The Schulich School of Business at York University has received a $30,000 grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to study how businesses benefit by contributing to the public development of open-source software.
Led by Ellen Auster, a professor of strategic management/policy and director of the Schulich Centre for Teaching Excellence, and strategic management PhD candidate Mekki MacAulay, the study is part of a broader research agenda at Schulich into open-source strategy and non-traditional modes of production worldwide.
This Schulich study will challenge the common assumption that open-source collaboration gives away value knowledge to other companies and is therefore bad for business. Instead, Schulich researchers will examine for the first time how the strategic participation by Canadian organizations in collaborations, such as Mozilla’s Firefox project, have actually contributed to organizations’ individual competitiveness, skills development, network, reputation and/or growth over time.
“What is the value for Canadian businesses of not just using but also contributing to open-source software? That’s the innovative question we’re asking that has never before been researched at a Canadian university,” said MacAulay. “Our research will help Canadian organizations who deliver business or social services on the Internet understand, from a strategic perspective, how developing open-source tools to access the Internet can make them more competitive and better address the needs of their stakeholders.”
The Schulich researchers will report their findings in May 2015, said MacAulay.
Schulich is one of only 28 organizations to receive funding through CIRA’s Community Investment Program, launched earlier this year to provide more than $1 million in funding to community groups, not-for-profits and academic institutions for projects to enhance the Internet for the benefit of all Canadians.
“The enthusiastic response we saw from applicants across the country is evidence of CIRA’s long-standing conviction that the Internet has become a critical daily tool in the lives of all Canadians,” said Byron Holland, CEO of CIRA. “Our selection committee faced a difficult task to review and choose from among 149 applications, representing just under $8 million in requests. I want to personally congratulate the Schulich School of Business at York University as one of our first funding recipients.”
CIRA is a non-profit, member-driven organization that manages the .CA top-level domain, Canada’s online identifier, on behalf of all Canadians. CIRA also facilitates the development of a better Internet for all Canadians and represents the .CA registry internationally.