Science and Engineering Ethics

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 397–399

The continuing need for disinterested research


DOI: 10.1007/s11948-002-0060-z

Cite this article as:
Ziman, J. SCI ENG ETHICS (2002) 8: 397. doi:10.1007/s11948-002-0060-z


For scientific knowledge to be trustworthy, it needs to be dissociated from material interests. Disinterested research also performs other important non-instrumental roles. In particular, academic science has traditionally provided society with reliable, imaginative public knowledge and independent, self-critical expertise. But this type of science is not compatible with the practice of instrumental research, which is typically proprietary, prosaic, pragmatic and partisan. With ever-increasing dependence on commercial or state funding, all modes of knowledge production are merging into a new, ‘post-academic’ research culture which is dominated by utilitarian goals. Growing concern about conflicts of interest is thus a symptom of deep-seated malaise in science and medicine.


knowledge science academic science post-academic science trustworthy research instrumental research 

Copyright information

© Opragen Publications 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BristolOakley, AylesburyUnited Kingdom

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