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Proprietary vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products

Author

Listed:
  • Alfonso Gambardella
  • Bronwyn H. Hall

Abstract

We study the production of knowledge when many researchers or inventors are involved, in a setting where tensions can arise between individual public and private contributions. We first show that without some kind of coordination, 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, and we show that the General Public License (GPL) used in the provision of open source software is one of such mechanisms. Our results are then applied to the specific setting where the knowledge being produced is software or a database that will be used by academic researchers and possibly 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, 2005. "Proprietary vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products," NBER Working Papers 11120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11120
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Hall, Bronwyn H & Link, Albert N & Scott, John T, 2001. "Barriers Inhibiting Industry from Partnering with Universities: Evidence from the Advanced Technology Program," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 26(1-2), pages 87-98, January.
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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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software

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