ABSTRACT

Wikipedia is a collection of articles that has come to occupy a prominent place on the World

Wide Web (Cuhalev, 2007). Recently, there has been a lively debate on the reliability and

quality of this encyclopedia (cf. Denning et al., 2005; Giles, 2005), but we contend that the

question how the quality of Wikipedia can be sustained and improved is even more

important. Ultimately, we would argue, this sustainability is a question of management.

While open science may be a fragile cultural legacy that depends on specific forms of

patronage (David, 2004), for open content it would seem sufficient that there are people

who are willing to contribute (von Hippel, 2007). Yet, it is important to keep in mind that the

establishment and maintenance of a collection of articles does not only require the free flow

of contributions, but also considerable effort to edit these contributions, integrate them with

the rest of the collection and maintain consistency and scope of the collection as a whole

(Mateos Garcia and Steinmueller, 2003). In this respect, Wikipedia is not unlike other

complex products and systems (Davies and Hobday, 2007). And it is these organizational

capabilities (Dosi et al., 2000) that we would like to study here.