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ILP exploits public resources for private gain

MIT President Paul E. Gray claims that no one is hurt by the school's practice of selling "facilitated access" to government research results through its Industrial Liason Program. The public still gets the research it pays for, Gray argues, so why should we care if MIT makes a few million extra selling the same information to the Japanese?

The hole in Gray's argument is that research papers at MIT leave out the information one would need to use the research results. Reflecting an ideology that "science is neutral," MIT publications usually omit as irrelevant the context of the work or the intended application.

Through the ILP, corporate clients may purchase the time of a professor who will provide the missing contextual pieces. But the high access fees of the ILP exclude many companies, and labor unions are denied membership even if they are willing to pay.

Rather than using their knowledge to educate students or strengthen US economic security, MIT professors are too often busy flying overseas or giving demos to foreign visitors, earning "ILP points." The most prominent goal in the ILP mission statement is "to increase MIT's total income for corporations including research sponsorship, gifts, Liason Program fees."

How can Gray argue that this program serves the public? The ILP is a prime example of the expropriation of public resources for private gain.

Rich Cowan '87->

Editorial Committee,->

Science for the People->