[Air-l] Is there a stranglehold?

Heidelberg, Chris Chris.Heidelberg at ssa.gov
Thu Sep 14 15:06:29 PDT 2006

As I stated before Steve it has been an alliance between
government,industry and academia. Academia is the dynamo at the heart of
this because most if not all of government and corporate research is
from university trained personnel.  

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Dr. Steve Eskow
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 3:07 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: [Air-l] Is there a stranglehold?

(I have eliminated messages from this post, since the original post was
too long. SE)

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. Steve Eskow [mailto:drseskow at cox.net]
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 11:31 AM
To: 'wrc at tcfir.org'; 'air-l at listserv.aoir.org'
Subject: RE: [Air-l] Air-list

Reid Cornwell's argument continues to be factually false. The scientists
Gibbons speaks of that have controlled the flow of information to the
public have been in corporate and industrial and government and military
research centers as well as in the university.  Indeed, much crucial
research on matters (for example) pertaining to health has been
conducted by giant private pharmaceutical companies who have not made
this information widely available but have held it in what might be
considered a "stranglehold"
while poor people around the world perished from lack of the drugs which
research made possible.

The issue of the control of information versus its free flow is too
vital to society--and to the future of the Internet--to be conducted in
the inflammatory language of "stranglehold" and the like.

This matter of course takes us into complex issues of patents,
copywright, and the like. 

That the university has no stranglehold, de facto or otherwise,is
refuted by the research and development that led to the Internet and the
World Wide Web, and the disputes centering around control of
anti-malaria drugs and antiretrovirals needed by the poor afflicted with

The notion that the private sector is the hero and the solution to the
world's research needs is refuted by the private sector's behaviors in
such matters as Vioxx and the other cox-2 inhibitors, and its
unwillingness to share its research findings for the benefit of those
needing it--except for a prohibitive price.

Perhaps what is needed is an anti-inflammatory to cool down the use of
such language as 'stranglehold" in an important discussion.

Steve Eskow

-----Original Message-----
From: Dr. W. Reid Cornwell [mailto:wrc at tcfir.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 10:54 AM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org; drseskow at cox.net
Subject: RE: [Air-l] Air-list

I would have preferred to have this off-list but I have been accused
here of factual falsity and am compelled to respond.

-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Dr. Steve Eskow
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 10:16 AM
To: wrc at tcfir.org; air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Air-list

Reid, and all,

The matter of the relations between universities and the larger society
seems critical to the future of the Internet. So: 

Reid describes Michael Gibbons' Mode 1 and Mode 2 this way:

<<In mode 1 the Universities and their social structures and customs
(praxis)have a stranglehold on the creation and dissemination of
In mode 2 applications become a major driving force. In this scenario
practitioners in search of solutions to real world problems take on a
more important role.These practitioners are not likely to be Ph.D.s.
Gibbons does not directly say this but it is inherent in the mode 2

The statements in this paragraph are factually false, and distort

[ Reid Cornwell Wrote]  I think not. Gibbons writes, "Traditionally,
communications between science and society was essentially one way:
scientists were the holders of privileged expert knowledge, while the
lay public was to be enlightened and educated."

He continues, "The previous one-way communication process from
scientific from scientific experts to the lay public perceived to be
scientific illiterate and in need of education and in need of education
by experts has been supplanted by politically backed demands for
accountability of science and technology and new public discussions in
which experts have to communicate in a more 'vernacular' science than
ever before."

On Mode 2 research Gibbons writes, "its theoretical and methodological
core is in response to problem-formulation that occur in highly specific
and local contexts of application."

I said my views were parallel not the same. My argument is that "science
equals the academy." Traditionally, the academy has, at the least, had a
de facto stranglehold.

First, and most important: the universities have never had, or claimed,
or wanted "a stranglehold on the creation and dissemination of
knowledge." Had they wanted such a "stranglehold" they have never had
the power to prevent the government, the military, the industrial
research laboratory, or the solitary explorer in his basement from
researching. Indeed, a major criticism of university research is that it
has often been compromised by its dependence on funds from these
non-university sources, and that its research agenda has often been
shaped by donor interests rather than society's needs and thus there has
developed the drift to applied rather than basic research.

[ Reid Cornwell Wrote] The accountability that Gibbons refers to is a
reaction to the pretensions of the Academy and its arrogance of customs.

Gibbons' Mode 2 is largely in effect now: "partnerships" and close
collaboration between the university research lab and the research
activities of the business, industry, the military, and government. The
trend is in this direction, and it is unlikely that it will stop. In one
view we now need another independent research effort to determine
whether the long term interests of the nation and the world are being
neglected in the pursuit of research devoted to products and processes
with an immediate profit potential. 

[ Reid Cornwell Wrote] This partnership you speak of is an unwilling, if
not unholy alliance at its best. Accountability (intellectual and
financial) means control in these partnerships. You are correct in your
assessment of the trend, but it is a self inflicted wound.

This trend and current needs for researchers seem to offer no clear
signal for our need for researchers at the Ph.D. level. Part of that
answer seems related to the question of how research attention is
divided between basic and applied research.

[ Reid Cornwell Wrote] The Internet has exposed the dense communication
of the academy and asked, "is this what we are paying for?" Keep in mind
that this thread was in the context of "Are We Producing too many
Ph.D.s?", which asserts that Mentors influence their students by
counseling them that research outside the academy is a failure in their
careers. This may not be a stranglehold in brute force terms but is
certainly a stranglehold of intellectual manipulation, speaking

Steve Eskow


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