It has almost become conventional wisdom that the viability of modern open science norms and practices depends on public disclosure of new knowledge, methods, and materials. At the same time, long-run trends suggest a broad shift is taking place in the institutional financing structure that supports academic research. According to data compiled by the OECD, industry sources are financing a growing share of academic research while "core" public funding is generally shrinking. This ongoing shift from public to private sponsorship is a cause for concern because these sponsorship relationships are fundamentally different. Available evidence suggests that industry financing does not simply replace dwindling public money, but imposes additional restrictions on academic researchers. In particular, industry sponsors frequently limit disclosure of research findings, methods, or materials by delaying or banning public release. Hence, in this paper we examine the relationship between industry sponsorship and restrictions on disclosure using individual-level data on German academic researchers. Our results show a strong positive relationship between the degree of publication restrictions and the share of industry sponsorship. The percentage of respondents who reported higher secrecy (partial or full) is significantly larger for industry sponsored researchers than it is for researchers with other extramural sponsors, 41% and 7% respectively. Holding other factors constant, a 10% increase in a researcher’s share of industry sponsorship increases the probability that he or she will experience publication delay or secrecy by 4.4 percentage points. In this respect, our results shed light on an important challenge facing policymakers. Understanding the trade-off between public and private sponsorship of academic research involves gauging the impact of disclosure restrictions on the quantity, quality, and evolution of academic research to better understand how these restrictions may ultimately influence innovation and economic growth.

Czarnitzki, Dirk, Christoph Grimpe and Andrew Toole (2011), Delay and Secrecy: Does Industry Sponsorship Jeopardize Disclosure of Academic Research?, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 11-009, Mannheim, published in: Industrial and Corporate Change. Download

Keywords

open science, research funding, industry sponsorship, disclosure, secrecy