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The commercialization of university-based research: Balancing risks and benefits

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  • Background The increasing push to commercialize university research has emerged as a significant science policy challenge. While the socio-economic benefits of increased and rapid research commercialization are often emphasized in policy statements and discussions, there is less mention or discussion of potential risks. In this paper, we highlight such potential risks and call for a more balanced assessment of the commercialization ethos and trends. Discussion There is growing evidence that the pressure to commercialize is directly or indirectly associated with adverse impacts on the research environment, science hype, premature implementation or translation of research results, loss of public trust in the university research enterprise, research policy conflicts and confusion, and damage to the long-term contributions of university research. Summary The growing emphasis on commercialization of university research may be exerting unfounded pressure on researchers and misrepresenting scientific research realities, prospects and outcomes. While more research is needed to verify the potential risks outlined in this paper, policy discussions should, at a minimum, acknowledge them.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution 4.0 International
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Caulfield, T., & Ogbogu, U. (2015). The commercialization of university-based research: Balancing risks and benefits. BMC Medical Ethics, 16, 70 [7 pages].
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