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Will Building ‘Good Fences’ Really Make ‘Good Neighbors’ in Science?


  • Paul A. David


March 2001 Problematic issues are raised by the expressed intention of the European Commission to promote greater awareness on the part of scientists in the “European Research Area” about intellectual property rights and their uses in the context of “Internet intensive research collaborations.” Promoting greater awareness and encouraging more systematic usage of IRP protections are logically distinct, but as policies for implementation - especially within the EC’s Fifth Framework Programme - the former can too readily shade into the latter. Building “good fences” does not make for “good (more productive) neighbors” in science. Balance needs to be maintained between the “open science” mode of research, and private proprietary R&D, because at the macro-system level the functions that each is well-suited to serve are complementary. Recent policy initiatives, particularly by the EC in relation to the legal protection of property rights in database, pose a serious threat to the utility of collaboratively consttructed digital information infrastructures which provide “information spaces” for voyages of scientific discovery. The case for alternative policy approaches is argued in this paper, and several specific proposals are set out for further discussion. Working Papers Index

Suggested Citation

  • Paul A. David, 2001. "Will Building ‘Good Fences’ Really Make ‘Good Neighbors’ in Science?," Working Papers 01005, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:01005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Christine Greenhalgh & Padraig Dixon, 2002. "The Economics of Intellectual Property: A Review to Identify Themes for Future Research," Economics Series Working Papers 135, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2014. "Pre-empted patents, infringed patents and firms’ participation in markets for technology," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 543-554.
    3. Rosemarie Ham Ziedonis, 2004. "Don't Fence Me In: Fragmented Markets for Technology and the Patent Acquisition Strategies of Firms," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 50(6), pages 804-820, June.
    4. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2009. "Inventions under siege? The impact of technology competition on licensing," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-039, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    5. Carlos Rosell & Ajay Agrawal, 2006. "University Patenting: Estimating the Diminishing Breadth of Knowledge Diffusion and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 12640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Grimpe, Christoph & Hussinger, Katrin, 2008. "Building and Blocking: The Two Faces of Technology Acquisition," ZEW Discussion Papers 08-042, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth
    • P - Economic Systems

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