Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1559871
 
 

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Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication


Joshua S. Gans


University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Fiona Murray


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center

Scott Stern


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

April 8, 2011


Abstract:     
Knowledge disclosure plays a central role in models of economic growth. In this paper, we provide a theoretical model that evaluates the conditions supporting disclosures of privately funded knowledge through scientific publication, patenting, or both. Our analysis is grounded in the conflicting incentives facing researchers and their funders: scientists have incentives to disclose discoveries through scientific publication while firms have incentives to protect their ideas through patenting or secrecy. We focus on the strategic interaction between researchers and firms bargaining over whether (and how) knowledge will be disclosed. We evaluate four different disclosure strategies: secrecy, commercial science (patenting), open science (scientific publication) and patent-paper pairs (disclosure along both dimensions). Our model then derives the conditions under which each of these outcomes emerges and offers insights into the determinants of the disclosure strategy of a firm. Importantly, we find that patents and publications are complementary instruments in facilitating the disclosure of scientific knowledge; thereby providing a microeconomic unpinning of assumptions commonly made in endogenous growth models as well as a framework for understanding the impact of patent protection on the openness of science.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: disclosure, science, academic freedom, publication, secrecy, cumulative knowledge, intellectual property protection

JEL Classification: O34

working papers series


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Date posted: February 27, 2010 ; Last revised: January 14, 2014

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Murray, Fiona and Stern, Scott, Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication (April 8, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1559871 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1559871

Contact Information

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )
Canada
HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

NBER ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Fiona E. Murray
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )
United States
Scott Stern
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-3053 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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