Did Someone Say Profit?

The debate over potential conflicts of interest in science may be a hot topic among life scientists (The Scientist, Oct. 16, 1989, page 1). But judging from the comments of two Washington policymakers, the debate hasn’t filtered down to all segments of the scientific community. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) recently gave a speech marking a new report from the National Academy of Sciences on opportunities in materials science that emphasizes how industry, academia, and government must work together to maintain U.S. leadership in the field. Following the speech, Domenici was asked how the government would make sure that individuals did not profit from work donewith public funding. “I don’t see the problem,” Domenici said. “We’ll never make any progress in our economy unless someone can profit from a discovery. If I had to choose between holding back development, and letting an individual profit from...

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