You will find all publications of the research project here: reports, presentations, journal articles and more.

Peer Innovation Working Paper - Sustainibility Open-Source-Communities


Technical solutions are open source if they are publicly accessible so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, produce and sell them. Open source projects exemplify the inventiveness and creative power of peer communities in the joint development and dissemination of new technologies. This study examines peer collaboration in the Open-Source-Communities OpenEnergyMonitor, OpenStreetMap and Precious Plastic as prominent case studies of peer innovation with relevance for sustainable development. The report uses quantitative and qualitative empirical methods of analysis to trace the online interaction of the communities, to describe and visualise the networks and to better understand their importance for the innovation process. The case studies show the diversity of the Open-Source-Communities and the variety of their contributions to socio-technical change. The development and dissemination of technical solutions is only one aspect with which these networks contribute to the emergence and social anchoring of sustainable innovations.

Peer Innovation Working Paper - Sustainibility Open-Source-Communities (in german)
PeerInnovation Arbeitsbericht 3 Open-Sou
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 2.7 MB

Peer Innovation Discussion Paper Measuring peer innovation in online communities


This discussion paper describes the why and how of our current approach to measuring innovation activities in online communities. A special focus lies on the description of how we operationalized the concept of "peer innovation" to manually label interactions in online forums. We label whole forum threads and threads' initial posts to be able to train, evaluate, and select indicators for peer innovation that are based on properties of contributions, contributors, and community extracted from online forum data. Our current dataset, for which we present first labelling results, comprises the online forums of the Precious Plastic, OpenEnergyMonitor, and OpenStreetMap communities.


Heß, P.; Gleu, A. (2022): Measuring peer innovation in online communities. Discussion paper for the expert workshop "How innovative are peer communities? Approaches to the empirical assessment of peer innovation" on 14 January 2022.

Peer Innovation Discussion Paper – Measuring peer innovation on online communities
Discussion Paper.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 839.7 KB

Peer Innovation – Indicators for innovation in peer communities


Individuals innovate in their spare time to satisfy their own needs, for the joy of making or to improve the world - a phenomenon that is surprising only because business is commonly understood to be the driving force of innovation. Although several studies point to the importance of private individuals as a source of innovation, it is still clearly underestimated by decision-makers. This misperception is also reflected in the failure of official innovation statistics to take into account activities in the household sector. So far, there is a lack of suitable indicators to adequately capture innovation activity outside the corporate sector. The research project examines peer innovation, the cooperation of private actors in online communities in the development of new solutions, as a prime example of this phenomenon. This second working report of the project provides a comprehensive overview of current approaches in research in the measurement of online communities that can be derived from data on the digital interactions of network members. From this, a framework for capturing peer innovation is developed in this second working report.

Peer Innovation – Indicators for innovation in peer communities
PeerInnovation Arbeitsbericht 2.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 1.6 MB

Peuckert, J.; Cuntz, A. (2020). Commons-basierte Innovation: Von Hackerspaces und IT Start-ups. Ökologisch Wirtschaften 1.2020 (35): 20-21. DOI: 

Peuckert, J. (2020). Peer Innovation für Nachhaltigkeit: Der unsichtbare Beitrag von Peer-Communities zum gesellschaftlichen Wandel. Ökologisch Wirtschaften 4.2020 (35): 30-34. DOI:

Peer Innovation - Contributions to Innovation and Sustainability


The first working report highlights the collaboration of private individuals in peer communities. Peer innovation is defined as a specific form of innovation in the household sector, characterized by openness, self-motivation and collaboration of private individuals. This is the basis of the transformative potential of this innovation mode, which the working report describes. To this end, it takes stock of empirical studies on the frequency and relevance of innovation in the household sector and shows why the development of suitable methods for measuring peer innovation is urgently needed.

Peer Innovation - Contributions to Innovation an Sustainability (in German)
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 1.7 MB