Specific and general information sharing among competing academic researchers
We examine information sharing among academics during the research process and show it is context dependent because of differences in trade-offs. When researchers respond to specific requests for information or materials, potential future reciprocity is weighed against the current loss of competitiveness, while general sharing intermediate results in an open forum is driven by the need for feedback versus potential misappropriation. We formally model these trade-offs and empirically test for differences using a survey of German and UK bio-scientists. Increased competition has a negative impact on sharing in both contexts. But career stage has an effect only on specific sharing with untenured faculty less likely to share. Further, scientists in larger teams are more likely to share specifically, but less likely to share generally. The importance of patents for one's reputation reduces sharing in both contexts, but the effect is greater for general information sharing.
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