Enclosing the Academic Commons – Increasing Knowledge Transfer or Eroding Academic Values?
Academic research is increasingly being commercialised. This commercialisation trend has different dimensions, among which the massive increase of patenting and licensing activities by universities, the significant growth of industry funding of academic research via so-called contract research, and the creation of ever more ‘spin-out’ companies. All this is strongly encouraged by governments throughout the Western world. The commercialisation trend has far-reaching consequences for access to the fruits of academic research and so the question arises whether the current policies are indeed promoting innovation or whether they are instead a symptom of a pro-commercialisation culture which is blind to adverse effects. This paper discusses the justifications that are given for the current policies and raises the question to what extent they threaten important academic values. Next, the question will be addressed as to why policymakers seem to ignore the adverse effects of the commercialisation of academic research. Finally, a number of proposals for improving university policies will be made.
KeywordsTechnology Transfer Office Fiscal Year Patent Infringement Academic Patent Exclusive License
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