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Governing Knowledge Commons$
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Brett M. Frischmann, Michael J. Madison, and Katherine J. Strandburg

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199972036

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199972036.001.0001

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Constructing the Genome Commons

Constructing the Genome Commons

Chapter:
(p.99) 4 Constructing the Genome Commons
Source:
Governing Knowledge Commons
Author(s):

Jorge L. Contreras

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199972036.003.0004

Basic scientific research is often viewed as a public good: a nondepletable, nonrival resource in the public domain. The vast collection of genomic data generated since the Human Genome Project belies this description. This valuable resource, though accessible to researchers worldwide, is governed by a complex set of rules that have evolved over the past two decades. As such, the “genome commons” resembles the common-pool resources described by Elinor Ostrom more than it resembles a public good. This chapter’s analysis of the genome commons begins with Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework. It elucidates the stakeholder interests and negotiations that led to the rules-in-use, both formal and norms-based, that govern this global scientific resource. It concludes that a purely public goods approach to the genome commons is overly simplistic and, if pursued, could lead to lessening participation in the creation of this invaluable public resource.

Keywords:   Genome, gene, DNA, IAD framework, science commons, NIH, SNP, patent, public goods, biomedical research

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