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ERIC Number: EJ812471
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0026-4695
Livin' with the MTA
Mirowski, Philip
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy, v46 n3 p317-342 Sep 2008
Although the push to get universities to accumulate IP by commercializing their scientific research was a conscious movement, dealing with the blowback in the form of contracts over the transfer of research tools and inputs, called materials transfer agreements (MTAs), was greeted by universities as an afterthought. Faculty often regarded them as an irritant, and TTOs were not much more welcoming. One reason universities could initially ignore the obvious connection between the pursuit of patents and the prior promulgation of MTAs was a legalistic distinction made between intellectual property and contract law, which of course is of direct concern to a lawyer, but should be less compelling for anyone trying to understand the big picture surrounding the commercialization of academic science. However, as a subset of scientists were increasingly drawn into the commercial sphere, they tended to attach MTAs to research inputs requested by other academics; and this began a tidal wave of MTAs which shows no sign of abating. Furthermore, many IP-related restrictions have been loaded into individual MTAs, including the stipulation that the existence and content of MTAs themselves be treated as secret and proprietary. The paper closes by looking at recent arguments that the growth of MTAs has not actually harmed the research process, and rejects them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A