Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Stanford physicist Robert Laughlin argues that scientific openness is incompatible with economic pressure to patent or commercialize the results of scientific inquiry. "Research linked to property has a built-in conflict of interest toward the truth. For a research investment to be justified, it must produce value equal to or greater than that of the investment. When that value takes the form of intellectual property--knowledge that one can sell--as it commonly does, it must be kept secret, since no one will buy knowledge that is available for free. The core content of useful industrial research can rarely, if ever, be submitted to public scrutiny. This secrecy increases the opportunity for impropriety and thus makes the knowledge inherently less reliable than comparable knowledge produced in the open." (Thanks to Noteworthy.)