Suppose a researcher publishes a paper about something that could potentially be of high revenue potential. A software developer reads it then decides to pursue a business with it.

What are the implications? Is the researcher entitled to royalties? Do we need to ask for permission of some sort?

I think that it is done regularly but I do want to understand the implications.

Example where this has been done before from wikipedia: "Apache Hadoop's MapReduce and HDFS components were inspired by Google papers on their MapReduce and Google File System."

closed as off-topic by gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Blrfl, Robert Harvey, Dan Pichelman May 17 '15 at 20:13

  • This question does not appear to be about software engineering within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Sharing your research helps everyone. Tell us what you've tried and why it didn’t meet your needs. This demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to try to help yourself, it saves us from reiterating obvious answers, and most of all it helps you get a more specific and relevant answer. Also see How to Ask – gnat May 17 '15 at 19:05
  • there's nothing to 'try'. I just want to understand what I asked. – user61656 May 17 '15 at 19:08
  • can you explain why the question needs to be downvoted? – user61656 May 17 '15 at 19:09
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be a legal question – Bart van Ingen Schenau May 17 '15 at 19:12
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    Universities do hold patents on their inventions and the inventions of their students, and sometimes charge royalties for the use of those inventions. You'd have to do the requisite research to find out whether a given invention is protected as such, and whether your particular idea is covered by the patent. – Robert Harvey May 17 '15 at 19:16

I am currently undertaking my PhD in Artificial Intelligence + publishing and thought I would share my thoughts and experiences.

Academic writing is generally a pursuit to contribute to the body of knowledge. Academics in general, publish to contribute to this public domain of knowledge. Universities tend to have their own Intellectual property offices which protect the interests of the research, but would never allow for a researcher to publish detail that could jepordise the universities intellectual property. This can take the form of patents and trade secrets.

If the knowledge is in the public domain and not protected in anyway, then people are free to do what they want. Think about this though. Research is never done, and these contributions tend to be very narrow contributions that are hard to protect. Most PhDs I know are carrying on the work from others around the world they have never met, basing their entire project from the public domain of knowledge.

Also, I had someone implement the algorithms I described in a paper and I was very flattered, not offended or angry. I find academics have different incentives to business people. If you email the first author, they might even give you all of their code. Many researchers in my field are happy to show off their work and see it in practice as it looks great on the CV.