Together with Sigrid Quack (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Markus Lang (University of Heidelberg), I have investigated the case of Creative Commons to learn more about formal and informal feedback cycles in transnatioal standard-setting. The article “Open to Feedback? Formal and Informal Recursivity in Creative Commons’ Transnational Standard-Setting” has been published in Global Policy and the abstract reads as follows:
In this article, we examine how non-membership organizations that claim stewardship over a transnational public or common good, such as the environmental or digital commons, develop combinations of formal and informal recursivity to develop and maintain regulatory conversations with their dispersed user communities. Based on a case study of Creative Commons, an organization that developed what have become the most widely used open licenses for digital content, we show how rhetorical openness to informal feedback from legitimacy communities in different sectors and countries can improve the feasibility and diffusion of standards. However, as long as the standard-setter’s methods of making decisions on the basis of such feedback remains opaque, its communities are likely to raise accountability demands for more extensive ex post justifications.
Global Policy also asks its authors to provide at least three policy implications, which we were happy to deliver:
- Voluntary stewardship organizations that seek to exercise stewardship for a transnational public or common good have to balance the advantages and disadvantages of informal feedback in their standard-setting procedures.
- Insofar as such organizations combine informal but open feedback with formalized but opaque decision-making procedures, they have to address rising demands for ex post explanation and justification of their decisions.
- To counterbalance biases towards self-selection of the most active communities inherent in informal feedback, stewardship organizations should develop targeted measures to include groups affected by their standards that would otherwise likely remain absent from the feedback process.
The full text of the article is available at the journal’s website. As usual, please send me an e-mail in case you are interested but your institution does not provide access to the journal.