(Source: everythingisaremix.info)

I delivered this statement as a panelist at the RIPE@2022 conference “Between the Fourth Estate and the Fifth Power: Conservation and Innovation in Public Service Media Journalism”, September 19, 2022.

Facing competition from large platform giants, from Facebook to TikTok, how should, how could nationally embedded legacy Public Service Media providers ever even hope to compete with those global competitors?

One way to do so would require embracing digital remix culture with its three foundational pillars: copy, transform, combine.

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Dhaka Savar Building Collapse” by rijans, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

In the article “’We Can’t Compete on Human Rights’: Creating Market-Protected Spaces to Institutionalize the Emerging Logic of Responsible Management“, which has just come out at the Academy of Management Journal, Nora Lohmeyer, Sarah Ashwin and myself argue that the protection of labor and environmental standards in the global economy relies on the construction of “market-protected spaces”, institutionally bound spaces that suspend the dominance of the market logic on selected issues based on a binding regulatory infrastructure that allows prioritizing responsible management practices. This conclusion is based on years-long research on the consequences of the deadly Rana Plaza accident in Bangladesh in which thousands of garment workers were killed or injured. Our research shows that voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives are not enough to address systemic, complex social or environmental problems in the global economy. We agree with De Bakker, Matten, Spence, and Wickert (2020), who

see an urgent need to address an “elephant in the room” of corporate social responsibility (CSR) research: the systemic constraints exerted by the current economic paradigm that might not be reconcilable with responsible business conduct.

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Laudatio delivered by Leonhard Dobusch at the 38th EGOS Colloquium, July 7, 2022, at WU Vienna, Austria.

How can we assess what a pioneering and lasting contribution to “the social sciences dealing with organization, organized and organizing” is, as is required for anyone receiving an EGOS Honorary Membership. To do so, as a proxy, let me briefly sketch what is particular for organization studies as a discipline – and not just particular, but particularly great:

  • Organization studies is truly transdisciplinary. At EGOS, Business scholars meet sociologists and political scientists and anthropologists and communications scholars and also the occasional economist.
  • Probably because of its transdisciplinarity, organization studies is also characterized by great methodological openness and diversity. Organization studies was about mixed methods long before it was considered cool.
  • And, related to both these features, organization studies is a field that sports theoretical pluralism.

And this triad of transdisciplinarity, methodological openness and theoretical pluralism is also, what Sigrid not just contributed to, but rather what she lived, what she exemplified, what she spearheaded.

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Konstantin Hondros and myself had been invited to contribute to the great series of evidence summaries for the 21 for 2021 project, a CREATe project within the AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC). Specifically, we put together a synthesis on “Three Faces of Openness in Organising Copyright”:

In this blog, focusing on copyright-related aspects of open approaches across domains, we will first develop a typology of openness in organising copyright, ranging from permissive over viral to restrictive openness. Based upon this typology, we will review the empirical evidence available for each of these three types of organising copyright-related openness. We conclude with some reflections on potential avenues for future research within and across the various domains of openness.

Check out the blog post in full over at CREATe.

(leonhard)

In a recently published article in New Media & Society, Nicholas John (2022) reports on the decline of the use of “sharing” in the self-presention of large social network sites (SNS) over the last decade:

“there is a clear reduction in the use of the terminology of “sharing” in the self-presentation of SNSs during the decade under study. Where in the mid-2000s SNSs relied heavily on a rhetoric of sharing to promote their services, by 2020 “sharing” appears hardly at all.” (p. 2)

The world’s largest social media service Facebook is a case in point. Facebook changed the description on its landing page from “Share what’s new in your life on your Timeline” (2011) to “Connect with friends and the world around you on Facebook” (2020; on a side note, German Facebook still refers to “teilen” as of 2022).

Proportion of social network sites with “sharing” on their front page, 2011–2020. (Source: John 2022, p. 7)

Interpreting his findings, John states that “sharing” is no longer “the constitutive activity of social media” (p. 6). I would tend to disagree with this rather bold assessment and instead argue that sharing is still constitutive for even the largest and most successful social media sites such as Instagram or TikTok. However, the activity of sharing has become so institutionalized – taken-for-granted, as neo-institutionalists would say – that emphasizing it is not necessary to clarify what is happening on social media anymore. Actually, John himself later refers to related studies that put forward such a reading, claiming that practices such as “sharing” or “remixing” have “faded in to the ‘background noise’ of mainstream culture” (p. 12, with reference to Rosa et al. 2021).

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This post is provided by Suela Simoni, Student Assistant at Innsbruck University

While the concept of “open source” emerged as a radically open and transparent way of developing software, it is increasingly applied in other contexts as well. In pharmaceutical open source projects, for example, anyone can contribute at any time to the project, methods and data are in the public domain, and data is released as soon as it is acquired. However, compared to the software industry, open source approaches struggle to take ground in the pharma industry. As of December 2021 there has not been a single molecule worldwide, which has been discovered, developed, and brought to market completely open source. There are a few examples of patent-free molecules that have been going through clinical trials: one is the Praziquantel and the second one is the Fexinidazole. Since only a part of the process has been done openly in these cases, they cannot be considered to be completely ‘open source’. Using the example of the initiative “Open Source Malaria” and outlining the challenges they face, I will discuss why developing drugs and vaccines based on open source principles represents a difficult endeavor.

