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Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication

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

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

  • Joshua S. Gans & Fiona E. Murray & Scott Stern, 2013. "Contracting Over the Disclosure of Scientific Knowledge: Intellectual Property and Academic Publication," NBER Working Papers 19560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19560
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    2. Bernhard Ganglmair & Emanuele Tarantino, 2014. "Conversation with secrets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 45(2), pages 273-302, June.
    3. Frank Mueller‐Langer & Richard Watt, 2018. "How Many More Cites Is A $3,000 Open Access Fee Buying You? Empirical Evidence From A Natural Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(2), pages 931-954, April.
    4. Roberto Camerani & Daniele Rotolo & Nicola Grassano, 2018. "Do firms publish? A multi-sectoral analysis," JRC Working Papers on Corporate R&D and Innovation 2018-05, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    5. Ajay K. Agrawal & Joshua S. Gans & Scott Stern, 2020. "Enabling Entrepreneurial Choice," NBER Working Papers 27379, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Feldman, Maryann & Kenney, Martin & Lissoni, Francesco, 2015. "The New Data Frontier," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1629-1632.
    7. Zoltán Lakner & Anna Kiss & József Popp & Zoltán Zéman & Domicián Máté & Judit Oláh, 2019. "From Basic Research to Competitiveness: An Econometric Analysis of the Global Pharmaceutical Sector," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(11), pages 1-17, June.
    8. Soo Jeung Lee, 2019. "Academic entrepreneurship: exploring the effects of academic patenting activity on publication and collaboration among heterogeneous researchers in South Korea," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 44(6), pages 1993-2013, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Gümüsay, Ali Aslan & Bohné, Thomas Marc, 2018. "Individual and organizational inhibitors to the development of entrepreneurial competencies in universities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 363-378.
    11. David Hidalgo-Carvajal & Ruth Carrasco-Gallego & Gustavo Morales-Alonso, 2021. "From Goods to Services and from Linear to Circular: The Role of Servitization’s Challenges and Drivers in the Shifting Process," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(8), pages 1-26, April.
    12. Shuto Miyashita & Shogo Katoh & Tomohiro Anzai & Shintaro Sengoku, 2020. "Intellectual Property Management in Publicly Funded R&D Program and Projects: Optimizing Principal–Agent Relationship through Transdisciplinary Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(23), pages 1-17, November.
    13. 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.
    14. Xiuwen Chen & Jianping Li & Xiaolei Sun & Dengsheng Wu, 2019. "Early identification of intellectual structure based on co-word analysis from research grants," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 121(1), pages 349-369, October.
    15. Goldstein, Anna P. & Narayanamurti, Venkatesh, 2018. "Simultaneous pursuit of discovery and invention in the US Department of Energy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(8), pages 1505-1512.

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    More about this item

    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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