One of the promises of digital information technology is fast and frictionless communication. Powered by data sharing and collaboration platforms, the vision of the 21st century knowledge economy is one where a lab in Johannesburg can partner with one in Jaipur, with corresponding increases in global productivity and decreases in unnecessary, duplicative work. In practice, frictions continue to exist that impede the flow of knowledge across national and platform borders.
This grant funds efforts by political scientist Margaret Roberts and economist Ruixue Jia at the University of California San Diego to study how policies that sever transnational exchange and flows of information goods impact collaboration, scientific progress, and innovation. Roberts and Jia will study the impacts of impediments to information sharing and their impacts on collaboration, including censorship of knowledge-sharing and collaboration platforms, the launch of substitutes to these platforms, and policies that discourage international collaboration. Using a rich multi-method approach that involves observational study, analysis of natural experiments, original field experiments, and interviews with scientists, the team will examine how platforms for collaboration and their breakdown has affected citation, information sharing, and innovation rates.