As efforts to commercialize university research outputs continue, critics charge that universities and university scientists are failing to live up to their public-interest purpose. In this paper, I discuss the distinctions between public-interest and private-interest research institutions and how commercialization of university science may be undermining the public interest. I then use Jürgen Habermas’s concept of communicative action as the foundation for efforts to establish public spaces for ethical deliberation among scientists and university administrators. Such ethical deliberation is necessary to facilitate discussion on whether public-interest science should be the research university’s primary purpose and what institutional rules and resources are needed to honor that purpose.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science