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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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Learning from Lin:

Learning from Lin:

Lessons and Cautions from the Natural Commons for the Knowledge Commons

(p.45) 2 Learning from Lin
Governing Knowledge Commons

Daniel H. Cole

Oxford University Press

This chapter explains how Elinor Ostrom’s work on natural common-pool resources has limited lessons to offer intellectual property scholars, virtually none of which is normative. Her body of work provides an object lesson in how carefully structured conceptual, methodological, and analytical tools, such as her Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, can assist in (1) understanding information flows under alternative institutional arrangements; (2) diagnosing problems in existing institutional arrangements; and (3) predicting, in at least some cases, the outcomes of changes in institutional arrangements. Her work offers little or no normative guidance for the structure of intellectual property systems or knowledge commons. Scholars need to bear in mind that in Ostrom’s work on common-pool natural resources, in contrast to “knowledge commons,” “open access” was often the problem to be solved, rather than a solution to a problem of too little access to information.

Keywords:   Information, commons, open access, common-pool resources, Elinor Ostrom, IAD framework, institutions

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