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Contracting over the disclosure of scientific knowledge: Intellectual property and academic publication

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  • Gans, Joshua S.
  • Murray, Fiona E.
  • Stern, Scott

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical investigation of the tension over knowledge disclosure between firms and their scientific employees. While empirical research suggests that scientists exhibit a “taste for science,” such open disclosures can limit a firm's competitive advantage or ability to profitably commercialize their innovations. To explore how this tension is resolved we focus on the strategic interaction between researchers and firms bargaining over whether (and how) knowledge will be disclosed. We evaluate four disclosure strategies: secrecy, patenting, open science (scientific publication) and patent-paper pairs providing insights into the determinants of the disclosure strategy of a firm. We find that patents and publications can be complementary instruments facilitating the disclosure of knowledge-providing predictions as to when stronger IP protection regimes might drive openness by firms.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:4:p:820-835
    DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2017.02.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernhard Ganglmair & Emanuele Tarantino, 2014. "Conversation with secrets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 273-302, June.
    2. Frank Mueller-Langer & Benedikt Fecher & Dietmar Harhoff & Gert G. Wagner, 2018. "Replication Studies in Economics: How Many and Which Papers Are Chosen for Replication, and Why?," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2018-01, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    3. Harhoff, Dietmar & Stoll, Sebastian, 2015. "Exploring the Opaqueness of the Patent System - Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 496, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    4. Feldman, Maryann & Kenney, Martin & Lissoni, Francesco, 2015. "The New Data Frontier," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1629-1632.
    5. Ashish Arora & Sharon Belenzon & Andrea Patacconi, 2015. "Killing the Golden Goose? The Decline of Science in Corporate R&D," NBER Working Papers 20902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:2:p:363-378 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disclosure; Science; Firm strategy; Publication; Secrecy; Intellectual property (IP) protection;

    JEL classification:

    • M55 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Contracting Devices
    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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