Ethical Issues at the University-Industry Interface: a Way Forward?

G R Evans, David E Packham

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This paper forms an introduction to this issue, the contents of which arose directly or indirectly from a conference in May 2001 on Corruption of scientific integrity? - The commercialisation of academic science. The introduction, in recent decades, of business culture and values into universities and research institutions is incompatible with the openness which scientific, and all academic pursuit traditionally require. It has given rise to a web of problems over intellectual property and conflict of interest which has even led to corporate sponsors' suppressing unfavourable results of clinical trials, to the detriment of patients' health. Although there are those who see the norms of science developing to recognise the importance of instrumental science aiming at specific goals and of knowledge judged by its value in a context of application, none justifies the covert manipulation of results by vested interest. Public awareness of these problems is growing and creating a climate of opinion where they may be addressed. We suggest that a way forward by the introduction of nationally and internationally-accepted guidelines for industrial collaboration which contain proper protections of the core purposes of universities and of the independence of their research. Some codes suggested for this purpose are discussed. We note that some universities are moving to adopt such codes of conduct, but argue the need for strong support from the government through its funding bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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