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

41 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2010 Last revised: 29 Oct 2014

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)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 16, 2014

Abstract

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.

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

JEL Classification: O34

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Murray, Fiona and Stern, Scott, Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication (September 16, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1559871 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1559871

Joshua S. Gans (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

Canada

HOME PAGE: http://www.joshuagans.com

NBER ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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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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