Industry Induces Academic Science to Know Less about More

  • Evans J
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Abstract

How does collaboration between academic research and industry shape science? This article argues that companies’ relative indif- ference to theory nudges their academic partners toward novel, the- oretically unanticipated experiments. The article then evaluates this proposition using fieldwork, archival materials, and panel models of all academic research using the popular plant model Arabidopsis thaliana and the companies that support that research. Findings suggest that industry partnerships draw high-status academics away from confirming theories and toward speculation. For the network of scientific ideas surrounding Arabidopsis, industry sponsorship weaves discoveries around the periphery into looser,more expansive knowledge. Government funding plays a complementary role, spon- soring focused scientific activity in dense hubs that facilitate sci- entific community and understanding.

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Authors

  • James A. Evans

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