About GKC

Welcome, from the GKC team.

Knowledge commons means shared governance of knowledge, information, and data resources. For that content, many legal systems, including intellectual property law and privacy law, usually recommend exclusivity and ownership. For much of the same material, knowledge commons governance usually recommends collaboration and community.

Neither style of thinking or form of public policy is inherently better. Both, in context, can be effective. Knowing when and knowing how require empirical research as well as theory and ideology. The scope of knowledge commons is vast: from science, medicine, and health, to climate and the environment, to computing systems of all sorts, to arts and culture throughout history. Knowledge commons is useful both to industry and to research and education.

The scope of GKC research is equally vast.

How are knowledge, information, and other shared intellectual resources governed? What resources matter?  What challenges and opportunities do they present? What are the strengths and weaknesses of informal norms shared by self-managed groups?  What are the roles of the state and of technology?

The Workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons, or GKC for short, organizes and publishes research on knowledge commons governance, intending to develop a systematic, empirical basis for understanding the virtues, drawbacks, and mechanics of knowledge commons. The GKC framework, first published in 2010, underlies the entire GKC research project.

The GKC framework is motivated by the style of research pioneered by Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues, for which Ostrom was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2009.

While similar in style, the GKC approach differs in substance. The following two resources are excellent starting points:

A brief description of knowledge commons and knowledge commons governance.

A brief explanation of the Governing Knowledge Commons research framework.

Enjoy this video, produced by the International Association for the Study of Commons:

Last updated: September 2020