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Propriety vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products

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  • Alfonso GAMBARDELLA
  • Bronwyn H. HALL

Abstract

We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where there tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show, with the aid of a simple model, that without some kind of co-ordination, production of the public knowledge good (science or research software or database) is sub-optimal. Then we demonstrate that if "lead" researchers are able to establish a norm of contribution to the public good, a better outcome can be achieved. We show that the General Public License (GPL) used in the provision of open source software is one such mechanism. We then apply our results to the specific setting where the knowledge being produced is software or a database that will be used by academic researchers and possibly also by private firms, using as an example a product familiar to economists, econometric software. We conclude by discussing some of the ways in which pricing can ameliorate the problem of providing these products to academic researchers.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfonso GAMBARDELLA & Bronwyn H. HALL, 2004. "Propriety vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products," Economics Working Papers ECO2004/15, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2004/15
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Francesco Rullani, 2005. "The Debate and the Community. “Reflexive Identity” in the FLOSS Community," LEM Papers Series 2005/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andrea Fosfuri & Marco S. Giarratana & Alessandra Luzzi, 2005. "Firm Assets and Investments in Open Source Software Products," DRUID Working Papers 05-10, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    4. Joaquin Azagra-Caro & Juana Aznar-Marqez & Juan Blanco, 2008. "Interactive vs. non-interactive knowledge production by faculty members," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1289-1297.
    5. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "Incentives for knowledge production with many producers," Working Papers wp292, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production

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