Ignoring incentives, scientific and technological knowledge will have more impact if it is more public

Technology and know-how is a non-rivalrous good, so theoretically it can be copied without diminishing the amount that its creator has. ^1

If knowledge is more public and accessible, more people can try more experiments, and more brains will be able to focus on the real problems. It’s pretty accepted that the creation of technology is a combinatorial process (see arthurNatureTechnologyWhat2009 or neumannOneProcess2020) and public knowledge enables more combinations.

There might be an argument that people could become overwhelmed with information but it seems weak.

^1: While technically know-how is a non-rivalrous good, in many situations the only way to actually copy it is with help from its creator either through written or verbal instruction. There are many pieces of equipment or tacit knowledge that only exist in one or two places in the world. This means that the creator needs to do extra work in addition to creation to make the work actually public. Knowledge isn’t just magic pixie dust that once created floats off into the world. Just having the piece of literature doesn’t solve the problem.

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