Plant Sciences and the Public Good

Science, Technology, and Human Values 34 (3):289-312 (2009)
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Drawing on interviews and observational work with practicing U.K. plant scientists, this article uses Michel Callon's work as a tool to explore the issue of collaboration between academic science and business, in particular, calls by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council for a return to “public good” plant science. In an article titled “Is Science a Public Good?” Callon contributed to the debate about the commercialization of science by suggesting that commercialization and the public good need not be incompatible. Moving away from arguments that center on the effects of business involvement in science, he suggested that analysts use another model, centered on “diversity.” This model allows us to ask what society might want from science, what public good science might look like, and how public good science can be ensured while also recognizing that science cannot be easily separated from the market.



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