delayed release thus can be viewed as a strategy for managing a tradeoff between the advantages of publication and the risks of competitors' taking the lead. If the delay is managed carefully, the risks will be minimal.
If we turn to isolated release, the strategic incentives are similar to those for delayed release. However, the practices that enable people to make data-streams impossible to extend are often controversial. A good example of a means of data isolation in the arena of disease-gene mapping is the renaming of clones: by changing the name of a publicly available clone, one can make it unrecognizable, and maps that use the novel name cannot be extended. Renaming clones is considered inappropriate by many researchers, so doing so entails risks to reputation. For some combination of moral and strategic reasons, many disease-gene mappers refrain from such practices, although there are exceptions.
This stripped-down discussion shows how a strategic analysis that looks at the empirical structure of data-streams can go a long way toward explaining scientists' practices regarding access to data. However, this kind of analysis has important limitations. First, at this level of generality, the analysis applies to disease-gene mapping in general and does not take into account the differences in the histories and personalities associated with different genes, chromosomes, and so on. Second, this kind of strategic analysis does not include any discussion of the rhetoric that is used in access negotiations, which can be important in shaping outcomes. Third, the focus on strategic incentives clearly needs to be broadened to include collective definitions of appropriate conduct in science and how those definitions are applied to new situations and renegotiated during their application.
Despite those limitations, the example provides a sense of how scientific exchange can be analyzed from the perspective of data-streams. In addition, it suggests how different this kind of analysis is from the kind that results when one assumes that academic science is governed simply by a culture of openness.
I have argued that rather than merely assuming that academic science is governed by openness, analysts should try to understand the processes that shape what gets made public, what is kept private, and what is deployed in transactions that fall between these extremes. I now want to consider the implications of the more nuanced picture of scientific exchange that I advocate for issues of intellectual property protection. In particular, I want to explore the question of whether we should expect an emphasis on intellectual property in academic science to cause a reduction in scientific openness.
To look at that question, one clearly needs to consider how intellectual property considerations influence a number of aspects of scientists' practices. Do intellectual property considerations influence what portions of data-streams are provided, to whom, and when? Do they introduce new sources of delay? Do they