More info at http://virt3c.wordpress.com/about/
The Virtual Communication, Collaboration and Conflict Research Group (VIRT3C) is about passionate collaborative production and exploring the strengths and weakness of peer technology and open projects.
VIRT3C will bring leading cybertheorists, internet, peer production and social networking experts together for knowledge-sharing, and collaboration in interdisciplinary academic projects, facilitating original ideas for research and funding applications. It will provide a physical base and a hub of activity, provoking and supporting new ideas of research to several successful virtual networks, such as the P2P Foundation, Oekonux and other virtual communities.
The reason people participate in online collaborative projects is to learn and develop new skills, which have economic value to developers and employers. It encourages and increases the value that can be added locally, instead of concentrating value with the proprietor. For example free software facilitates local economies, indicating a powerful organizational model, harnessing innovation and allocating scarce resources in a sustainable fashion. This new politico-economic model is currently having a great impact on business, media and global politics, to the extent that sociopolitical movements have taken notice of the potential of the new technoscape for societal change, as much as governments are more and more engaging with the financial benefits, challenges and threats of these informal communities and skills-development environments.