TABLE 4-4 Sharing of Research Materials, by Consumer Sector and Supplier Sector


Average Percent Non-Compliance



Consumer Estimate (%)

Supplier Estimate (%)


















SOURCE: Walsh et al., 2005.

Rates of refusal or noncompliance are highest for university to industry, followed by industry to university and industry to industry requests (Table 4-4)

  • The consequences of being denied a tangible research input can be more severe than the inability to license another’s intellectual property, because in the latter case work may proceed, albeit at some liability risk. The survey asked about four possible adverse impacts—abandonment, delay, change in research approach, or the need to develop the research input in the requester’s own laboratory. The results are shown in Table 4-5.

    What stands out is the higher incidence of adverse effects for drug discovery and pathway researchers, especially those working on NF-kB.

  • Fewer than half of material requests entail an MTA, and the presence or absence of a formal agreement does not appear to be central to whether ultimately the materials are shared. But the process of negotiating an MTA frequently entails costs in terms of restricted freedom of action, delays in proceeding, and financial costs to institutions. Reach-through claims are common as are publication restrictions, more so than royalty payments. Negotiations over MTA terms frequently occasion delays (with 11 percent of the requests leading to negotiations taking more than one month to conclude), especially when the suppliers are industrial firms. Industry suppliers also are much more likely to require MTA than academic suppliers.

  • Although agreements for transfer of patented technologies are more likely to contain restrictive terms and have protracted negotiation histories than are agreements involving unpatented technologies, one cannot infer that patenting per se was the cause of the difficulties. Both patenting and complex drawn out negotiations derive from the commercial potential of the technology and the desire of the supplier and conceivably the consumer to capture a greater share of the rents from that potential.

  • For academics, the most common reason given for denying or ignoring a request was simply the effort involved and the need to protect publication. For

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