Commercial Involvement in Scientific Research

What is To be Done about Commercial Involvement in Science?

Goal List

  1. Commercial involvement in science must not come at the cost of a proprietorial approach to information. Science depends on an open attitude to knowledge and sharing of data. This openness MUST be promoted and not hindered
  2. The acceptance of gifts from commercial organizations should be prohibited. Gifts include such items as: travel costs, computer equipment, general material goods (clothes, bags, toys, sporting equipment etc), or direct monetary payments (not within normal channels of remuneration).
  3. Current rules governing disclosure of commercial ties should be strengthened and rigorously enforced. Commercial involvements including (but not limited to) company directorships, equity ownership and research grants MUST be disclosed
  4. Further: commercial associations such as those listed above SHOULD result in a PRESUMPTION of a conflict of interest and such information should be used in the evaluation of published results. Such involvements MAY be considered reasonable grounds for the exclusion of individuals and/or their opinions from participation in public debates and decisions including (but not limited to): governmental hearings and decision making bodies, scholarly journals, international medical bodies.
  5. Ownership interests of the major organs for the diffusion of scholarly knowledge such as peer-reviewed journals and conferences should be made fully explicit. Given the important institutional functions performed to society by such entities governmental regulation of ownership is not unreasonable and even to be expected.


  • Note 1: See e.g. [[#campbell_ea_2002#]]
  • Note 2: It is estimated that about a quarter of scientists working in medical science have a financial relationship with industry. [[#stelfox_ea_1998#]] provide evidence for the conflict of interest that this results in.

Bibliography and References

  1. [campbell_ea_2002]
    Data Witholding in Academic Genetics
    , Brian R. Clarridge; David Blumenthal; Eric G. Campbell; Lauren Birenbaum; Manjusha Gokhale; Neil A. Holtzman; Stephen Hilgartner;
    pp. 473-480 2002

    1. Abstract
  2. [nyrb_2004]
    The Dawn of McScience
    , Richard Horton; pp. 7-9 2004-03-11
    New York Review of Books. Review of: Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research; Sheldon Krimsky; [Rowman and Littlefield]
  3. [stelfox_ea_1998]
    Conflict of Interest in the Debate Over Calcium-Channel Antagonists
    , A. S. Detsky; G. Chua; K. O’Rourke; Stelfox, H.T.;
    New England Journal of Medicine
    pp. 101-106 1998

    1. Abstract

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