Contested Resource Inputs to Science: How Institutional Provisions on the Access and Use of Materials and Data Affect Research Collaboration Structures and Outcomes
ASU, Center for Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Studies, November 2017
16 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017
Date Written: Sept 2017
GenNet investigates how institutional controls on biological resource inputs – data and material – affect collaboration structures and science production among US based academic scientists. These material and data inputs are subject to policy and organized efforts to govern their availability and use. With respect to biological materials, global and national policies have sought to establish increasing levels of monitoring and control over their access, exchange, and use. Policy rationales vary widely but institutional controls have been established to address fairness and equity in response to biopiracy concerns, safety and security in the face of bioterrorism, health and safety, and intellectual property rights. These policies respond to important stakeholder demands but also control domestic and international flows and uses of biological materials. With respect to data, global and national policies have sought to encourage greater data exchange and sharing. The 2012 G-8 Summit set out to “promote policies and invest in projects that open access to publicly funded, global agriculturally relevant data streams, making such data readily accessible to users [farmers, researchers and policy makers]... world-wide”. The Obama presidency announced its open data policy and open data executive order in the spring of 2013 establishing new domestic open data policies. These higher-level national and international policies over data and biological materials demonstrate opposing policy end points along a continuum of the openness of science. This research project investigates scientists’ perceptions of these controls and their behavioral approaches to dealing with this ever-changing regulatory environment. We systematically explore how scientists navigate the increasingly complex institutional environment that, to different degrees, facilitates or restricts access, exchange, and use of data and material inputs to research. The primary research question is: How do institutional controls over material and data resource inputs to research affect scientific collaboration structures, resource flows and research outcomes over time?
The study examines: 1. How science collaboration structures (networks) adapt to institutional controls and constraints either as exploratory or exploitative strategies; 2. How individual, dyadic, network and resource factors are associated with data and material flows in scientists’ networks; 3. How institutions that dictate resource availability, exchange and use result in structural and relational changes over time; 4. How restrictions on materials are mediated by network structures, relationships, attitudes and resource characteristics; and 5. How structural change, particularly exploratory and exploitative strategies, are associated with the quantity and quality of research production.
Keywords: science policy, networks, biological materials, science regulations, materials exchange, data exchange
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