NEO-LIBERALS WORK FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT AND CONTROL THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY! HEATHER MIZEUR SAYS SHE IS PROGRESSIVE? HAVE YOU HEARD HER SHOUT AGAINST ALL OF THIS? SHE SUPPORTS PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND WALL STREET CREDIT BOND LEVERAGE FOR THESE KINDS OF THINGS!
MOVING ALL FEDERAL AND STATE FUNDING OF EDUCATION TO PRIVATE CORPORATE NON-PROFITS AND EDUCATION BUSINESSES IS DELIBERATELY MEANT TO PRIVATIZE AND CLOSE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS DEDICATED TO PUBLIC INTEREST. THIS SHOULD HAVE EVERYONE ON THE STREETS.
To: Citizens for Maryland Libraries
I would like to share my views of policy that will concern the vision and mission of Maryland libraries. As an academic currently working as a research professional I live in libraries and archives so I am one of the most frequent users of the institutions for which you advocate. I would be a real friend to public and private libraries and research institutions.
First, let me clarify a policy stance that drives my policies on education and by extension how libraries fit into education at all levels. We have watched these few years of Governor O’Malley’s term the embracing of a Federal policy advanced by the Obama Administration under the direction of his Education Secretary Arne Duncan called Race to the Top and this policy guides any questions regarding libraries and Common Core materials. As a progressive labor and justice candidate I see Race to the Top as an assault on public education K-12 and with it Common Core. I will work hard to restore rigor and accountability in all public schools as I too agree that we have failed to assure these standards in public schools these few decades. I think Race to the Top and Common Core are not the best approach for doing this. Indeed, I feel these policies work against the very goal stated by politicians pushing this agenda. The method of implementation of Race to the Top shows what I feel is a desperate attempt to move education policy that Federal officials know the public does not want and they are doing as quickly as possible with such a lack of transparency as to have no avenue for public comment and input in what is the cornerstone to our democratic society-------democratic education and equal opportunity and access to all education. Common Core sold as a standardization of curricula is not progressive but regressive. It is not even about making sure there is consistency across America in subject content and rigor. As anyone who has a background in science and education as I do knows……STEM courses are already standardized. Facts are facts and courses from science, technology, engineering, and math are fact based. Now, some people may say that areas like evolution and environment have prejudice in political beliefs, but if students are required to know science standards for existing national tests, those requirements will continue to drive course content. My concern with Common Core is more with the humanities and liberal arts where standardization greatly jeopardizes democratic freedom of thought and speech as each region of this nation has its own experiences with socio-economic evaluation, civics, history, music, literature, etc. We do not want to standardize that which makes a nation a plurality. As a progressive I do not like conservative states writing out the labor and civil rights era every opportunity they get, but I also would not like having the Bush Administration writing the Common Core history lesson on their administration’s foreign policies on War and torture. Standardization never works well at a time when government is controlled by what we all know to be corporate culture that does not have the public interest in mind in writing policy. So, just as a general statement on education policy I will open with my intent to fight Race to the Top implementation in Maryland. My appointments would be strong public education advocates and my bully-pulpit as governor would address the Maryland Assembly as regards the movement of policy that has so little research showing its legitimacy in creating the achievements it states and the unwise decision to move forward so quickly with policy that has not had public comment, development of core materials to be used, and the discussions as to where these policies lead the state in the long-term. I believe the majority of citizens in Maryland, both democrat and republican are not comfortable with these policies and particularly their being implemented without discussion and thought. Please see my website Citizens Oversight Maryland.com for very clearly written policy stances on this education policy. Keep in mind I am an activist and this site is written to be populist. Accountability and public oversight is the passion of my campaign.