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Building upon a case study of the Medicines Patent Pool, this blogpost aims to set the Medicines Patent Pool/Merck License for Molnupiravir in a processual context.

About the License Agreement

Recently, on October 27, 2021, the Merck & Co., Inc. Kenilworth NJ USA (MSD) and the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) jointly announced the signing of a license agreement for Molnupiravir. Molnupiravir is an “an investigational oral antiviral medicine“ against Covid-19 that has shown promising results in Phase 3 clinical trials. The drug is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The voluntary license and technology transfer agreement for Molunpiravir allows generic manufacturers from anywhere in the world to produce the drug and supply it to 105 low-and middle income countries (the “territory”). Manufacturers can license royalty free for the time of the pandemic

While the medical non-governmental organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) criticizes the agreement for excluding “half of the world’s population and important upper-middle-income countries (UMICs) with robust manufacturing capacity, such as Brazil and China”, other medicine policy experts such as James Love or Peter Maybarduk celebrate the agreement as an “impressive achievement” or a “starting point and an example” to increasing access to Covid-19 therapies in LMICs. James Love commented that the “licensed area is large enough (more than half the world’s population) to induce efficient generic entry and economies of scale”. 

To understand the impacts of this license agreement, we take a closer look on the patent pool mechanism that is leveraged here. 

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At this year’s Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest, which takes place October 25th-29th 2021, Konstantin Hondros and myself presented a working paper titled “Tinkering and Repurposing: How Open Source Vaccine Initiatives Alternatively Organize for Novelty“.

While the innovation brought forward by biotech and pharmaceutical companies was exceptional, many countries still lack access to vaccines. Public debates arose discussing alternative ways of handling IP in vaccine R&D beyond the prettified standards of the western dominated pharmaceutical industry.

Building upon literature on organizational isomorphism (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983) and literature about the emergence of novelty in organizations (Cattani, Ferriani, & Lanza, 2017), we argue that the westernized pharmaceutical industry – mainly in response to regulative standards – has developed highly isomorph organizational practices that might make the entering of outsiders, who apply alternative approaches to vaccine R&D (e.g., open source approaches), quite difficult. Puzzled by the question of how alternative ways of fostering novelty can be embraced and gain legitimacy in organizational fields deeply relying on isomorphism, we ask: how do open source vaccince R&D initiatives alternatively organize for novelty?

Source: PPT Presentation by Milena Leybold

We compare two empirical cases that both build on an open source practice: Vaccinuum and RaDVaC (Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative). Vaccinuum (formerly OpenVax) was initially focused in developing a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2  and is now trying to discover an “Ultra-Broad Spectrum Open Source Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Future Epidemics” through processes of repurposing of already existing, “widely-available, approved, licensed, widely-accepted, non-exclusively manufactured, off- patent, live attenuated vaccines“.

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Platform rule No. x, own drawing

In a recent blog post, Amy Thomas from the CREATe center at the University of Glasgow suggests that contractual provisions can have – not least detrimental – effects for creativity on digital platforms. She points to uncertainty of users generating content (UGC) on platforms as their creations are regulated by a complex and often confusing “combination of legal, technical and contractual features,“ and particularly issues rising from the multiple (contractual) terms and conditions every platform develops, the T&Cs. Platforms do not disclose properly what they are allowed to do with users’ creativity and related intellectual property (IP), and hide behind legalese contract provisions. Thomas concludes that the complex regulatory “tapestry” eventually leads to an imbalance between platforms and users, perceived regulatory uncertainty of users and even “legal mandates to change the law without the legislative process.“ Instead of fostering creativity, platforms’ regulatory environments put “users in a confusing, and potentially vulnerable, position.“

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We, that is Sigrid Quack, Konstantin Hondros, Katharina Zangerle and I, proudly present the article “Between Anxiety and Hope? How Actors Experience Regulatory Uncertainty in Creative Processes in Music and Pharmy”, which has recently been published in “Research in the Sociology of Organizations” (RSO) as part of a volume on “Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey”. Check out the abstract below:

Uncertainty about Intellectual Property Regulations (IPR) is prevalent in today’s knowledge-based and creative industries. While prior literature indicates that regulatory uncertainty affects creative processes, studies that systematically analyze the effects of IPR on the experiencing of involved actors in creative processes across fields are rare. We ask how core professional actor groups including creators, legal professionals and managers involved in creative processes experience regulatory uncertainty in the fields of music and pharma. By studying practices of engaging with, circumventing and avoiding regulatory uncertainty about IPR, we show how creative processes in both the music and pharma fields are entrenched with emotional-cognitive experiences such as anxiety, indifference and hope that vary by professional group. Our findings point toward managers and legal professionals observing, exposing and cultivating emotions by ascribing experiences to other actor groups. We conclude that comparing regulation-related emotions of involved actors across fields helps to develop a deeper understanding of the dynamics of creative processes.

In case you or your institution does not have access to RSO please do not hesitate to contact me so I can send you a copy of our article.

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
September 2022
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