Get the best of Commons Magazine — FREE!

Defending Public-Sector Science

A backlash against the over-commercialization of science seems to be gaining new momentum. Two eminent Nobel prize winners — Sir John Sulston, a British geneticist and American economist Joseph Stiglitz – are working with leading scientists and ethicists to formulate a “Manchester Manifesto,” http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=3805 in connection with the newly created University of Manchester Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation.

The goal is to forge a new consensus among scientists about the proper scope of intellectual property rights in scientific research. Increasingly, broad patents and copyright restrictions are preventing scientists from conducting research and developing innovations that can serve the public.

Meanwhile, the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Integrity in Science project held a conference in Washington, D.C. this past week entitled, “Rejuvenating Public Sector Science.”:http://www.cspinet.org/new/200806251.html The conference dealt with the integrity of medical and drug research in a time when corporate-sponsored research often eclipses objective public-sector research.