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Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure and the Public-Private Portfolio

70 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2011  

Joshua S. Gans

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management; NBER

Fiona Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 4, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines argues that while two distinct perspectives characterize the foundations of the public funding of research – filling a selection gap and solving a disclosure problem – in fact both the selection choices of public funders and their criteria for disclosure and commercialization shape the level and type of funding for research and the disclosures that arise as a consequence. In making our argument, we begin by reviewing project selection criteria and policies towards disclosure and commercialization (including patent rights) made by major funding organizations, noting the great variation between these institutions. We then provide a model of how selection criteria and funding conditions imposed by funders interact with the preferences of scientists to shape those projects that accept public funds and the overall level of openness in research. Our analysis reveals complex and unexpected relationships between public funding, private funding, and public disclosure of research. We show, for example, that funding choices made by public agencies can lead to unintended, paradoxical effects, providing short-term openness while stifling longer-term innovation. Implications for empirical evaluation and an agenda for future research are discussed.

Keywords: research, scientists, funding, commercialization, intellectual property, disclosure

JEL Classification: O34

Suggested Citation

Gans, Joshua S. and Murray, Fiona, Funding Scientific Knowledge: Selection, Disclosure and the Public-Private Portfolio (January 4, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1735064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1735064

Joshua 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 Murray

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Entrepreneurship Center ( email )

United States

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