The Society for Knowledge Commons is a not for profit organisation, registered as a society under the Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860, and operating out of New Delhi, India. The Society was formed in 2007 by scientists, technologists, researchers, and activists to leverage the tremendous potential of the ‘collaborative innovation’ model for knowledge generation that has lead to the growth of the Free and Open Source Software community (FOSS) around the world.
Knowledge Commons aims to harness the FOSS model based on collaboration, community and the shared ownership of knowledge to address challenges faced by India in areas like education, the sciences and the arts, e-governance and other areas that impact our digital knowledge society.
The society is part of the broader umbrella movement working to advocate the use of FOSS solutions in India – known as the Free Software Movement of India.
Through our activities, we aim to encourage the use of scientific and technical knowledge to aid progress of the country’s people and to enable equitable development of the economy. We believe that knowledge being treated as a common good – as opposed to it being circumscribed by private rights (such as restrictive intellectual property protection) – has massive socio-economic and political benefits, not least the fact that this promotes public access to knowledge (and therefore a more informed, technically aware and capable citizenry).
Accordingly, we at the Society for Knowledge Commons have the following objectives:
- Generate awareness about the “commons” approach to production and reproduction of knowledge
- Develop and disseminate appraisal of public policy in the country that impact on generation and use of knowledge
- Mobilise public opinion to impress on policy makers the need to promote laws and policies that advance open use of knowledge
- Specific initiatives, using legal avenues – such as pre-grant opposition to patent claims by companies,
- use instruments such as the Right to Information Act to make available information, etc. — to expose and challenge attempts to commodify knowledge
Work within public policy making structures to modify policies so as to advance free and widespread dissemination of knowledge
Promote free and open source software – through policy interventions, campaigns and developing appropriate ecosystems
Work within designated public structures to encourage changes in educational curriculum in order to promote the use of free and open source software
Campaigns in institutions, such as schools, to promote use of free and open source systems of software
In order to further these objectives we engage in various activities such as:
- Organisation of campaigns, etc., designed for different target groups, viz. scientists, school teachers, academics, etc.
Regular publications and research papers including in leading journals and newspapers;
Organisation of seminars, conferences and workshops with different stakeholders;
Collaboration with other organizations, both inside and outside the country, with similar objectives.
Specific Areas of Interest:
- Internet Governance / IT and Telecom: The governance of the Internet is not simply one of running the Domain Name System (DNS) and other critical Internet resources. With the Internet increasingly becoming the global marketplace, repository of knowledge, global media and an essential means of communications, its governance has enormous economic, social and political implications. We at the Society for Knowledge Commons believe that it is essential to frame Internet Governance debates from a perspective that expands democracy and social and economic justice; that preserves the rights of people as well as the sovereign rights of countries; and ensure that the Internet is used for peace and not war.
- Access to Knowledge and Free Software: We believe that the FOSS model, based on collaboration, community and the shared ownership of knowledge can be used to address challenges faced by India in areas like education, the sciences and the arts, e-governance and other areas that impact our digital knowledge society.