Social Philosophy and Policy

Research Article

Property Rights Theory and the Commons: The Case of Scientific Research

Robert P. Mergesa1

a1 Law, University of California, Berkeley

For some time now, commentators in and out of the scientific community have been expressing concern over the direction of scientific research. Cogent critics have labeled it excessively commercial, out of touch with its “pure,” public-spirited roots, and generally too much a creature of its entrepreneurial, self-interested times. In most if not all of this hand-wringing, the scientific community's growing reliance on intellectual property rights, especially patents, looms large. Indeed, for many the pursuit of patents is emblematic of just what is rotten in the republic of science today.

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