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The Market Economy, and the Scientific Commons

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  • Richard R. Nelson

Abstract

It is widely believed that while society allows technology to be private property, scientific knowledge is public and open. However, over the past quarter-century there has been increasing patenting of quite basic scientific knowledge. This essay argues that this is potentially a very serious problem. The future development of technology, as well as the future progress of science, is greatly facilitated when basic scientific knowledge is public and open. The paper explores the various factors that have led to the growing privatization of scientific knowledge. And it explores a variety of policy changes that can stop, and even reverse, these trends.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard R. Nelson, 2003. "The Market Economy, and the Scientific Commons," LEM Papers Series 2003/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2003/24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nathan Rosenberg, 2009. "Uncertainty and Technological Change," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), Studies On Science And The Innovation Process Selected Works of Nathan Rosenberg, chapter 8, pages 153-172, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    2. Dosi, Giovanni, 1988. "Sources, Procedures, and Microeconomic Effects of Innovation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 1120-1171, September.
    3. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Levin, Richard C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Winter, Sidney G., 1995. "On the sources and significance of interindustry differences in technological opportunities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 185-205, March.
    4. Mowery,David C. & Nelson,Richard R. (ed.), 1999. "Sources of Industrial Leadership," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521645201, December.
    5. Mowery,David C. & Nelson,Richard R. (ed.), 1999. "Sources of Industrial Leadership," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521642545, December.
    6. Jeannette Colyvas & Michael Crow & Annetine Gelijns & Roberto Mazzoleni & Richard R. Nelson & Nathan Rosenberg & Bhaven N. Sampat, 2002. "How Do University Inventions Get Into Practice?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 48(1), pages 61-72, January.
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    Keywords

    Science; Technology; Patents; Open Knowledge.;
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