Now, on to three specific questions directed at libraries:
1. One of the greatest achievements of our last economic revolution, the Industrial Revolution, was philanthropy that gave us the public institutions of learning and the public library system we have today. The idea that all people living in America were to be educated in a way that prepares them to be leaders and to be citizens is central to our Founding Father’s writing of the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. Public places were key to the American people being both. The legal case of Brown vs Board of Education was successful in that the dictate of equal opportunity and access to public education was already a given; it was simply the acknowledgement, as if this needed to be acknowledged, that all men are created equal includes people of color. So, simply having this philosophy of education identifies me as someone who by extension values the library system in providing that access and opportunity to all. If we look at the future as regards digitization of all information and the ability of citizens here in America to afford the tools needed to access this digital information we know that libraries will be even more necessary to open access to many people. Right now, for many it is libraries that offer the only access to the internet and as public schools become more wired and computers become integrated in lessons, access to computers outside the classroom is critical. Funding for this transition in classrooms is a good thing and we need to see that libraries and community centers are viewed as equally needing of funding to meet these changes. We are seeing a movement in Maryland of using private education non-profits to serve in providing after-school programs and even in-school programs. Libraries on the other hand are being left to feel that budgets could be slashed or branches closed at any time. The movement of these educational outlets from the public to these private non-profits shows a desire to privatize our public sources and services. I write extensively on the negative impact of public-private partnerships and where I do see good coming from some of these partnerships the goal is clearly to make these relationships the rule and not the exception. This will not end well for libraries whether public or private. As a researcher I know that access to research is becoming limited as even universities are making research protected from public view through patents and by extension librarians are now having to tell consumers of the library sources that once accessible data is now proprietary. This also limits what librarians can say in the course of their duties while on the clock and as we all know, Federal rules regarding surveillance of public records has librarians forced to operate in ways they may find disagreeable. We see this as an assault on free speech and freedom of information. All of this falls into policy that attempts to privatize our public spaces. In order for an education policy to be dynamic and promote success for all Marylanders, we cannot restrict our public spaces and the flow of public information with these categorization of quasi-governmental or public private. It is repressive and it hurts everyone. We want to build community educational programs, we want to make libraries center of these communities and a vital part of each school’s structure. This requires strong funding to public schools and I will say that the current policy of allowing corporations to donate rather than pay taxes skews all attempts at making educational opportunities equal. Tiered-per-pupil funding in Baltimore for example with the desire to run individual schools as businesses has some schools pressed to buy toilet paper for the children’s bathrooms so whether that school has a good library falls to the whim of private donation. This is not democratic and public education. It does not meet the US Constitutional requirement of democratic and equal opportunity. Libraries that are tied to private donation rather than by public funding are then under the restrictions that come with that donation and, indeed, that is the point of this policy. Libraries whether private or public will not serve their consumers if policy is dictated by private donation only. I know, Carnegie was one big private donation but he had the foresight of placing them in the hands of public operation. We must continue the public funding of library resources of all kinds and with it public access and programming developed with the public in mind. In Baltimore, small libraries have been defunded and public access ended because of cuts to library budgets and branches are in fear each budget season that the axe may fall. Politicians thinking all information is online will be the ones who view physical buildings for libraries as extraneous. In conclusion, I value private non-profits operating as a source for after-school programs. I feel that libraries are already in the position of providing these programs as well. A well-resourced library already in a community is necessary for any well-developed education mission. In this age of technology we would want our libraries to have the same resources as our classrooms so the connection to after-school consumers is there.
2. Since I am not a supporter of all of the testing and evaluation policy I do not see a need to expand preparation for testing to libraries more than what exists right now. Education that is broad and experiential needs to have more opportunity in group projects and exposure to any number of learning skill development tools. Classroom teachers are not able to do the level of educational skills development needed for achievement and this is where libraries can be an excellent source for parents and students in their after-school choices. We desperately need all hands on deck with skills development and I do not feel that private non-profits are the only avenue for this. Our Pratt Central Library has wonderful programs for children and with a bigger budget would have the space to expand as a meeting place for after-school programs. Having library staff coming to public community centers to help build and implement these programs, funding of mobile library buses all are extremely valuable in attaining educational goals in Maryland. The upside down education policy of having students going online after school to prepare for classroom lessons is an excellent opportunity for libraries so having the software and materials used in the classrooms at the library is a must. Parents have never needed more resources than now in learning how to help their children meet these new classroom requirements. I cannot begin to share the importance for every student in having a library to which to retreat for all kinds of reasons. Libraries are not only about classroom K-college. They have as a mission to be the sight of Lifelong Learning. To be able to meet this mission libraries must be well-resourced. It is expensive to outfit a library for those with disabilities or to make sure the library collections cater to all kinds of tastes and cultural backgrounds. All attempts to cut budgets makes the libraries less able to do this and in turn make them attractive to fewer people. If your goal was to be rid of libraries, that would be the mechanism. Look to the US Post Office to see this strategy for dismantling a national public treasure!
