paper No. 02-030
The Economic Logic of “Open Science” and the Balance between Private Property Rights and the Public Domain in Scientific Data and Information: A Primer
Paul A. David
High access charges imposed by holders of monopoly rights in intellectual property have overall consequences for the conduct of science that are particularly damaging to programs of exploratory research which are recognized to be vital for the long-term progress of knowledge-driven economies. Like non-cooperative behaviors among researchers in regard to the sharing of access to raw data-steams and information, and systematic under-provision the documentation and annotation required to create reliably accurate and up-to-date public database resources, lack of restraint in privatizing the public domain in data and information can significantly degrade the effectiveness of the entire research system. Considered at the macro-level, open science and commercially oriented R&D based upon proprietary information constitute complementary sub-systems. The public policy problem, consequently, is to keep the two sub-systems in proper balance by public funding of “open science” research, and by checking excessive incursions of claims to private property rights over material that would otherwise remain in the public domain of scientific data and information.
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