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)
September 16, 2014
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 or ability to profitably commercialize their innovations. 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 can be complementary instruments facilitating the disclosure of knowledge-providing predictions as to when stronger IP protection regimes might drive openness by firms.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: disclosure, science, academic freedom, publication, secrecy, cumulative knowledge, intellectual property protection
JEL Classification: O34working papers series
Date posted: February 27, 2010 ; Last revised: September 17, 2014
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