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    Open Source and open library

    The open source movement claims that the building of software in an open, collaborative way—enabled by the sharing of the source code—allows software to be built better and faster. The open library concept is an attempt to apply the concept of the open source to a library setting. We start off with the RePEc experience.

    Within the confines of RePEc as a document collection, it is unrealistic to expect free distribution of a document's source code. Such a source code is, for example, the word processor file of an academic paper. If such a source code were available for others to change, then the ownership of the intellectual property in the document would be dissolved. Since intellectual ownership over scientific ideas is crucial in the academic reward system, it is unlikely that such source code distribution will take place. Within the confines of RePEc's institutional and personal collection, there is no such source code that could be freely shared.

    To apply the open source principle to RePEc we must conceptualize RePEc as a collection of data. In terms of the language adopted by the open source concept, the individual data record is the "source code". The way the data record is rendered in the user interface is the "software" as used by the end user. We can the define the open library as a collection of data records that has a few special properties.