Academic Commercialization and Changing Nature of Academic Cooperation

20 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013 Last revised: 22 Nov 2014

See all articles by Sotaro Shibayama

Sotaro Shibayama

Lund University - Department of Business Administration; University of Tokyo

Date Written: November 14, 2014


Recent economic policies emphasize the role of academic science in technological innovation and economic growth and encourage universities and individual academics to engage in commercial activities. In this trend of academic commercialization, a growing concern has been expressed that its potential incompatibility with the traditional norms of open science could undermine the cooperative climate in academia. Drawing on the framework of evolution of the cooperation, this study examines the changing nature of academic cooperation under the current policy trend. In an ideal state of open science, academics are supposed to cooperate gratis and unconditionally. However, results predict that the commercialized regime could compromise underlying mechanisms of cooperation and allow defectors to prevail. As the trend further grows, academics would become more demanding of direct reward in exchange for cooperation, and they would refrain from engaging in cooperation but would prefer to work independently. Some interventions (e.g., centralized rewarding) could mitigate the problem but require delicate system design.

Keywords: Science Policy, Open science, Indirect reciprocity, Resource sharing, Life Sciences, Scientific Norms, Academic entrepreneurship, Academic Capitalism, Material Transfer, Social Exchange, Evolutionary game theory

JEL Classification: I23, L26, O33, C73, O38

Suggested Citation

Shibayama, Sotaro, Academic Commercialization and Changing Nature of Academic Cooperation (November 14, 2014). Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: or

Sotaro Shibayama (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Box 117
SE-221 00 Lund, S-220 07

University of Tokyo ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656


Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics