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    de Saint-Georges, Matthis and van Pottelsberghe de la Potterie, Bruno 2013. A quality index for patent systems. Research Policy, Vol. 42, Issue. 3, p. 704.

    Allarakhia, Minna and Walsh, Steven 2011. Managing knowledge assets under conditions of radical change: The case of the pharmaceutical industry. Technovation, Vol. 31, Issue. 2-3, p. 105.

    Fauchart, Emmanuelle and von Hippel, Eric 2008. Norms-Based Intellectual Property Systems: The Case of French Chefs. Organization Science, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 187.

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    Burk, Dan L. 2007. Intellectual Property in the Context of e-Science. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Vol. 12, Issue. 2, p. 600.

    Allarakhia, M. and Wensley, A. 2005. A Unifying Discipline for Melting the Boundaries Technology Management:. p. 262.


Property Rights Theory and the Commons: The Case of Scientific Research

  • Robert P. Merges (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2009

For some time now, commentators in and out of the scientific community have been expressing concern over the direction of scientific research. Cogent critics have labeled it excessively commercial, out of touch with its “pure,” public-spirited roots, and generally too much a creature of its entrepreneurial, self-interested times. In most if not all of this hand-wringing, the scientific community's growing reliance on intellectual property rights, especially patents, looms large. Indeed, for many the pursuit of patents is emblematic of just what is rotten in the republic of science today.

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Jon Cohen , “Share and Share Alike Isn't Always the Rule in Science; Many Researchers Fail to Share Materials,” Science, vol. 268 (06 23, 1995), pp. 1715–18.

Carl Djerassi , “The Gray Zone: Academic Researchers and Private Enterprise,” Science, vol. 261 (08 20, 1993), p. 972.

Robert P. Merges , “Intellectual Property and the Costs of Commercial Exchange: A Review Essay,” Michigan Law Review, vol. 93 (1995), p. 1570.

Thrainn Eggertsson , Economic Behavior and Institutions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Eleanor Ostrom , Governing the Commons (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

Glenn Stevenson , Common Property Economics: A General Theory and Land Use Applications (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)

Robert Cooter , “Inventing Market Property: The Land Courts of Papua New Guinea,” Law and Society Review, vol. 25 (1991), p. 760

Rebecca Eisenberg , “Patents and the Progress of Science: Exclusive Rights and Experimental Use,” University of Chicago Law Review, vol. 56 (1989), p. 1017

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Thomas Kiley , “Patents on Random Complementary DNA Fragments?Science, vol. 257 (1992), p. 915

Bernadine Healy , “Special Report on Gene Patenting,” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 327 (1992), p. 664.

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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