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Scientific Data Commons Underutilisation: Causes, Consequences and Remedial Strategies

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: David, Paul A.; Steinmueller, W. Edward
Conference: 17th Annual Conference of The International Society for New Institutional Economics
Location: Florence, Italy
Conf. Date: June 20-22
Date: 2013
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10535/9066
Sector: Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): commons
Abstract: "The collection, retention and stewardship of scientific data are activities that in publicly funded science typically involve the construction of ‘knowledge commons’--institutionalized agreements that afford both suitable access to research resources and facilitate the development of governance structures assuring that those participating in both the assembly and use of data benefit from the resulting data stores. Nevertheless, there are many impediments and some seemingly insurmountable barriers to realising the full potential of such commons. It is of increasing importance to consider the conditions that give rise to under-utilisation of database content and the difficulties of constructing such commons. The paper considers five key issues contributing to under-utilisation: 1. Asymmetries in the costs and benefits to participants preparing dataset for use by other parties giving rise to confusions or opportunistic behaviours impeding shared use: 2. Uncertainties arising from ‘latent’ property rights in scientific data contributed to knowledge commons. 3. Tensions arising from the interests of employers in controlling access to the knowledge gained by employees engaged in scientific and technological research activities, particularly the tacit knowledge and un-codified information that is not subject to explicit intellectual property rights. 4. Motives and consequences exist for ‘data hoarding’ in the emerging ‘big data’ era. 5. Problems in defining and governing ‘hybrid’ commons where freely accessible data is combined with data that is proprietary. Methods of governance as well as voluntary agreement are considered for addressing each of these issues."

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