Buying in or Selling Out? The Commercialization of the American Research University


Universities were once ivory towers where scholarship and teaching reigned supreme, or so we tell ourselves. Whether they were ever as pure as we think, it is certainly the case that they are pure no longer. Administrators look to patents as they seek money by commercializing faculty discoveries; they pour money into sports with the expectation that these spectacles will somehow bring in revenue; they sign contracts with soda and fast-food companies, legitimizing the dominance of a single brand on campus; and they charge for distance learning courses that they market widely. In this volume, edited by Donald G. Stein, university presidents and others in higher education leadership positions comment on the many connections between business and scholarship when intellectual property is treated as a marketable commodity. Some contributors write about the benefits of these connections in providing much needed resources. Others emphasize that the thirst for profits may bias the type of research that iscarried out and the quality of that research. They fear for the future of basic research if faculty are in search of immediate payoffs. The majority of the contributors acknowledge that commercialization is the current reality and has progressed too far to return to the "good old days." They propose guidelines for students and professors to govern commercial activities. Such guidelines can increase the likelihood that quality, openness, and collegiality will remain core academic values.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Donald G. Stein
  • Murray Sperber
  • Derek Bok
  • Mary L. Good
  • James J. Duderstadt
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New Brunswick, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2004


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