Leviathan in the Commons: Biomedical Data and the State
Governing Medical Knowledge Commons (eds. Katherine Strandburg, Brett Frischmann, & Michael Madison, Cambridge University Press, 2017)
27 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2016 Last revised: 14 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 28, 2016
This chapter analyzes the role that the state has played with respect to the generation and management of large repositories of scientific data, situating it within the context of commons theory and the organization of common pool resources. Extending beyond the traditional “big science” conception of the state as creator/provisioner of large-scale scientific data pools, and the literature of state-based innovation incentives, this chapter identifies nine distinct but interdependent roles that the state has played in assembling and maintaining scientific data sets. It uses as a case study the U.S. federal government’s engagement with genomic research projects beginning with the Human Genome Project and encompassing a range of federally-funded, public-private and private sector projects. It then assesses the potential roles that the state may play in the formation and maintenance of new pools of biomedical data, namely data from clinical trials. The analytical framework described in this chapter offers a means by which state engagement with data-intensive research projects may be compared across agencies, fields and national borders. This framework may be used to assess the effectiveness of state engagement in such research programs and to configure state engagement in new data commons in a manner that can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of data sharing arrangements and improve overall social welfare.
Keywords: Commons, Big Data, Clinical Trials, Genomics, Database, Data Repository, GenBank
JEL Classification: D23, K00, O32, O34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation