What is the collaborative economy?

We use Rachel Botsman’s definition, which is “an economic system that unlocks the value of underused assets through platforms that match ‘haves’ with ‘wants’ in ways that enable greater efficiency and access.” You can find more helpful definitions from Rachel for the ‘sharing economy,’ ‘peer economy,’ ‘collaborative consumption,’ and other related terminology here.


What does the Collaborative Economy Library do?

We curate and share high-quality research through the Library, making it easy for people to find unbiased and useful studies that will inspire innovation and advance public discourse on the collaborative economy. We collect and publish research from a variety of trusted sources, including peer-reviewed journals, think tanks, governments, and (occasionally) private companies. Including non-academic sources allows us to stay on top of rapidly evolving trends, while academically rigorous studies remain core to the Library’s value.

How do you choose which studies to include in the Collaborative Economy Library?

When we receive studies through the Submit page or through email, we do an initial screen to determine whether the study is free and for public consumption (at least its abstract) and related to the collaborative economy. When a study passes these initial criteria, it is shared with a reviewer who assesses the quality of research methodology, as well as its clarity and relevance. Once the study is accepted, we notify the person who submitted it and then post it on our website.

Who’s behind the Collaborative Economy Library?

Launched in May 2015, the Library was developed as a resource for an MBA course on the collaborative economy, taught by Rachel Botsman and Pamela Hartigan at the Saïd Business School University of Oxford. It is now an online resource managed by Nesta, shareNL and Rachel Botsman with the help of a community of research reviewers from across the globe.

How can I participate in the Collaborative Economy Library?

  • Submit a study. You’re welcome to submit your own or someone else’s.
  • Stay in touch. Follow us on Twitter and sign-up for our e-newsletter.
  • Become a reviewer. If you’re working as a researcher at an academic institution or are doing your dissertation on the collaborative economy, we would love to have you as a reviewer. Our reviewers assess 4-6 articles a year and help us maintain the Library as a high quality resource for researchers, policy makers and practitioners. Please contact our community manager for more information on how to join our growing and global review team.
  • Help us spot knowledge gaps: If you’ve noticed unanswered questions that you wish researchers would tackle, email them to us! We are developing a space on the website to highlight knowledge gaps for the research community.

For any other questions, please contact Nevena Dragicevic, our community manager: