Knowledge Networks and Markets in the Life Sciences

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Around the OECD countries and beyond, there is a proliferation of initiatives in the life sciences to bring together disperse elements of global research and establish an effective virtual infrastructure for open innovation. Their common goal is to leverage innovative capacity by creating interconnected webs of knowledge and exploiting external expertise.

Some such initiatives have as their goal the monetisation and trading of knowledge in the form of intellectual assets. Others seek to create networks for pooling and exchange of knowledge. Together, these initiatives can be referred to as “knowledge networks and markets” (KNMs). This report considers the development of such KNMs and examines the impact of current initiatives and the possible options for governments, working with the private sector, to improve innovation efficiency and effectiveness.

Improving the interoperability of knowledge resources is fundamental to  the creation of a necessary shared infrastructure for efficient KNM to emerge, as is related sustainable funding and policy clarity. Governments can play a vital catalytic role in improving the productivity of KNMs through such infrastructure development and encouragement of associated social networking. the report makes suggestions for some priority actions based on existing case studies.    



This report introduces the concept of knowledge networks and markets (KNMs), and discusses the new organisations and mechanisms that are emerging to share and to trade an increasing variety of knowledge-intensive assets. It describes numerous case studies of such initiatives in order to illustrate the variety of open knowledge management approaches. The report discusses the technological, economic and industrial environments that have led to the rise of KNMs, and in particular delves into advances in both computer science and knowledge valuation that could further facilitate the representation and exchange of knowledge assets. The report argues that the creation of such exchange mechanisms is an important new trend in the life sciences, and particularly in the health sector, with potentially profound influence on the innovation process. Despite the novelty of KNMs, this report identifies some early policy lessons about the role of governments in the creation and maintenance of KNMs.


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