Good-bye, Mr. Chips (Part 2)

While some institutional administrators may view scientists as merely sources of revenue, basic research cannot be fundamentally described as a "business,"1 since it can flourish in the absence of commodities, transactions, and markets. Given the tremendous research advances during the past century, it is curious that academic scientists (and the government that supports them) would permit a business management regime to replace the academic freedom and intellectual independence that have serve

William Cafruny
Jul 18, 1999

While some institutional administrators may view scientists as merely sources of revenue, basic research cannot be fundamentally described as a "business,"1 since it can flourish in the absence of commodities, transactions, and markets. Given the tremendous research advances during the past century, it is curious that academic scientists (and the government that supports them) would permit a business management regime to replace the academic freedom and intellectual independence that have served scientific discovery so well. Although businesses play an important role in society, the evolution of business dominance over some creative endeavors, e.g., the music and television industries, provides examples that predict potentially undesirable outcomes of defining basic scientific research (as well as education) as a business. Academic scientists might want to consider what roles they and their students should play in the future management of their institutions.

William A. Cafruny, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
University of South Dakota...