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The Market Economy, and the Scientific Commons

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  • Richard R. Nelson

Abstract

It is widely believed that while society allows technology to be private property, scientific knowledge is public and open. However, over the past quarter-century there has been increasing patenting of quite basic scientific knowledge. This essay argues that this is potentially a very serious problem. The future development of technology, as well as the future progress of science, is greatly facilitated when basic scientific knowledge is public and open. The paper explores the various factors that have led to the growing privatization of scientific knowledge. And it explores a variety of policy changes that can stop, and even reverse, these trends.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2003/24.

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Date of creation: 26 Dec 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2003/24

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Keywords: Science; Technology; Patents; Open Knowledge.;

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References

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  1. Jeannette Colyvas & Michael Crow & Annetine Gelijns & Roberto Mazzoleni & Richard R. Nelson & Nathan Rosenberg & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2002. "How Do University Inventions Get Into Practice?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 61-72, January.
  2. Nathan Rosenberg, 1996. "Uncertainty and technological change," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 40(Jun), pages 91-125.
  3. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-71, September.
  4. Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard C. Levin & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1993. "On the Sources and Significance of Interindustry Differences in Technological Opportunities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1052, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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