Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Paying for intellectual work

Marginal Revolution: A Market for Journal Articles
The current academic publishing system is slow, tedious, and error prone.  David Zetland, a clever economics graduate student at UC Davis, has a better idea.  Zetland suggests that journal publishers should buy manuscripts in an auction.  You probably already have some objections, Where would the money come from?  Why would journal editors buy what they can get for free? etc.  But wait.  Here comes the clever part:

The money paid in the auction would flow not to the author of the paper but to authors cited by the paper and their publishers.  For example, if a journal buys a paper by A.Tabarrok for $1000 which cites an article by T.Cowen published by Oxford University Press and an article by M. Friedman published by the University of Chicago Press then Cowen, Friedman and their publishers would each receive $250 (the author/publisher split could vary.)

It's rather unusual to come across a new idea in the domain of intellectual property. The general principal is that contributors (in this case publishers) are paid for their contribution to a derivative work. Can this be extended to other open source content types?

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