of open access commons and their proprietary parallels. The emergence of open access commons reflects the combined effect of innovation economics under highly uncertain conditions and the diversity of human motivations.

Keywords: open access commons, institutional arrangements, Ostrom commons, symmetric use, asymmetric exclusive control

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