Slaughter, Sheila. 1993. “Beyond Basic Science: Research University Presidents’ Narratives of Science Policy.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 18 (3): 278–302.


Abstract: "Between 1980 and 1985 representatives of academic science changed their policy positions, moving from veneration of basic or fundamental research to promotion of entrepreneurial science. This change is examined through research university presidents' testimony before the U.S. Congress. The presidents' move from "fruits of research" narratives that emphasize the benefits of basic science to narratives that celebrate technology based on fundamental research in "orders of magnitude more production from the efforts of orders of magnitude less workers. " This change reflects presidents' endorsement of conservative policy initiatives that depend on privatization, deregulation, and commercialization of science. These policies will probably result in major realignments within research universities, with institutional managers, scientists, and graduate students in the physical sciences involved in entrepreneurial activity receiving privileges and rewards that other faculty and students do not."


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Created date

May 31, 2018

Critical Commentary

In this 1993 article, Sheila Slaughter analyzes American research university presidents' testimony before US congress to explain how academic science between 1980 - 1985 moved away from a policy focus on "basic" research towards the promotion of entrepreneurial science. In this paper, Slaughter foresaw how research universities would become more closely aligned with private sector and the commercialization of science.