Emerging Academic Scientists' Exclusionary Encounters with Commercialization Law, Policy, and Practice

AuthorMatthew Herder
Emerging Academic Scientists’ Exclusionary
Encounters with Commercialization Law,
Policy, and Practice
 
 : Academic laboratories are, increasingly, sites of commer-
cialization. While empirical evidence about the impact of the emphasis
placed upon commercialization by governments, research funding agencies,
and research institutions, and the attendant growth of commercialization
activities in the academic sphere has been gradually accumulating, much of
this evidence is tied to established academic scientists. Comparatively little
empirical research has focused upon emerging academic scientists. There-
fore, the purpose of this chapter is to identify a set of concerns owing from
emerging academic scientists’ encounters with commercialization laws,
policies, and practices. The chapter proceeds in three parts. In Section B, I
describe contextual changes related to commercialization in the academic
realm as well as a range of commercialization activities that emerging scien-
tists are increasingly apt to be exposed to as they pursue scientic careers.
In Section C, I identify two “exclusionary encounters” that emerging scien-
tists are likely to have with commercialization laws, policies, and practices.
These encounters pertain to 1) inventorship of patentable discoveries, and 2)
intellectual property ownership. By way of brief conclusion in Section D, I set
out one hypothesis for future empirical inquiry.
: Les laboratoires universitaires sont de plus en plus des sites
de commercialisation. Bien que la preuve empirique au sujet de l’impact de
l’accent placé sur la commercialisation par les gouvernements, les agences
de nancement de la recherche, et les institutions de recherche, de même
460 •  
que la preuve concernant la croissance corrélative des activités de commer-
cialisation dans le monde universitaire s’accumulent graduellement, elles
se rapportent surtout aux scientiques universitaires établis. Peu de re-
cherches empiriques se sont concentrées sur les scientiques universitaires
émergents. L’objet de ce chapitre est donc d’identier une série de préoc-
cupations découlant de l’application aux scientiques universitaires émer-
gents des lois, des politiques et des pratiques de commercialisation. Ce
chapitre est divisé en trois parties. Dans la Partie A, l’auteur décrit les chan-
gements contextuels relatifs à la commercialisation dans le milieu univer-
sitaire, ainsi qu’une gamme d’activités de commercialisation auxquelles les
scientiques émergents sont de plus en plus susceptibles d’être confrontés
dans le cadre de leur carrière scientique. Dans la Partie B, l’auteur identie
deux «situations d’exclusion» que les scientiques émergents auront pro-
bablement à vivre en raison des lois, politiques et pratiques de commerciali-
sation. Ces situations surviennent lors de 1) l’identication de l’inventeur de
découvertes brevetables, et 2) la détermination du titulaire de la propriété
intellectuelle. En guise de brève conclusion, la Partie C formule une hypo-
thèse pour une enquête empirique future.
Academic laboratories are sites of not only great scientic but also social
inquiry. Following Robert Merton’s seminal work in the 1950s,1 sociologists,
anthropologists, historians, economists, and other scholars have set upon
studying the internal dynamics of academic laboratories and the structures,
institutions, and outside actors inltrating, inuencing, and complicating
laboratory environments. While important to situate commercially-ori-
ented research practices such as patenting within this broader range of
inuences that have and will continue to inuence academic science,2 the
1 See, for example, Robert K Merton, “Priorities in Scientic Discovery: A Chapter in the
Sociology of Science” (1957) 22 Am Soc Rev 635.
2 A standard response to those who express concerns about the commercialization of aca-
demic science is to ask whether the concerns in question are, in fact, more attributable
to long-standing norms of competition and secrecy within academic science. Part of the
empirical challenge, then, is to disentangle the various inuences upon the behaviours
and choices of academic scientists. See, for example, Wei Hong & John P Walsh “For
Money or Glory? Commercialization, Competition, and Secrecy in the Entrepreneurial
University” (2009) 50:1 Sociological Quarterly 145.

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