The Price of Discovery: A Model of Scientific Research Markets

  • David WatsonEmail author
Part of the Digital Ethics Lab Yearbook book series (DELY)


Large scale scientific projects often require enormous investment on the part of their patrons to develop and maintain new technologies like particle accelerators and grid computing systems. Data suggest that funding for such research is increasingly concentrated into a small number of major grants awarded to just a handful of successful labs. But is this the most efficient market design for promoting discovery? In this chapter, I propose a modified solution to the monopsony profit maximisation problem that specifies the conditions under which patrons should invest in one or several labs for a given research project. I apply the model to two prominent case studies and identify the key indicators that policymakers should consider when deciding how best to fund new scientific research.



I would like to thank Greg Taylor and Carl Öhman for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oxford Internet Institute, Digital Ethics LabUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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