University research and development activities: Intrusion into areas untended? A review of recent developments and ethical issues raised [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 7 (9):645-656 (1988)
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Abstract

The traditional and emerging roles of the major research entities in the United States are reviewed. Particularly controversial has been the university's emerging role of applied researcher in addition to its traditional role of basic researcher. Private, for-profit research laboratories have vociferously objected to the funding of university applied research by both the federal government and private industry. The funding of university research by these latter two entities is then reviewed and discussed. In addition to the ethical issue of whether university applied research should be funded, there is apparently another ethical issue regarding how the recipient universities are selected. In essence, if the universities intrusions are merely into untended areas, the first ethical issue seems less serious. Such may be the case if private laboratories are not equipped to perform the research. Of course, the second issue of which university should receive the funding remains. The apparently strengthening ties between universities and private industry are then reviewed. Direct ties between universities and industry still account for a very small part of university research. But impediments to cooperation are melting away as universities market their services to private industry. The authors contend that the government encourages cooperative ventures between universities and industry. They pose questions for all sides and suggest further areas of study should these joint ventures continue as they seem most likely to do. Much of the literature has leaned toward criticism of these joint efforts. Martin Kenney, in the February, 1987 issue of The Journal of Business Ethics, offered one of the more extensive efforts in his criticism of cooperative industrial/university research. Kenney concentrated on the area of biotechnology research. The present article avoids specific areas of research and takes a broad view of these cooperative research efforts. It is less critical than Kenney of the cooperation between industry and universities

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