3. I will say as Governor of Maryland my responsibilities to move forward policies regarding Race to the Top will remain until a time comes that this policy can be changed. It is my intent to push for this. That said, as State Executive it will be my responsibility to move forward policy dictated by past legislation and indeed, MCC-RS and Common Core are those policies. That said, I will be sure to see that libraries have what is needed to make them central in implementing this policy and support public school teachers in their classrooms and with promoting the success of students in achievement on these tests. The amount of education funding going into implementing these Race to the Top policies is outrageous for people knowing all our public schools need are resources and rigor. So, it would be my job to look carefully at all of the private consultants, all of the private educational businesses tied with this Race to the Top and assess how we might better implement these policies by using the resources such as libraries already in our community. Since Race to the Top is mostly about growing an education business industry, corporate politicians working for these corporations are no doubt bringing the state into lots of business deals that may not be needed or effective. I would look at these contracts to see how we can bring libraries and public community centers into the loop in assuring student readiness for these tests. As a former classroom teacher I know these teachers are overwhelmed and really have little ability to accomplish all that is being placed upon them so quickly. I would make it my goal to give relief to these classroom teachers in whatever way I can and that would extend to bringing in existing educational sources like libraries and librarians.
WALSH FOR GOVERNOR IS A GREAT BIG FAN OF LIBRARIES AND ALL RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS AND IN PROTECTING US CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF FREE SPEECH, CIVIL LIBERTIES, AND CIVIL RIGHTS THAT GO WITH EDUCATION AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS!
Update: Vermont Library Lays Off Whole Staff; Librarians Protest
By Meredith Schwartz on January 8, 2013 This article has been updated to include video footage of the “Hug” of the Athenaeum on January 12.
On December 3rd, 2012, the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Board of Trustees announced it would lay off its entire library, docent, and information technology staff, then “ask them to consider applying for the newly formed Athenaeum positions,” Bill Marshall, chair of the Athenaeum Board of Trustees, said in a letter.
The first goal of the radical restructuring is to reduce costs: the library is eating into its endowment. It could be depleted in as little as seven years if spending continues at the current rate, which the Athenaeum’s Executive Director, Matthew Powers, said was between 10 and 20 percent per year, rather than the recommended 4.5 percent. The plan will cut personnel spending by eight percent, or about $40,000. Powers told LJ that personnel is the “single highest line” in the library-cum-museum’s budget. “Last year personnel costs were roughly $340,000 out of a total budget roughly of $500,000, and that doesn’t take into account the deficit,” he explained.
Although it is the staff restructuring that is raising the most controversy, Powers told LJ it’s far from the only cut. “Within the overall budget we reduced about $150,000; so we didn’t just look at the personnel budget,” said Powers. Other cutbacks affected general expenses and facilities. “No stone was unturned,” Power continued.
The other stated goal of the restructuring is to gear the Athenaeum up to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing world of librarianship, including a new focus on digitization, research and technical assistance, super-broadband Internet access, and off-site services, as well as more emphasis on programs and collaboration with other institutions. However, it is not entirely clear how the restructuring would place more emphasis on technology use and support, since it replaces a dedicated employee with an IT contractor.
According to Laurel Stanley, a retired academic library director, public library trustee, Athenaeum member and donor, and member of the Vermont Library Association Board, a new focus on these goals isn’t necessary. “They’re saying that the Athenaeum is behind in new services and technology and that’s just not true,” said Stanley. “The Athenaeum is definitely a leader in the Northeast Kingdom [section of Vermont], and measures well compared to other libraries in the state.”
According to a second letter from the Board, the Athenaeum is moving from a team of eight people working in the library—most part-time—to a team of four people, two of whom are full time. (Plus a new curatorial position which requires museum, not library, expertise, and a full time development position.) The letter compared the decision to the also-controversial restructuring at Harvard University, and also includes a Q&A section describing some background:
Q: Is there a future for public libraries?
