Redmonk, a small IT analyst firm, wants to change the analyst industry by open sourcing it.

James Governor at Redmonk explains:

"After setting up RedMonk one of the first questions I was asked came from one of the coolest people I have met in this business--Microsoft's Susan Koehler (you try succeeding in Redmond while bringing up three boys and still remembering to take them the gingerbread home!) The question she asked was the kind of question you hear in Redmond perhaps more than you do anywhere else--what are you going to do to revolutionize your industry?"

How to create a revolution:

"we took the decision to “open source" a recent report of ours, focusing on an approach to solving business problems we call Compliance Oriented Architecture (PDF). In simpler terms, we took about three months work, the results of scores of interviews with enterprise IT users, audit officers, risk managers, IT vendors and services companies - some of our most valuable intellectual property, in other words - and published the whole thing under a CreativeCommons license. And we'll do it again."

...We believe that industry analysts need to get out of the Cathedral and into the Bazaar. Its time to clean up the business. We can only do that in collaboration with others. We should be more transparent about who is paying the bills too. We're going to keep open sourcing content. We're going to keep talking to practitioners and treating them like peers. "

Stephen O'Grady, Redmonk's other half, chips in:

"This goal, to date, has been met with varying responses ranging from approval to cynicism to skepticism. All of those reactions are, in my opinion, quite appropriate. Despite these mixed reviews, I believe passionately that this is not only the right move for RedMonk, but really a recognition of what we feel is an inevitable trend."

O'Reilly's Nathan Torkington comments on Redmonk's efforts to shake up the analyst industry:

"In one sense, they're being the first to remove value from what has been the staple of the industry. That generally presages a big shift in the industry, though it relies upon the perception of value as different from price. That is, if no other analyst company follows suit, will CEOs think "wow, I'm getting a bargain" or will they think "perhaps RedMonk reports are worth nothing". It'll be interesting to see how that plays out. Their competition already sees value in blogs, so it's not a stretch to see more open analyst reports.

...Of course, the other way to look at RedMonk's move is as marketing. By CC-licensing their reports, they're effectively getting much more opportunity to be spoken about.

...So it's an interesting move for RedMonk--it gets them free advertising, for a while, and may undercut their competition. The longer-term effectiveness remains to be seen."

An example report (under the CC licence) on the open source Mono project based on .NET, is available (PDF) here.