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Knowledge management 2.0: the proposal for Commipedia

Franco Cozzani (Directorate General for Research and Innovation, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 16 March 2015




The purpose of this paper is to present an innovative in-house knowledge management system of core know-how for European Commission (EC) officials. It shows how the quality of the work of officials could be improved and how talent growth and recognition could be better fostered within the EC, taken as target for the proposal, as well as example for other large, multi-disciplinary organisations that might wish to implement a similar system.


The study considered what the key issues for better knowledge management in the EC are, and what could be learnt from the successful implementation of Diplopedia, the knowledge wiki of the US Department of State, and from previous studies of author rank, quality and stability of individual entries in the public Wikipedia. The less known Citizendium wiki was also considered. Adopting a design science approach, a first conceptual design for a EC-wide in-house knowledge wiki was developed and validated through two successive iterations using a simplified Delphi approach. A final conceptual design of this wiki was then prepared.


The study found that a system aiming at high quality of entries, allowing for a healthy breadth of substance-based opinions, covering a vast scope of subjects and offering security of operation can be designed. It is argued that visible authorship, allowing room for dissenting opinions, opting for non-public access of the entries and setting up a bibliometrics method to reward high-quality contribution to the system are essential elements to ensure its adoption and ultimate success.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of the study is that the new system, yet to be accepted within the EC, is untested in a real situation. The paper should, therefore, be seen as an example of “design science” rather than an analysis of an already implemented system. It is surmised that more research is needed on preservation and growth of quality in wiki entries, and how ranking editors can contribute to that aim.

Practical implications

The Commipedia system proposed in the present paper will have practical positive implications in the EC discharge of its duties, which have constantly increased over the years at each revision of the EU treaties. A similar system can address similar needs of in-house knowledge management and talent management in large public and private organisations.


This paper fulfils the need to provide the EC with a way to cope with mobility and retirement of experienced officials, to retain their knowledge, distribute across its different departments, update and improve it and, additionally, reward expertise and talent of officials, increasing in turn their wish to contribute to Commipedia. Neither the EC nor other large multi-disciplinary organisations have such a general system at their disposal.



The author wishes to thank Robert-Jan Smits, Director General of the Research and Innovation Directorate General in the European Commission, and Fabio Colasanti, former Director General of the Information Society and Media Directorate General (now DG Connect) in the European Commission, for their personal early support in developing his own proposal for Commipedia. Early discussions with Mario Campolargo, Director in the Information Society and Media Directorate General in the European Commission, are also gratefully acknowledged.

This paper is the sole endeavour of the author, and the opinions and statements herein contained, either explicit or inferred, are solely the author’s and should not be taken to reflect the views, nor involve the responsibility, of the European Commission or its Services.


Cozzani, F. (2015), "Knowledge management 2.0: the proposal for Commipedia", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 17-34.



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