The New York Times piece “When Academia Puts Profit Ahead
of Wonder”
by Janet Rae-Dupree reflects on University’s and Academia’s
focus on more immediate market potential research and the neglect of kind of
basic experimentation that leads to a greater understanding of how the world
works has set a wrong trend and the Bayh-Dole Act of
is largely responsible for such a trend.

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Janet Rae-Dupree points towards the purpose of the Bayh-Dole
Act of 1980 that is

“It is the policy and objective of the Congress to use
the patent system to promote the utilization of inventions arising from
federally supported research or development” and “to promote collaboration
between commercial concerns and nonprofit organizations, including

And then the development that is evident since the act was
passed which the author points out by stating

“University “tech transfer” offices have boomed from a
couple dozen before the law’s passage to nearly 300 today. University patents
have leapt a hundredfold. Professors are stepping away from the lab and lecture
hall to navigate the thicket of venture capital, business regulations and
commercial competition.”

Janet Rae-Dupree also points out that “The primary
concern is that its original intent — to infuse the American marketplace with
the fruits of academic innovation — has also distorted the fundamental mission
of universities.”

The big question that the article attempts to look into is
the most troublesome aspect of campus commercialization being research
decisions are now being based on possible profits, not on the inherent value of
knowledge and is this approach the right one for Academia?