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The knowledge need, its socio-economic context, and contemporary technologies are at the origin of the Convention:

Much externalised knowledge is a global public good, and it is a key input or outcome of education, science and culture.

A few years ago, the International Task Force on Global Public Goods has analysed the under-supply of global public goods, including knowledge.

For the full report, see: Meeting Global Challenges: International Cooperation in the National Interest. The chapter on knowledge is: Chapter 7: A Cross-cutting issue: knowledge.

The expert papers on knowledge describe the challenges, and some options, in much more detail. Summary: Knowledge is crucial in addressing global issues, whether infectious disease or climate change. Yet, the knowledge gap between rich and poor countries is growing and the balance is shifting from public to private knowledge. This volume explores these issues and strategies for addressing them.

Related early ideas in this area are in Stigiltz' (1999) paper on Scan Globally, Reinvent Locally: Knowledge Infrastructure and the Localization of Knowledge. The paper can be found at Stiglitz on Knowledge.

The Convention on Knowledge Commons is a concrete initiative to improve the supply of the knowledge commons, and the underlying content commons, to public and private stakeholders.