Authors

  • Mark L Rohrbaugh

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5912/jcb124

Keywords:

technology transfer, research tools, NIH, patent, policy, research exemption

Abstract

The research community, particularly in academic and public sector institutions, recognises that scientists have an obligation to publish the results of their research and otherwise make available data or unique materials that are necessary for others to replicate or advance their research. Over the past 15 years, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed policies to make such obligations a requirement for recipients of NIH funding. The view of the NIH and a number of other institutions is that the public is best served as the ultimate beneficiary of public research funding when barriers are reduced for sharing unique research resources. At the same time, recipients of funding have an obligation to facilitate the commercialisation of new technologies by transferring such technologies to the private sector, sometimes on an exclusive commercial basis. These various policies are meant to provide a framework in which publicly funded research institutions may strike an appropriate balance between these goals and obligations. In practice, this balance most often is realised. However, when that is not possible, the public sector has an obligation to place public benefit above its own or its corporate partners' financial gain.

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