Defending the Global Commons

Defending the Global Commons is an on-going posted collection of essays and articles about the global commons of natural resources, basic services, public spaces and cultural traditions that may contribute to the “common good”, as the website puts it. This is one section of the online magazine from the Other Worlds organization. The Other Worlds organization is dedicated to social justice and the online magazine includes a number of sections dedicated to social justice issues such as food production, gender justice, water, health, housing and environmental protection.

Educational Commons

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) is an open-source resource for educators, offering search tools for shared resources, guidelines and a framework for the development of shared resources, the Open Author software platform, evaluation rubrics and a variety of tools and information to help educators build and share their curriculum. Educators must register through the website, but registration is free. In addition to the information and tools that are provided through the website, the organization also provides training opportunities in open-source curriculum development for educators within their local communities.

Towards a DNA commons?

23andme logo23andMe, Inc. is a private for-profit organization that offers DNA analysis and information to individual consumers. DNA collection is collected through a $99 at home saliva sample collection kit that is then mailed back to the company for genome mapping and analysis. Individualized reports and personalized health recommendations are then delivered to the consumer over the internet via a personal homepage on the company website. In addition, consumers are given the opportunity to share their genomic data with doctors, researchers, scientists, hospitals, and other individuals within the online community that are members of the organization. The company website states that 90% of their customers have opted-in to participation in their research. While the individual consumer can opt into sharing the data with other members at basic or extended levels or opt out of sharing entirely. The company website states that each individual has the opportunity to “contribute to science’s understanding of how genes interact with the environment to make individuals who they are” and “participate in research that could improve understanding of how genetics influences our lives”. This privately-held company, however, owns and controls the aggregated data which may raise questions about ethics and the commodity value of personal data to pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, governments, etc. The company states on the website that one of their core values is the encouragement of “dialogue in the ethical, social and policy implications of personalized genetic services”, but questions remain about the value and usage of individual and aggregated genetic data.


On the Commons

On the Commons (OTC) was founded in 2001 and is a commons movement On the commons strategy center to help bring visibility to and build the commons movement, catalyze commons work, and encourage commons leadership. The site includes information and a number of features about the commons movement. The site includes monthly editions of Commons Magazine, featuring articles about commons issues and initiatives; Commons Work, a resource center dedicated to work on the commons; and the Commons Network, where opportunities for collaboration and creative resource sharing are posted by members.

Friends with benefits: P2P insurance

Technological development affects the way we can organize insurance. A new development is Peer to Peer insurance, which is basically a self-organization of customers to organize their insurance and bypassing the big insurance companies. This will lead to lower costs for the consumers since it does not pay for the large overhead of financial organizations. Each member is both an insurer and and insuree. The P2P insurance does not collect premiums but pays claims and the costs are shared among its members.

Some P2P insurance websites include Friendsurance, and P2Pinsuranceagency

The Commons on Flickr

The Commons on the flickr website is a joint project of flickr and the Library of Congress aimed increasing access to publicly held photography collections while also providing a way for the general public to contribute to the overall collection of publicly held common photography resources. Collections from more than 70 organizations and museums around the world have been contributed to the resource and are available for search. The public is asked to help further contribute to the quality of the resource by tagging photographs and commenting on them in order to increase the search capabilities of the database.

Commons Rising

Commons Rising is a website aimed at providing both information on the commons and a platform for the organization and implementation of commons based activities by community members. The site includes personal pages for and about each community member including a profile, activity, and blog. The site also includes a group message board, forums, and several resource pages for more information on wider activities involving the commons.

Creative Commons

The Creative Commons supports the sharing of Creative Commonsdigital creative media by providing legal and technical resources and infrastructure. The organization supports all kinds of digital media, including images, pictures, music, video, writing, coding, and others by providing free and easily accessible ways to both license original works and utilize the work of other users to the site with proper copyrighting procedures. In addition, the website provides links to other websites providing information and examples of commons sharing projects and organizations.

Cancer Commons

Cancer Commons is a patient-centered resource and data sharing network that invites patients, researchers and clinicians to donate data in open science collaboration in order to create a “Rapid Learning Community”. The organization makes all of Cancer commons the collected data available to scientists working at over 20 cancer centers across the nation as they develop personalized therapies for patients as well as making personalized data and resources available to the patients who donate data and their caregivers. Researchers participate by contributing data and using the pooled data to help develop molecular models that delineate subtypes of cancer, diagnostic tests, therapies and clinical trials for treatment as well as a database of potential biomarkers, treatments and outcomes. Physicians who participate are able to share case reports and patient data, as well as the opportunity to analyze and comment on the information being generated by researchers working with the pool of data. While the organization is collecting data on all types of cancer, the currently supported types include Lung Cancer, Melanoma and Prostrate Cancer.

Street maps as public goods

mapMost of the readers might be used to use their gps powers smart phone to look up directions on a detailed and up to date map. However, this does not exist everywhere. In the slumps of our world there is a lack of good maps, which are essential for economic prosperity (like deciding what kind of infrastructure to build). Using OpenStreetMaps, a collaborative tool to make maps, volunteers from the Humanitarian OSM Team go around the globe to create maps. These collaborative maps can be used by aid and development agencies.