Perspectives from Intellectual Property, Labour, Competition and Corporate Law
Edited by Marilyn Pittard, Ann L. Monotti and John Duns
Chapter 24: Innovation in public sector research
The research performed within universities produces new knowledge that can be disseminated to benefit innovation in at least three broadly defined, but not necessarily mutually exclusive, ways. One is through ‘open’ dissemination of the ideas for public use. This is the traditional way in which academics engage with their peers and the community at large and is reflected in the oft-used phrase: ‘publish or perish’. Dissemination will commonly be in the form of published literature such as books and articles, but may also arise through such activities as conference presentations, interviews, student supervisions and other forms of teaching. As a general principle, the purpose of open dissemination is to share and circulate new ideas widely so that others can use these for their own purposes without having to seek permission. Business innovation in its many forms can benefit from this open dissemination of public sector-generated research provided that the costs and conditions of access do not impede their wide availability on reasonable terms. There have been problems with affordable access to scholarly works in the past and the development of open source licences for software, Creative Commons licences and institutional open access databases for copyright works are initiatives that have helped to makes ideas more widely accessible. In recent years, there has been a move towards modifying this licensing approach so that it can apply to inventions in areas of health and biotechnology to enhance their availability and to avoid locking up the rights to exploit the technology in the hands of a few.
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