A: Yes! Absolutely yes! There is an important role for public libraries, but it’s going to be different. Preparing for this new role for our library is the fundamental reason we are restructuring. Moreover, this change is occurring with great speed and we have some catching up to do. This is the reason we felt we needed to take a bold step forward, instead of small, incremental changes.
The Athenaeum’s new library positions include a full time librarian and assistant librarian, a part time assistant librarian, and a part time youth services librarian. Although the Board’s letter stated that the people hired into the four new positions will be qualified librarians, according to the job posting, an MLS is not required for any of the positions. While Vermont considers someone with a department of library certification to be a qualified librarian, Stanley told LJ, “it is highly unusual that a library the size of the Athenaeum would not have at least one MLS. You can’t tell me you’re going to do catching up and then say you don’t need an MLS.”
While the Athenaeum says the restructuring does not result in any significant cut in staffing, Stanley disagrees, saying the 130 hours of library staffing that the new positions provide will be insufficient to both staff the Athenaeum’s two service desks and children’s room for the library’s current 42-43 open hours per week, and provide the additional outreach services and programming called for by the plan. Likewise, expanding non-library positions such as a curator, a development director, a book keeper, and a custodian, while reducing library staff hours, is not focusing on library services, claims Stanley.
Stanley agrees that the budget must be balanced, but feels that “they’ve put far too much money into this art gallery, and library services has been far down” on the list of priorities.
Rural Librarians Unite (RuLU), a newly formed volunteer group, is organizing opposition to the cuts in the form of a “hug” for the library. On Saturday, January 12 at noon, the group will join with the Vermont Library Association and citizens of St. Johnsbury to hold hands around the library.
The demonstration is similar to that organized by 2012 LJ Mover & Shaker Christian Zabriskie in 2011. Zabriskie, founder of Urban Librarians Unite, coordinated a “hug” of the New York Public Library’s main branch, and Lydia Willoughby, spokersperson for RuLU, says that’s not a coincidence. “We contacted ULU before starting anything up here, and got their blessing. The ‘hug’ event was definitely influenced by their work at NYPL.”
The Vermont Library Association (VLA) said in a statement, “While the Vermont Library Association understands the Board’s responsibility for setting direction for their library during a time of financial stress, now, more than ever, Vermonters need libraries–and librarians. The Vermont Library Association feels that the board’s actions demonstrate a devaluation of libraries and the library professionals capable of leading them through a time of intense change in information resources and society. Librarians are not replaced by the Internet–their skills and training enrich the Internet and facilitate access for all Vermonters.”
Both RuLU and VLA also called on supporters to contact the Athenaeum directly, as well as their elected representatives.
Willoughby told LJ, “While the timing of Rural Librarians Unite was definitely in response to the Athenaeum situation, the story was never about just the Athenaeum library staff…RuLU will serve as an activist force that libraries and librarians can go to whenever they want to get a campaign off the ground for any reason.”
RuLU’s future plans include building library and literacy services for correctional facilities and reentry programs in Vermont, an alternative email listserv for rural librarians to make action plans and share resources, support for safe physical spaces for vulnerable learners and library users, meet ups at independent bookstores, unconferences, collaboration with Every Library on State-wide advocacy, and reaching out to ARSL and other peer organizations. While RuLU is focused on Vermont right now, Willoughby doesn’t rule out expanding nationally/or and working with nearby Canadian libraries.
The “Hug” drew a crowd of about 200 people, according to RuLU. Video of the event can be seen below:
HUG the Athenaeum - The People Make the Library
- Jan 12, 2013 RuralLibrariansUnite·1 video
2 864 views 16 0 Published on Jan 13, 2013
In December 2012, the board of trustees at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum laid off 11 library staff and invited them to reapply for 3.25 positions. Rural Librarians Unite organized a rally in response. Here is some footage! We love libraries!
Find out more on our website: rurallibrariansunite.org
This article shows the same happening in Maryland. While I do fault union leadership for not shouting and using labor lawyers to fight worker wealth lost to fraud and corruption,these unions need the citizens of the state to come out in support of labor and public services. When neo-liberals partner with republicans to privatize all that is public.......labor and justice must have public support.
