The Intellectual Property Rights Regime and Emerging Institutional Framework of Scientific Research: Responses from Plant Molecular Biologists in India

in Asian Journal of Social Science
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Abstract

The Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) regime has brought about a new set of interests, meanings, values, norms, etc. that have a potential to influence the practices of the scientific community in India. The research community in plant molecular biology, which is no exception to this, seems to be increasingly influenced by considerations of the potential of research for attaining patents. In the light of this, we attempt to capture the emerging institutional framework of scientific research that is contingent upon the protocols of the IPRs and changing scientific practices. Particular attention is paid to the views of scientists in India engaged in research in plant molecular biology on genetic engineering, agro-climatic specificities (as well as transgenics) and the changing relationship between scientists and boundary organisations. This new regime is marked by the advent of the customer‐funder‐policymaker nexus as a prominent element in science forcing the plant molecular biologists to (re-)negotiate scientific boundaries. The commodification of scientific research alters the idealised identities of science and scientific community. The disciplines that can contribute to map different dimensions of the problem should collaborate to identify a shared perspective and suggest workable or deliverable solutions.

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