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Science, Economics and Democracy: Selected Issues

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Foray, Dominique; Kazacigil, Ali
Conference: World Conference on Science
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Conf. Date: June 26-July 1
Date: 1999
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8010
Sector: Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): open access
intellectual property rights
information dissemination--developing countries
Abstract: "Many transformations and evolutions influence today the way science has traditionally been conducted, financed and organized. In the rich countries, slower economic growth and limited increase in the budgets of central governments have placed severe constraints on public spending on long-term science. Some of the key challenges facing the international community for the 21st century relate to: the decline of national security motivations for fundamental research; the increasingly widespread participation of the private sector in scientific research; the urgent need for enhanced relations between scientists and lay people. Some issues are also crucial for both developing countries and the transition economies. For the first time in history a scientific revolution is mostly driven by the private sector. There is no doubt that such a privatisation of scientific knowledge (knowledge as a market good vs. as a common good) can exacerbate the gap between developed and developing countries. Privatising knowledge has undesirable effects, because it obstructs the international dissemination of socially important inventions, especially where developing countries are concerned. There is thus an urgent need for devising appropriate science policies and intellectual property rights regimes that give adequate consideration to knowledge dissemination and use by developing countries. A big challenge for the next century is to avoid that the issue of proprietary science becomes a real threat for open science. This is a challenge for both developed and developing countries. One of the main goals of the World Conference on Sciences (WCS) Forum II is to evaluate such transformations in order to derive potential consequences and policy implications. Because science is a domain which is at the intersection between issues of competitiveness and economic development on the one hand, and issues related to the very foundation of the human nature, on the other, such assessments must be carried out with reference to economics, social equity and ethics."

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