Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication
Joshua S. Gans
University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
October 15, 2013
This paper provides a theoretical investigation of the tension over knowledge disclosure between firms and their scientific employees. While empirical research suggests that scientists exhibit a ‘taste for science,’ such open disclosures can limit a firm’s competitive advantage. To explore how this tension is resolved we focus on the strategic interaction between researchers and firms bargaining over whether (and how) knowledge will be disclosed. We evaluate four disclosure strategies: secrecy, patenting, open science (scientific publication) and patent-paper pairs providing insights into the determinants of the disclosure strategy of a firm. We find that patents and publications are complementary instruments facilitating the disclosure of knowledge and, counter-intuitively, that stronger IP protection regimes are likely to drive openness by firms.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 37
Keywords: disclosure, science, academic freedom, publication, secrecy, cumulative knowledge, intellectual property protection
JEL Classification: O34working papers series
Date posted: February 27, 2010 ; Last revised: October 15, 2013
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