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Governing Medical Knowledge Commons
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Book description

Governing Medical Knowledge Commons makes three claims: first, evidence matters to innovation policymaking; second, evidence shows that self-governing knowledge commons support effective innovation without prioritizing traditional intellectual property rights; and third, knowledge commons can succeed in the critical fields of medicine and health. The editors' knowledge commons framework adapts Elinor Ostrom's groundbreaking research on natural resource commons to the distinctive attributes of knowledge and information, providing a systematic means for accumulating evidence about how knowledge commons succeed. The editors' previous volume, Governing Knowledge Commons, demonstrated the framework's power through case studies in a diverse range of areas. Governing Medical Knowledge Commons provides fifteen new case studies of knowledge commons in which researchers, medical professionals, and patients generate, improve, and share innovations, offering readers a practical introduction to the knowledge commons framework and a synthesis of conclusions and lessons. The book is also available as Open Access.


‘Governing Medical Knowledge Commons is a very interesting and useful book, and I am delighted to say so! Innovation development is increasingly becoming open and distributed over time. Whether and how the fruits of this openly revealed activity can be collected and efficiently utilized as a commons is a very important next question. Strandburg, Frischmann, and Madison greatly help further progress via this collection of very thoughtful studies on pioneering medical commons models and trials.'

Eric von Hippel - T. Wilson Professor in Management, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

'This volume builds on Elinor Ostrom’s research on the commons. Understanding the institutions that promote cooperation is critical to good governance and improving social welfare. The authors in this volume provide case studies of governance in the medical commons. The insights are pathbreaking and will lead to better policies for medical research. Moreover, the insights here will be synergistic to research in other areas of governance of commons.'

Lee J. Alston - Director of the Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University, Bloomington

'This book makes significant advances on a decades-long research agenda through which Elinor Ostrom and other commons researchers uncovered the reasons behind the often surprising success of community-based management of natural resources. Contributors to this volume demonstrate that their concept of ‘commons as a mode of governance’ goes well beyond standard protections for intellectual property rights to integrate collaborative practice into the very heart of innovation in medical research and treatment. Case studies detail several impressive and diverse examples of this powerful synthesis of research and practice, and the editors conclude with practical lessons for how we might achieve comparable levels of improvement in other areas.'

Michael D. McGinnis - Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and former Director, Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University, Bloomington

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Full book PDF
  • Governing Medical Knowledge Commons
    pp i-i
  • Cambridge Studies on Governing Knowledge Commons - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Governing Medical Knowledge Commons - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Contents
    pp v-vi
  • Contributors
    pp vii-viii
  • 1 - The Knowledge Commons Framework
    pp 9-18
  • 2 - Leviathan in the Commons: Biomedical Data and the State
    pp 19-45
  • 3 - Centralization, Fragmentation, and Replication in the Genomic Data Commons
    pp 46-73
  • 4 - Genomic Data Commons
    pp 74-101
  • 5 - Population Biobanks’ Governance: A Case Study of Knowledge Commons
    pp 102-120
  • 6 - The Sentinel Initiative as a Knowledge Commons
    pp 121-143
  • 7 - Cancer: From a Kingdom to a Commons
    pp 144-165
  • 9 - Better to Give Than to Receive: An Uncommon Commons in Synthetic Biology
    pp 192-221
  • Appendix: Methods for Mouse Patent Landscape and Impact Analysis
    pp 249-258


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