PLEASE MOBILIZE AND SHOUT, PROTEST, PETITION AND RUN FOR OFFICE AT ALL LEVELS! WE NEED TO TAKE BACK THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE.
Remember, budget shortfalls come from failure to recover tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud at the national level and tens of billions at the state and local levels. IT IS ALL ABOUT REINSTATING RULE OF LAW AND ACCOUNTABILITY!
SCOD Public Blog Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development
Maryland Budget Cuts = Drastic Library Layoffs Maryland State Budget Cuts Public Services
County library workers in unions, pay more than $500 a year in dues. What have all those dues done for them? That is the sum total effect that paying all those union dues has done for thousands of workers in 21st Century Maryland. Luxurious Legislators have waited until the State deficit is almost $800 million, before they decided to radically chop down the life-long careers of countless loyal State workers and their families.
Montgomery County Executive Dictator Isiah Leggett is calling for a reduction in government spending for the first time in more than 40 years. Regardless of political party, there is nothing “democratic” about his legacy. He spent all the County’s money on bullet-proofing his personal security, and a gold-leaf bathroom in his office. Now in his $4.3 billion budget Monday, he calls for cuts across the state, including libraries and other services. The plan also gives schools $137 million LESS than required by the state. Leggett is calling for an energy tax that would cost about $3 per month for the average household. He has called for a $62 million ambulance fee that was rejected by the county council in the past.
All of these drastic cuts are his attempts to address his own political follies that have aggregated into one of the largest budget deficits in the region. Leggett is proposing no pay increase for county employees. He would eliminate hundreds of currently filled jobs and impose 10 days of furloughs for non-public-safety employees. The overall job reduction amounts to well over 750 work years.
This massive reduction in much needed public service, is almost as bad as the General Assembly cuts to Baltimore’s highway aid from the state. The evidence is clear that the public demands more access to these services, yet the wrong decisions are made. There are many ways to cut budgets over a period of years, without forcing a mass exodus.
The future of civilization in Maryland does not look good. Already homeless and people without internet access clamor at the doors of the libraries. What will all those thousands of people do? Get a job with all these cuts? Yeah, right.
Libraries are now one of the last places for the public to meet in a public space especially in Maryland. The intent is to take that away as well. With loss of net neutrality and consolidation of the communications industry, prices will soar and content standardized across the nation in the hands of global corporations. THE INTENT IS TO CONTROL INFORMATION AND ACCESS TO THIS INFORMATION. Libraries are and will become the only outlet for people to computers and content online.
Meanwhile, librarians are being threatened by Federal Security agencies against making public illegal searches, illegal blocking of information, and privacy issues libraries have always protected. Free speech and free flow of information is threatened by neo-liberals.
Librarians Protest Against Budget Cuts At City Hall October 31, 2011 1:32 PM Library Generic (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
CHICAGO (CBS) – It was reading time and protest time for more than 100 city librarians and supporters Monday morning at a rally outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at City Hall.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports that one librarian read to children at City Hall about a “big green monster,” but what librarians found even scarier were the mayor’s planned cuts to the library system.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
“At a time we’re taking more and more things away from our kids, we need to give them something to expand their imaginations,” said Beverly Cook, who has been with the library system for more than 25 years.
The mayor plans to trim $11 million from the budget for public libraries next year by eliminating 268 vacant positions and laying off 284 workers – including two dozen various librarians, 112 clerks and all 146 pages charged with shelving books.
Library student Megan Russell said, “The effect will be horrendous for both children and people that cannot afford Internet and cannot afford books.”
Library supporters arrived at City Hall with more than 4,000 petition signatures backing up their opposition of the library cuts.
You may not understand the outrage over issues with Trans Pacific Trade Pact (TPP) like intellectual property protections and IT protections but the article below shows the problem. Since universities are being made into corporations and patenting their research, what was free and open sharing of all academic research internationally will now be threatened. Proprietary means that the decades of building an international system of sharing academic information to cut the costs of taxpayer funding of costly research will be closed to the public. Librarians used to be the experts on finding all of this information to share with the public and now those resources are mostly accessible to only university personnel.
