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Disclosure or secrecy? The dynamics of Open Science

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  • Mukherjee, Arijit
  • Stern, Scott

Abstract

Open Science is a dynamic system of knowledge production that depends on the disclosure of knowledge by researchers as an input into knowledge production by future researchers. To analyze the conditions supporting Open Science, we develop an overlapping generations model that focuses on the trade-off between disclosure and secrecy. While secrecy yields private returns that are independent of the actions of future generations, the benefits of disclosure depend in part on the use of disclosed knowledge by the subsequent researchers. We show that Open Science and Secrecy are both potential equilibria, and that the feasibility of Open Science depends on factors such as the costs of accessing knowledge from prior generations and the relative benefits to private exploitation under secrecy versus disclosure. In parameter regions where both Open Science and Secrecy can be supported, Open Science is associated with a higher level of social welfare. The analysis has policy implications for a number of areas, including public support for research training, appropriate design of formal intellectual property, and the role of scientific norms and institutions (such as an effective peer review process) in maintaining Open Science over the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukherjee, Arijit & Stern, Scott, 2009. "Disclosure or secrecy? The dynamics of Open Science," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 449-462, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:indorg:v:27:y:2009:i:3:p:449-462
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    Cited by:

    1. Ganglmair, Bernhard & Holcomb, Alex & Myung, Noah, 2016. "Cutthroats or comrades: Information sharing among competing fund managers," MPRA Paper 71506, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Dirk Czarnitzki & Christian Rammer & Andrew Toole, 2014. "University spin-offs and the “performance premium”," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 309-326, August.
    3. Gans, Joshua S. & Murray, Fiona E. & Stern, Scott, 2017. "Contracting over the disclosure of scientific knowledge: Intellectual property and academic publication," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 820-835.
    4. Haeussler, Carolin & Jiang, Lin & Thursby, Jerry & Thursby, Marie, 2014. "Specific and general information sharing among competing academic researchers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 465-475.
    5. Toole, Andrew A. & King, John L., 2011. "Industry-science connections in agriculture: Do public science collaborations and knowledge flows contribute to firm-level agricultural research productivity?," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-064, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2014. "Open Access to Research Data: Strategic Delay and the Ambiguous Welfare Effects of Mandatory Data Disclosure," Discussion Papers in Economics 21037, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    7. Dirk Czarnitzki & Christoph Grimpe & Andrew A. Toole, 2015. "Delay and secrecy: does industry sponsorship jeopardize disclosure of academic research?," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 251-279.
    8. Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick & Mueller-Langer, Frank, 2014. "Open access to data: An ideal professed but not practised," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(9), pages 1621-1633.
    9. Marie C. Thursby & Jerry Thursby & Swasti Gupta-Mukherjee, 2007. "Are There Real Effects of Licensing on Academic Research? A Life Cycle View," NBER Chapters,in: Academic Science and Entrepreneurship: Dual Engines of Growth National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Carolin Haeussler & Lin Jiang & Jerry Thursby & Marie C. Thursby, 2009. "Specific and General Information Sharing Among Academic Scientists," NBER Working Papers 15315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Boudreau, Kevin J. & Lakhani, Karim R., 2015. "“Open” disclosure of innovations, incentives and follow-on reuse: Theory on processes of cumulative innovation and a field experiment in computational biology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 4-19.
    12. repec:eee:iepoli:v:42:y:2018:i:c:p:20-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Jeffrey L. Furman & Scott Stern, 2011. "Climbing atop the Shoulders of Giants: The Impact of Institutions on Cumulative Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1933-1963, August.
    14. Jong, Simcha & Slavova, Kremena, 2014. "When publications lead to products: The open science conundrum in new product development," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 645-654.
    15. Sascha Friesike & Bastian Widenmayer & Oliver Gassmann & Thomas Schildhauer, 2015. "Opening science: towards an agenda of open science in academia and industry," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 581-601, August.
    16. Lacetera, Nicola & Zirulia, Lorenzo, 2012. "Individual preferences, organization, and competition in a model of R&D incentive provision," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 550-570.
    17. Marc Blatter & Andras Niedermayer, 2008. "Informational Hold-Up, Disclosure Policy, and Career Concerns on the Example of Open Source Software Development," Working Papers 08-06, NET Institute, revised Sep 2008.

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