By Laura Aufrère, RIPESS Europe Scientific Comittee
TAPAS There Are Platforms as AlternativeS research program aims to deepen the distinction between “platform companies” and so-called “collaborative” or “alternative” platforms. While the former are characterized by vertical governance and the appropriation of most of the value created by the platform manager, alternative platforms are organized in a more horizontal manner and distribute bundles of rights over the resources created, according to the logic of sharing the commons. They outline a field that is likely to emancipate itself from purely commercial principles in order to better respond to the imperatives of social and environmental sustainability, by mobilizing a plurality of economic principles and by creating links with the initiatives of the digital commons and the social and solidarity economy.
The empirical study is based on nine in-depth case studies: CoopCycle (bike delivery organized by coursiers collectives), France Barter (barter and exchange between enterprises), Framasoft (popuplar education and advocacy regarding the stakes of digital practices and digital rights), Mobicoop (free car-pooling, developping local solidarities), Oiseaux de Passage (ethical travel services and hospitality), Open Food France (digital market place for local food producers and shops), SoTicket (ethical ticketing), Tënk (online independant documentary platform). The corresponding monographs (in French) are integrated in the TAPAS collection available, as well as the report and it’s executive summury are on open accesss on HAL at via this link.
The analyses conducted by the team aim to provide information on the characteristics and conditions of development of these alternative platforms (in terms of economic models, governance and work) which, through the solutions and innovations they bring, can foreshadow the evolution of innovative practices and regulations.