Research for sale: Moral market or moral maze?

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This article considers some of the moral and social issues which are raised as the funding and character of university research in education shifts increasingly in the direction of 'contract research' and as those purchasing such research claim increasing ownership and control over its conduct and its publication. The article formulates these proprietorial rights as a set of propositions and then seeks to challenge them. It advances, first, an epistemological challenge based on considerations of 'epistemic drift' ; second, a moral argument against restrictive ownership of educational knowledge and then a political case based on the principles of liberal democracy. However, the article acknowledges that there are moral complexities which disturb an oversimple conclusion to the debate. It offers the reader alternative pathways to a conclusion which can be read as ending either on the resounding note struck by Roszack's defence of 'the delinquent academy' or on a more ambivalent note of moral complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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