<CPOV> The costs of knowledge

Juliana Brunello juliana at networkcultures.org
Tue Mar 23 14:47:25 CET 2010

Wow, I wasn't aware of such a possibility!

However, I don't know how exactly this would work in the case of
Wikipedia. Articles are edited by a different number of authors, so how to
compensate them? Divide equally? Divide per word count? How should it
actually be measured and is it possible to automate the process?


> Hi Juliana
> Thats really a necessary question.
> We had in the germanspeaking Wikipedia in the last year trouble about
> In Germany you can get money from the state, if you are publishing books or
> articles. And since two years you can get money, if you publish
> internet-articles. If your internet-article has enough clicks, than you can
> get 30-40 € for each article. If your article is published by an
organization, than you get 60% and the organization gets 40% of the
> Each year the internet-authors in Germany get 12 million € from
the state
> (from VG-Wort).
> I was in contact with VG-Wort and they told me, they want also give
> to
> Wikipedia / the Wikipeda-Authors. But the Wikimedia-Foundation and the
German chapter didn't want to have the money. They didn't told anything
> the German authors. The ideology: Wikipedia-Authors have a lot of fun,
> they write articles for Wikipedia. It's not work, it's a hobby.
> If there an internet-content-organization is not part of the VG-Wort,
> the internet-authors can get a special distribution. VG Wort was giving
around three € for each article (if it has enough clicks). It's
not much
> money for one article, but some authors have written thousands of articles.
> The German Wikimedia-Chapter knows about this special distribution, but
> didn't inform the Wikipedia-Authors about this easy possibility to get
> for their work.
> Best
> Andreas
> 2010/3/23 Juliana Brunello <juliana at networkcultures.org>
>> Hi all,
>> This is a two paragraph quote from a text published at firstmonday called
>> ‘Signs of epistemic disruption: Transformations in the knowledge
system of the academic journal’ by William W. Cope and Mary
>> http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2309/2163
I find their questions not only interesting, but necessary.
>> “Everybody who writes for Wikipedia has to have another source of
income. What would happen to the global scholarly publishing industry
>> academics assumed collective and universal responsibility for self
publishing, an industry supporting in 2004 a reported 250,000 employees
worldwide with a US$65 billion turnover (Peters, 2007)? What would
>> to scholarly associations and research institutes that have
>> gained revenue from the sale of periodicals and books? An ironical
consequence of a move to social production would, in the
>> much–trumpeted era of the knowledge or creative economy, be to value
>> knowledge making and creativity at zero when coal. How do knowledge
workers eat and where do they live? Without doing away with the market
entirely, we are consigning a good deal of knowledge work to
>> volunteerism, unaccountable cross–subsidy, charity or penury. We
know from experience the fate of workers in other domains of unpaid
>> such as the unpaid domestic work of women and carers. Making it free means
>> that it is exploited. In the case of the knowledge economy, the exploiters
>> are the likes of Google who take the unpaid work of social producers
>> make a fortune from it.
>>>> In this perspective, in this era of the new, digital media we might be
witnessing no more than one of the old marvels of industrial capitalism
— a technology that improves productivity. In the case of
>> making, the efficiencies are so great — print encyclopedias vs.
Wikipedia, celluloid movies vs. digital movies posted to YouTube, PDF
journal articles vs. print journals — that we get the impression
that the costs have reduced to nothing. But they have not. They have
>> been lowered. We have become too dazzled by the reduction in costs to
notice the costs we are now paying. So low are these costs in fact that
>> are can even afford to make these cultural products in our spare time, and
>> not worry too much about giving away the fruits of our labors to companies
>> who have found ways to exploit them in newly emerging information markets.
>> Knowledge is a product of human labor and it needs human labor to make it
>> available. There can never be zero costs of production and distribution of
>> knowledge and culture, theoretical or empirical. At most, there are
productivity improvements. Far from ushering in a new mode of
>> production,
>> the driving force is more of the same engine that over the past few
centuries has made capitalism what it is.”
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