Bill Clinton placed privatization of universities on the fast track once he and Reagan tag-teamed global corporate rule. Obama has sent hundreds of billions of dollars to build these university research centers that are now simply corporations while sending relatively small funding connected to Race to the Top to fund K-12. Most of that too attached to building private education structures. Meanwhile, researchers like myself cannot access what Federal, state, and local taxes fund in research because patented research is proprietary.
Why have library staff when most of what libraries did is now being lost.....the public does not need to know! 'Innovation startup' is just a political phrase for spending all taxpayer money on the R and D costs for new product development. All these startups that are successful are simply folded into global corporations and the university department heads are paid as if they are manufacturing executives.
NEO-LIBERALS WORK FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT AND CONTROL THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY! HEATHER MIZEUR SAYS SHE IS PROGRESSIVE? HAVE YOU HEARD HER SHOUT AGAINST ALL OF THIS? SHE SUPPORTS PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AND WALL STREET CREDIT BOND LEVERAGE FOR THESE KINDS OF THINGS!
Academic Patenting: How universities and public research organizations are using their intellectual property to boost research and spur innovative start-ups
Mario Cervantes, Economist, Science and Technology Policy Division, Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, OECD1
Introduction Universities and other public research organizations are increasingly protecting their inventions – from genetic inventions to software – helping raise additional funding for research and spurring new start ups. The rise in university patenting has occurred against a broader policy framework aimed at fostering a greater interaction between public research and industry in order to increase the social and private returns from public support to R&D. The general strengthening of intellectual property protection world-wide as well as the passage of legislation aimed at improving technology transfer are additional factors that have facilitated the expansion of patenting in academia in OECD countries.
Indeed, in 1980, the United States passed what is widely considered landmark legislation, the Bayh-Dole Act, which granted recipients of federal R&D funds the right to patent inventions and license them to firms. The main motivation for this legislation was to facilitate the exploitation of government-funded research results by transferring ownership from the government to universities and other contractors who could then license the IP to firms. Although patenting in US universities did occur prior to the passage of Bayh-Dole Act, it was far from systematic.
At the end of the 1990s, emulating the US policy change, many other OECD countries reformed research funding regulations and/or employment laws to allow research institutions to file, own and license the IP generated with government research funds. In Austria, Denmark, Germany and Japan, the main effect of these changes has been the abolishment of the so-called “professor’s privilege” that granted academics the right to own patents. The right to ownership has now been transferred to the universities while academic inventors are given a share of royalty revenue in exchange. There has also been debate in Sweden on whether to follow a similar path and transfer ownership to institutions. For now at least, the status quo remains and policy efforts are focusing on developing the ability of universities to provide professors with support for patenting.
In Canada, where rules on IP ownership by universities vary across Provinces, efforts have nevertheless been made to harmonize policies at least with respect to R&D funded by federal government Crown Contracts. In Ireland and France, where institutions normally but not always retain title, the government has chosen an alternate path: issuing guidelines for IP management at institutions in order to foster more consistent practices. Such reforms are not only confined to the OECD countries. China has recently made legislative reforms to allow universities to protect and claim IP, but implementation of such reforms remains a challenge. One lesson from all this is that despite the importance of patent legislation in fostering technology transfer, different national systems may require different solutions.
Institutional ownership of IP is not sufficient Encouraging universities to commercialize research results by granting them title to IP can be useful but it is not sufficient to get researchers to become inventors. The key is that institutions and individual researchers have incentives to disclose, protect and exploit their inventions. Incentives can be “sticks” such as legal or administrative requirements for researchers to disclose inventions. Such regulations are often lacking in many countries, even in those where institutions can claim patents. Government rules that prevent universities from keeping royalty income from licenses are another disincentive to institutions. Incentives can also be “carrots” such as royalty sharing agreements or equity participation in academic start-ups. Recognition of patent activity in the evaluation and recruitment of faculty can also provide incentives for young researchers. Tsinghua University in China offers its young researchers prizes for inventions that are commercialized.
