何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

博文

Academic Ethics and the Entrepreneur Spirit 精选

已有 8434 次阅读 2013-11-18 00:27 |系统分类:海外观察

 

(For new reader and those who request 好友请求, please read my 公告栏 first)  

The 11/17/2013 Sunday NY Times carried a page one article in its business section about a Georgia Tech professor  fired for violating university regulations on the  title of this article http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/technology/reaching-for-silicon-valley.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0. In short, the article deals with the delicate subject of conflict  of interests between public money and private wealth generation.  Here is the essence:

You as a university professor does research funded by grants from public money on  advanced technology. At the same time, you are co-founder or major shareholder  in a  start-  up company which tries to capitalize on this research to generate  wealth  (Success will make you enormously wealthy). Now on the surface, this is the  way it should be. Good idea from publically funded research is being commercialized   to benefit society. The fact some people got rich in the process is in some  sense  incidental. The problem comes in when the same person is involved in both endeavors. For examples, you employ research students on your university grant at very low wages to work on research problems directly benefit the company’s commercial  product, you use university research funds for expenses that should be paid by the  company. Most universities have clear rules against such transgressions. However,  how to draw the “red lines” is fuzzy and subject to contention. The university’s hand  is not totally clean either since the university also gets financial benefit when she  licenses the idea to the successful commercial company. The case cited above is still  unsettled and in legal dispute.

Of course, this case is only symptomatic of thousands similar cases, legitimate  or  otherwise, that goes on in every country in the world. So does the rules  and views  governing such issues vary from country to country.  In China, my  understanding is that the rules are much more relaxed, and basically, anything goes  and only governed by personal ethics of the persons involved. In the name of public  good, you let individual get away with or even approve their actions. It is a balance  that does not have a clear cut standard depending on custom, current society value,  and the details of the personnel and actionsinvolved.

By the way, such problems seldom arise in theoretical or mathematically oriented   subjects.  You cannot patent,commercialize, or monopolize “ideas” .  Thus, I am spared of such moral dilemma in my academic life and have the luxury of  discussing  them dispassionately.

 



http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-1565-742626.html

上一篇:The 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
下一篇:The Joy of DIY
收藏 分享 举报

6 曹聪 李伟钢 蒲旭敏 曹冲 EroControl XY

该博文允许注册用户评论 请点击登录 评论 (6 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2017-11-24 13:16

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007-2017 中国科学报社

返回顶部