Corporate Involvement In Scientific Research

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Corporate involvement in scientific research have created a problematic dynamic between financial interests and the goals of sciences and its supposed norms. Robert Merton said that “the goal of science is to expand the range of our knowledge by empirical confirmation and logically consistent statements of regularities,” and made a point to identify certain norms that should not be breeched to ensure that science would not fall ill to the maladies that plague other institutions. These included: disinterestedness, communism, universality, and organized skepticism. Corporations by their very nature are designed with money-making as their primary objective, and often their pursuits lead them astray from these norms; sometimes to the detriment …show more content…
As companies have begun to consider research to be exceedingly expensive and time-consuming, they have started to cut back on research and development spending in lieu of the short term profit gains that follow. Even when these companies do produce scientific discovery, it is often skewed towards research that will make money, rather than to fulfill a need. Pharmaceutical industries are notorious for neglecting to devote funds to diseases that don’t affect large enough populations to make a profit (Orphan drugs) or when their market is not rich enough to warrant such research (such is the case with many diseases in developing countries that receive little to no funding from pharmaceutical companies). A more egalitarian system would help these disenfranchised groups to receive the same sort of scientific attention than everyone else. While this problem is blatant in the pharmaceutical industry and has real-world effects, it influences other scientific facets as well. If we only fund scientific research because of an immediate cash reward, we will undoubtedly miss out on those innovations that could be shaped into something great and profitable if given time. As Leon Lederman points out in “The Fundamental Value of Science” theoretical knowledge such as that on high energy particle physics or the particle accelerate, …show more content…
While financial institutions have done much good for the scientific world, and may be considered by some as the ideal pioneers in the field, introducing institutions whose main motives are financial gain into the world of science will continue to introduce conflicts. Financial interests affect what research is done and what is ignored, the end results, how we are willing to get these results, as well as how these discoveries are disseminated among the public. These influences cannot be ignored as they have serious implications because of the authority that comes from claiming that a result is scientific and empirical. While these influences do not necessarily mean that corporate science cannot function within the ideological norms of science, transparency and a strong will to do good sometimes despite profits are needed in order for this system to

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