Prometheus: Vol 23, No 2 (2005)

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Harmonisation or differentiation in intellectual property protection? The lessons of history
GRAHAM DUTFIELD & UMA SUTHERSANEN
Pages: 131-147

ABSTRACT

Developing countries find themselves pressured to harmonise their intellectual property (IP) standards so that they match those of the United States, Europe and Japan. This article provides historical evidence to support the authors’ claim that when developed countries demand that the rest of the world adopt their current IP regulations, developed countries are preventing other countries from adopting appropriate patent and copyright standards for their levels of development. Developed countries thereby deny a freedom to others that they themselves enjoyed when they were developing.

The tensions shaping the emergence of standard bodies: The case of a national health informatics standards body
RALUCA BUNDUCHI , IAN GRAHAM , ALISON SMART & ROBIN WILLIAMS
Pages: 149-166

ABSTRACT

This study applies New Institutional theory to identify the social processes shaping the emergence of a standard setting body. Meyer and Rowan’s classification of the mechanisms that lead to the creation of institutional rules—relational networks, degree of collective organisation and leadership—is applied to a health informatics private standard consortia operating in the UK. The study identifies a number of conflicts within the institutional contexts within which the standard body operates. Such conflicts undermine the institutionalised rules that frame the emergence of the standard body and lead to the erosion of the institutionalised standardisation practice.

The importance of co‐ordination in national technology policy: Evidence from the Galileo project
VASILIS ZERVOS & DONALD S. SIEGEL
Pages: 167-180

ABSTRACT

We assess the benefits from transatlantic collaboration in technology policy for publicly‐funded R&D space projects such as Galileo, a proposed European radio‐navigation space project. An industrial organisation methodology is employed to model negative security spillovers of ‘unilateral’ space projects such as Galileo, or space‐based anti‐ballistic missile defence, on the public sector of the other region (the US vs. the European Union). The findings imply that transatlantic co‐ordination in technology policy is required to allow the respective space industries (in the US and the European Union) to exploit the benefits of cross‐border strategic research partnerships (SRPs). This coordination not only reduces the costs of the respective programmes, but also addresses security concerns.

Mobile message services and communications policy
GERARD GOGGIN & CHRISTINA SPURGEON 1
Pages: 181-193

ABSTRACT

Something of a design after‐thought, mobile phone SMS (Short‐Message Services) have been enthusiastically adopted by consumers worldwide, who have created a new text culture. SMS is now being deployed to provide a range of services and transactions, as well as playing a critical role in offering an interactive path for television broadcasting. In this paper we offer a case study of a lucrative, new industry developing internationally at the intersection of telecommunications, broadcasting, and information services—namely, premium rate SMS/MMS. To explore the issues at stake we focus on an Australian case study of policy responses to the development of premium rate mobile messaging services in the 2002–2005 period. In the first part, we give a brief history of premium rate telecommunications. Secondly, we characterise premium rate mobile message services and examine their emergence. Thirdly, we discuss the responses of Australian policy‐makers and industry to these services. Fourthly, we place the Australian experience in international context, and indicate common issues. Finally, we draw some conclusions from the peregrinations of mobile message services for regulators grappling with communications policy frameworks.

Boundary work in contemporary science policy: A review
MERLE JACOB
Pages: 195-207

ABSTRACT

This paper looks at the role of boundary work in contemporary science policy. The paper argues that one of the consequences of policy efforts to bridge gaps between science and society is the proliferation of boundary work as new categories have to be constructed and reified in order to make room for particular policy initiatives. In this process of eroding and remaking boundaries, the power to divide, categorise and classify forms a significant starting point for a re‐structuring of social, economic and political relations between science and policy.

More than electronic toll booths: Singapore’s electronic road pricing innovation
GOVINDAN PARAYIL & TIEN EE DOMINIC YEO
Pages: 209-226

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the dynamics of the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) innovation in Singapore, tracing its implementation to subsequent diffusion to delineate the links between technology and society. The ERP system, introduced in 1998, is an elaborate and sophisticated toll collecting system using ICTs to regulate road usage. We use the actor–network theory (ANT) as a conceptual tool to analyse the dynamics of this innovation. Through a detailed examination of both human and non‐human actors, we are able to analyse how interests of heterogeneous members of a societal network can be aligned to introduce a technological innovation. In the process, we have observed issues arising from the differential power relationship that exists between road users and government planners as well as the integration of the social and technical aspects of this emerging socio‐technological system. As an emergent technology, the ERP innovation system reflects the social morphology of Singapore as it plays out its part in the making of this nascent nation.

Trade and cultural diversity: An Australian perspective
FRANCO PAPANDREA
Pages: 227-237

ABSTRACT

The article reviews implications for Australian cultural policy likely to arise from proposals for the development of a binding UNESCO convention on cultural diversity that would allow countries to pursue domestic cultural assistance policies that might otherwise be in conflict with trade liberalisation of cultural goods and services. The proposal, which is supported by a sizeable number of countries, is seen as an alternative to a GATS cultural exception. Recent Australian undertakings in bilateral trade agreements suggest that Australian Cultural Policy favours a GATS cultural exception approach.

Book reviews
Pages: 239-249

Contributors to this issue
Page: 251