The commons is “the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including natural materials such as air, water, and a habitable earth”. These resources are held in common, not owned privately. The term “commons” derives from the traditional English legal term for common land, which are also known as “Commons”.

Today, the commons are also understood within a cultural sphere. These commons include literature, music, arts, design, film, video, television, radio, information, software and sites of heritage. A commons is also defined in a digital context as “as an information and knowledge resources that are collectively created and owned or shared between or among a community and that tend to be non-exclusivedible, that is, be (generally freely) available to third parties. Thus, they are oriented to favor use and reuse, rather than to exchange as a commodity. Additionally, the community of people building them can intervene in the governing of their interaction processes and of their shared resources”. Examples of digital commons, i.e. public domain knowledge reproduced in digital formats, are Wikipedia, a type of Free Software and Open-source hardware projects, which are often released under creative commons, a  licensing system for creative works.

In the context of Open Science, the concept of Open Science Commons has recently been put forward by in a recent publication and discussed on a dedicated website. According to, “the Open Science Commons is an approach to sharing and governing advanced digital services, scientific instruments, data, knowledge and expertise that enables researchers to collaborate more easily and be more productive”.

The Sci-GaIA project consortium has adopted the concept of Open Science Commons and several commons have been identified and deployed. They are listed in the upper panels of the figure shown on the right. Move the mouse over them to get more information.

It is worth noting that all components of the Sci-GaIA Open Science Platform can be cloned – all together or separately – in the context of other projects and initiatives. For more information, please contact