In a number of countries worldwide significant efforts have been made to increase the commercialization of research, conducted by public institutions and funded with public resources. Universities have begun employing increasingly sophisticated strategies on how to profit from their research spillovers, including the well-known conventional methods of out-licensing, establishing spin-offs, etc. This is aimed to support the growth of innovation in specific fields, boost economic growth and at the same time facilitate the effective transfer of technology from research to application. Will this trend create the intended knowledge growth and provide an ongoing incentive for greater supply or will it fend off companies from partnering up with universities or governmental research institutions and thus become a spoke in the wheels of Open Innovation?

Even more generic and worrying questions can be put for discussion, i.e.: will this continuing process push the academia towards more ‘applied’ research, away from basic (or fundamental) research, which is of greater importance in terms of long-term growth[1], or will it lead to an increasing privatization of scientific commons, thus inducing a risk of essential share of future knowledge to become private property and outside the common public reach?[2]

[1] Guellec D., Potterie B., The Economics of the European Patent System, p.188

[2] Nelson, R.R., The Market Economy and the Scientific Commons, Research policy, 33 (3).