Given the diversity of research institutions and traditions, it is important that incentives are set at the institution level, but national guidelines can help bring about coherence and the sharing of good practices. As important as incentives is the need for research institutions to clarify IP rules and disseminate them among faculty, staff as well as graduate students- who are increasingly involved in public research activities.
Building critical mass in IP management To bridge the gap between invention and commercialization, universities have established "technology transfer offices" (TTOs), on campus or off-campus intermediaries that carry out a wide range of functions, from licensing patents to companies to managing research contracts. Results from an OECD report on patenting and licensing at public research organizations2 show that there is a large diversity in the structure and organization of TTOs within and across countries (e.g. on or off -campus offices, arm’s length intermediaries, industry sector-based TTOs, and regional TTOs) but the majority appear to be dedicated on-site institutions and integrated into the university or research institution. Many of the TTOs are in their infancy; most are less than 10 years old and have less than five full-time staff. Still, the number of new TTOs is growing, to the order of 1 per year per institution.
In terms of performance, the report also found enormous variations in terms of the size of patent portfolios as well as revenues obtained from licensing. In 2000 the United States had a huge lead over other OECD countries in academic patenting: universities and federal labs received over 8 000 patents (5% of total patenting, rising to 15% in biotechnology). Academic patenting in other countries, as measured by the number of patents granted to public research institutions, ranged from the low hundreds in Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland, to close to 1 000 at German public labs and Korean research institutions in 2000-2001. While leading universities and public research organizations in countries such as the United States, Germany and Switzerland may earn millions of dollars or euros in licensing revenue, the gains are highly skewed – a few blockbuster inventions account for most revenue. Furthermore, income from licensing academic inventions remains quite small in comparison to overall research budgets. Academic patenting is thus more about boosting research and transferring technology to industry than about making a profit. In fact, evidence from the US show that the break even point for TTOs is between 5 to 7 years.
A main barrier to the development of TTOs is access to experienced technology transfer professionals. Not only are the skills sets of such professionals in short supply but sometimes government employment rules and pay-scales prevent public institutions from being able to provide competitive salaries to such professionals. Governments are nevertheless trying to help universities build IP management capacity. Denmark and Germany have both invested several millions of euro to spur the development of technology transfer offices clustered around certain regions or sectors such as biotechnology. The UK government has increased expenditures on the training of intellectual property management at universities. Even in the United States and Japan, universities pay reduced patent application fees. National patent offices are also involved in reaching out to universities to provide training in intellectual property.
Start-ups versus licensing to other firms One of the questions facing technology transfer managers and inventors is whether to license a technology or to create a start-up firm to commercialize it. Governments and university managers, especially in some European countries, have tended to favour start-ups as opposed to licensing strategies. Part of this stems from the rise in government funded venture funds that aim to promote new firm creation. The key question, however, is: which is the best channel for transferring the technology to the marketplace? The answer in fact depends on the technology in question, the market for such a technology, the skills set of the staff and researchers involved the invention, access to venture capital, and finally the mission of the institution. Certain “platform” technologies with a wide range of applications may be commercialized via a start-up company for example while others may be licensed to larger firms with the business capacity to develop the invention further and integrate it into its R&D and business strategy.
Balancing IP protection with the need to maintain public access Despite the relatively small amount of (formal) academic patenting activity that takes place, the increased focus on patenting academic inventions and licensing them to companies has raised a number of concerns common to countries throughout the OECD area and beyond. These concerns range from the impact of patenting on the traditional missions of universities, the effect on the direction of research, on the actual costs and benefits of patenting and licensing, to the effects on the diffusion of and access to publicly funded research results.
What has been the impact of IP and technology transfer activities on the direction of research? Quantitative studies tend to show that patenting has led universities to conduct more applied research. By making university research more responsive to the economy, is there a danger that basic research will suffer? On the one hand, several studies in the United States have found that universities and individual researchers that have seen the largest increases in patenting are also those which experienced the greatest gains in academic publications. On the other hand, the rate at which academic patents are cited in other patents fell (relative to the average) between the early 1980s and late 1990s in the United States and is now lower than the citation rate of patents granted to business. This could suggest a possible drop in the quality of public research – or at least of its patented component. Alternatively, it may reflect the inexperience of newly founded technology transfer offices.
