Emerging Academic Scientists’ Exclusionary Encounters with Commercialization Law, Policy, and Practice

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Commercialization, Academic Research, Patents, Inventorship, Ownership, Intellectual Property


Academic laboratories are, increasingly, sites of commercialization. While empirical evidence about the impact of the emphasis placed upon commercialization by governments, research funding agencies, and research institutions, and the attendant growth of commercialization activities in the academic sphere has been gradually accumulating, much of this evidence is tied to established academic scientists. Comparatively little empirical research has focused upon emerging academic scientists. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to identify a set of concerns flowing from emerging academic scientists’ encounters with commercialization laws, policies, and practices. The chapter proceeds in three parts. In Part A I describe contextual changes related to commercialization in the academic realm as well as a range of commercialization activities that emerging scientists are increasingly apt to be exposed to as they pursue scientific careers. In Part B I identify two “exclusionary encounters” that emerging scientists are likely to have with commercialization laws, policies, and practices. These encounters pertain to 1) inventorship of patentable discoveries, and 2) intellectual property ownership. By way of brief conclusion in Part C I set out one hypothesis for future empirical inquiry.