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The Economic Impacts of Open Science: A Rapid Evidence Assessment

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  • Michael J. Fell

    () (UCL Energy Institute, University College London, London WC1H 0NN, UK)

Abstract

A common motivation for increasing open access to research findings and data is the potential to create economic benefits—but evidence is patchy and diverse. This study systematically reviewed the evidence on what kinds of economic impacts (positive and negative) open science can have, how these comes about, and how benefits could be maximized. Use of open science outputs often leaves no obvious trace, so most evidence of impacts is based on interviews, surveys, inference based on existing costs, and modelling approaches. There is indicative evidence that open access to findings/data can lead to savings in access costs, labour costs and transaction costs. There are examples of open science enabling new products, services, companies, research and collaborations. Modelling studies suggest higher returns to R&D if open access permits greater accessibility and efficiency of use of findings. Barriers include lack of skills capacity in search, interpretation and text mining, and lack of clarity around where benefits accrue. There are also contextual considerations around who benefits most from open science (e.g., sectors, small vs. larger companies, types of dataset). Recommendations captured in the review include more research, monitoring and evaluation (including developing metrics), promoting benefits, capacity building and making outputs more audience-friendly.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Fell, 2019. "The Economic Impacts of Open Science: A Rapid Evidence Assessment," Publications, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(3), pages 1-30, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jpubli:v:7:y:2019:i:3:p:46-:d:244757
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicholas Bloom & Charles I. Jones & John Van Reenen & Michael Webb, 2020. "Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(4), pages 1104-1144, April.
    2. Heidi L. Williams, 2013. "Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Evidence from the Human Genome," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(1), pages 1-27.
    3. Mueller-Langer, Frank & Andreoli-Versbach, Patrick, 2018. "Open access to research data: Strategic delay and the ambiguous welfare effects of mandatory data disclosure," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 20-34.
    4. Mowery, David C. & Ziedonis, Arvids A., 2015. "Markets versus spillovers in outflows of university research," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 50-66.
    5. John Houghton & Peter Sheehan, 2009. "Estimating the Potential Impacts of Open Access to Research Findings," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 127-142, March.
    6. Joanna Chataway & Sarah Parks & Elta Smith, 2017. "How Will Open Science Impact on University-Industry Collaboration?," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 11(2), pages 44-53.
    7. Vicente-Saez, Ruben & Martinez-Fuentes, Clara, 2018. "Open Science now: A systematic literature review for an integrated definition," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 428-436.
    8. Perkmann, Markus & Schildt, Henri, 2015. "Open data partnerships between firms and universities: The role of boundary organizations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 1133-1143.
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    Cited by:

    1. Carmen López-Vergara & Pilar Flores Asenjo & Alfonso Rosa-García, 2020. "Incentives to Open Access: Perspectives of Health Science Researchers," Publications, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-17, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    open science; open access; open data; economic impacts;

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media

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