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Governing Sincience: Patents and Public Sector Research

  • Brad Sherman (a1)
Abstract
The Argument

while reconizing that public sector research has long been managed by a wide variety of practices and techniques, this paper concentrates on the increasingly important role that patents are playing in the management and regulation of public sector research. It argues that as a specific form of technology, patents play a significant and growing role in facilitating the management of the scientific object and can also be seen as a particular instance of governmentality. More specifically, it argues that patents have had an important impact on the culture and political ecomomy of science. In this sence patents can be seen not only as a legal regime that provides limited property rights over technical information but also as a sophisticated tool of discipline and control that is used to regulate and manage public sector research. The paper suggests that with the increasing use of patents as a means of governing science, we are witnessing the growing juridification of science, the intervention of the law into an arena it hitherto largely ignored.

The Argument

while reconizing that public sector research has long been managed by a wide variety of practices and techniques, this paper concentrates on the increasingly important role that patents are playing in the management and regulation of public sector research. It argues that as a specific form of technology, patents play a significant and growing role in facilitating the management of the scientific object and can also be seen as a particular instance of governmentality. More specifically, it argues that patents have had an important impact on the culture and political ecomomy of science. In this sence patents can be seen not only as a legal regime that provides limited property rights over technical information but also as a sophisticated tool of discipline and control that is used to regulate and manage public sector research. The paper suggests that with the increasing use of patents as a means of governing science, we are witnessing the growing juridification of science, the intervention of the law into an arena it hitherto largely ignored.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Rima D. Apple 1989. “Patenting University Research: Harry Steenbock and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation”. ISIS 80:375–94.

Carolyn C. Cooper 1991. “Making Invengions Patent.” Technology and Culture, pp 837–45.

Rebecca S. Eisenberg 1987Proprietary Rights and the Norms of Science in Biotechnology Research”. Yale law journal 97 (2): 177231.

M. E. Gluck , D. Blumenthal , and M. A. Stoto . 1987University-Industry Relationships in the Life-Sciences: Implications for Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows.” Research policy 16:327–36.

Michael Mackenzie , Cambrosio Alberto , and Keating Peter . 1988. “The Commercial Applicaton of a Scientific Discovery: The Case of the Hybridoma Techmique.” Research Policy 17:155–70.

Michael Mackenzie , Keating Peter , and Cambrosio Alberto . 1990. “Patents and Free Scientific Information in Biotechnology: Making Monoclanal Anitbodies Proprietary.”. Science, Technology and Human Values 15:6583.

Pter Miller , and Rose Nikolas . 1990. “Governing Economic Life.” Economy and Society 19:131.

Nikolas Rose , and Miller Peter . 1992Political Power beyond the State: Problematics of Government.” British Journal of Sociology 43:173205.

Jacob Schmookler . 1966. Invention and Economic Growth. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

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Science in Context
  • ISSN: 0269-8897
  • EISSN: 1474-0664
  • URL: /core/journals/science-in-context
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