Taxonomy of Collective Authorship

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Why a taxonomy?

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The current taxonomy

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Drafting / Boneyard / Workspace Below

ChatGPT and Pete, 2024-02-05

my idea is this might be a starting place to fill more of this page in. it's not exhaustive or anything. -- PK, 2024-02-25


What are some models for collectively authoring books or knowledge bases?


Collective authorship models for books or knowledge bases can vary widely, depending on the objectives, scale, and context of the project. These models harness the collaborative efforts of multiple contributors to create comprehensive, multifaceted works. Here are several well-known models:

  1. Wiki Model: The most famous example is Wikipedia. In this model, anyone with internet access can write and edit entries. This approach is highly decentralized and relies on community governance and peer review to maintain quality and accuracy.
  2. Open Source Book Writing: Similar to open-source software development, this model involves authors contributing to a book or document stored in a version control system like GitHub. It allows for transparent tracking of changes, discussion on content, and collaborative editing. Books on programming, technology, and academic subjects are often developed this way.
  3. Editor-Contributor Model: Traditional but adaptable to collaborative environments. An editor or group of editors outline the structure of the book or knowledge base and then solicit contributions from various authors. Each contributor is responsible for a chapter or section. The editors compile these contributions into a cohesive work. This model is common in academic publishing and edited volumes on specific topics.
  4. Crowdsourcing through Contests and Open Calls: Organizations or individuals announce a topic and invite submissions from the public. This model can generate diverse perspectives on a subject. The organizers then select, edit, and compile these submissions into a final product. This approach is often used for anthologies, essay collections, and community-driven projects.
  5. Collaborative Online Platforms: Beyond wikis, there are specialized platforms designed for collaborative writing and editing, such as Overleaf for academic papers (especially in STEM fields) and Authorea. These platforms offer tools for real-time collaboration, version control, and sometimes peer review processes.
  6. Community-Sourced Q&A Sites: Platforms like Stack Exchange allow users to collaboratively build a knowledge base by asking questions and providing answers. While not a book in the traditional sense, these sites create comprehensive resources on a wide range of subjects.
  7. Shared Document Platforms: Google Docs and similar cloud-based services enable real-time collaboration on documents. These tools are used for a variety of purposes, from academic group projects to the drafting of reports by distributed teams.

Each model has its strengths and challenges, including issues of quality control, governance, motivation of contributors, and the management of intellectual property rights. The choice of model often depends on the goals of the project, the nature of the content, and the intended audience.