Confronting the Privatization and Commercialization of Academic Research: An Analysis of Social Implications at the Local, National, and Global Levels

Risa L. Lieberwitz
Associate Professor of Labor Law
School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University

This article addresses the impact of privatization on universities in the United States, focusing, in particular, on the effects on the university mission and academic research in the life sciences. Both public and private nonprofit universities have been affected by public policies of privatization, leading to increased commercialization of academic research and growing university industry ties. These changes in practices have been accompanied by a significant weakening of the traditional definition of the university mission of serving the public interest through university teaching and research independent from conflicting interests of either government or business.

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