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General Resources:

Research and Development Budget and Public Policy Program, a resource and current alerting resource from the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Current Discussion:

Genetically Modified Foods, a resource assembly from Northern Lights (organized by Xenia Morin

Transgenic Crops: An Introduction and Resource Guide, from Colorado State University

Previous Discussions:

18 September - Biotechnology/Clinical Research and Universities
Organized and summarized by Xenia Morin

Our discussion of the op-ed piece "Biotech and the Watchdog Role of Universities" by Fred Bookstein generated a great deal of discussion within our Science in Society Seminar held last Tuesday. Briefly, this op-ed piece (described below in Part 1) warns against the changes Bookstein sees in his own academic institution in response to a shift in the role of the life sciences to creating proprietary craft knowledge. Dr. Bookstein wrote this piece in response to the lack of discussion around the creation of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of Michigan to speed up the application of biotech research entering the market place.

Our discussion went on from there. We discussed issues of profit-making by faculty and whether profiting through research was any different than writing a textbook or writing software. We discussed how patents could influence what we could, or could not, use in the lab or in writing software and we discussed how research secrets had changed scientific meetings. I shared anecdotes of young faculty who felt that their bid for tenure was tied to being entrepreneurial. I also introduced the idea that government sponsored research had a great influence over how research was being conducted at universities. We also started to evaluate our own use of industrial money to support summer research projects. Although the discussion resulting from Bookstein’s piece had most relevance to the life sciences, faculty from our Chemistry and Computer Sciences departments felt that there were parallels in their own fields to be explored.

Besides Bookstein’s op-ed piece, we explored the recent announcement, on September 10, 2001, that eleven major medical journals had created new publication rules for drug trials (see Part 2, below). I described how this editorial policy change was related to the Nancy Olivieri case in Toronto. This, of course, led to a discussion of legally binding agreements between faculty and industry as well as ownership of data.

Part 1

Suggested Reading: Watchdog’s of Biotech are in the Universities

From The News Journal (Wilmington DE), August 3, 2001; re-run from the Washington Post, July 30, 2001 originally entitled: "Biotech and the Watchdog Role of Universities"

This article is an opinion editorial written by Fred Bookstein, a distinguished senior research scientist at University of Michigan’s Institute of Gerontology.

"Fred Bookstein is a statistician and methodologist whose work spans the natural and social sciences."

Why did Bookstein write this?

"I wrote for the Post after becoming frustrated with my inability as a senior researcher to incite a useful discussion of the corresponding matters here on my campus. Decisions about our own massive investments in this area seemed to have been made corporately, without faculty involvement, and public discussions by those who shared my views were just that — discussions by those who shared my views, without any serious engagement of attention on the part of the other side, the moniedside. It seemed to me that the only remaining choice was to sidestep the academic domain of governance and raise the issue in the larger civil forum." from E-mail to Xenia Morin, Sept. 17, 2001

Main Points of the Op-Ed Piece:

1. The role of the university is changing

2. Life Sciences Institute of U of Michigan 3. A larger issue for Bookstein is the "medicalization" of aging and the false expectations of perfect health

 

Part 2:

Recent Changes in Editorial Practices at Eleven Major Journals announced September 10, 2001:

References: various newspaper articles September 10, 2001

The Case of Nancy Olivieri versus Apotex

References: various newspaper articles 1998- present



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Last Modified: Wednesday, 28-Sep-2005 13:55:31 EDT