Access to Information and Knowledge

Access to Information and Knowledge

21st Century Challenges in Intellectual Property and Knowledge Governance

Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series

Edited by Dana Beldiman

Massive quantities of information are required to fuel the innovation process in a knowledge-based economy; a requirement that is in tension with intellectual property (IP) laws. Against this backdrop, leading thinkers in the IP arena explore the ‘access challenge’ of the 21st century, framed as the tension between the interest in the free flow of information and the fragmentation of knowledge resulting from strong IP laws.

Chapter 1: Public Sector Information as open data: access, re-use and the third innovation paradigm

Marco Ricolfi

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


Before examining the mechanics of Public Sector Information (PSI), I am going to attempt to place this recent phenomenon into the broader context of the history of innovation and creativity and of the societal institutions which shaped it. In this perspective, one way we may look at the history of innovation and creativity in the last two centuries is to give an account of how the ingenuity of individual innovators was gradually replaced by the organized, systematic and formalized effort of corporate entities. These may have been either private businesses or public research centres and universities, the latter having an inclination towards basic research as much as the former specialize in applied research and development. In both cases, the original paradigm of Benjamin Franklin-like individual creativity took the back seat while the latter, management and organization-based paradigm took centre stage.The case can be made – and is indeed being made – that in the last two decades a third, entirely novel, network-driven paradigm of innovation and creativity has gradually been emerging. The possibility of a myriad of cooperative research enterprises, which use the web as an instrument to bring together vast data sets accumulated by the different players and their insights, has become a reality.

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