Exclusive versus non-exclusive licensing Should universities and other public research organizations grant exclusive licenses to firms for inventions that have benefited from public funds? Licensees often require exclusive licenses as they offer more protection for the necessary development to be conducted before a university-provided invention can become a marketed product. The issue is particularly crucial for start-ups which have few assets other than their IP. On the other hand, by definition, exclusive licenses limit the diffusion of technologies. The OECD report has found that the mix of exclusive and non-exclusive licenses granted by public research organizations is fairly balanced, and that exclusivity is often granted with restrictions on the licensee side. Research institutions often include clauses in license agreements to protect public interests and access to the IP for future research and discovery. Licensing agreements in many institutions include a commitment to exploit the invention on the part of the licensee, particularly if the license is exclusive, and to agree on milestones in order to assure that commercialization will take place. Such safeguards can be used to ensure that technology is transferred and that licensed patents are not used simply to block competitors.
As academic inventions arise in areas closer to basic research, scientists and policy makers are also concerned that patenting certain inventions could block downstream research. One example is that of research tools, in which granting a patent could inhibit diffusion by increasing the costs and difficulty of using such tools in applied research. In response, the National Institutes of Health in the United States (NIH) have espoused a policy that discourages unnecessary patenting and encourages non-exclusive licensing (see link). Such guidelines are now being emulated by funding agencies and research institutions in other countries.
Research exemption Another area of debate concerns the use of the so-called “exemption for research use” that has been in use in universities in both the United States and in EU countries, either formally or informally. Traditionally, universities have been exempted from paying fees for patented inventions they use in their own research. The rationale is that universities fulfill a public mission. As more public research is carried out with business and generates monetary rewards, the divide between public mission and commercial aims becomes less stark. The extent and status of this exemption differs across countries and is often ill-defined. This research exemption – or rather its interpretation – has recently been the subject of policy debate and litigation: recent court decisions in the United States have restricted its meaning.
Conclusions Making universities and other public research organizations more active in protecting and exploiting their IP means not only actively promoting faculty and student research, but also determining how best to pursue any relationship with business clients while protecting the public interest. Many of the concerns or issues related to balancing IP protection with public access will take time to resolve. The growing reliance of public research institutions on various sources of funding, including from industry and contract research, as well as demands by society for greater economic and social returns on investment in public R&D, have made academic patenting a reality that is more likely to increase than decrease. At the same time, it should be recalled that intellectual property is but one of several channels for transferring knowledge and technology from publicly funded research which include publication, the movement of graduates, conferences as well as informal channels. While research institutions and firms are working to find solutions to problems as they arise, governments and research funding agencies have a role to play in providing guidelines on academic patenting and licensing and in fostering debate.
Keep in mind that Maryland and especially Baltimore are ranked at the bottom for fraud, corruption, and the lack of transparency.......billions of dollars are lost in Baltimore alone to the richest. This is the structural deficit for all government budgets and it is being used to privatize and close all that is public.
Neo-liberals are doing to the US what Gorbachev did to USSR during Perestroika......privatizing all public wealth to create Oligarchs. The US has a Constitution and Equal Protection under law that protects Americans from these actions.
WE SIMPLY NEED PEOPLE IN OFFICE THAT ARE NOT COMPLICIT
Maryland Historical Society cuts operating hours, staff
Budget gap of $670,000 to blamemuseum, library open on Thursdays, Saturdays onlyDecember 03, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | email@example.com
A $670,000 budget shortfall caused by the dismal economic climate has prompted the Maryland Historical Society to cut hours at its Baltimore museum and library and to eliminate several staff positions, according to the president of its trustee board.
In addition, Wednesday was director Robert Rogers' last day with the society, board president Alex G. Fisher said. Rogers' departure is unrelated to the 165-year-old organization's budget problems, according to Fisher. The board will name an interim director until it can conduct a search for a new leader.
The society was able to close nearly half of its budget gap by cutting the equivalent of seven full-time positions. To make up the rest, it also limited operating hours at the museum and library to noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and the 28 trustees agreed to double their gifts to the society's annual fund.
Many charitable organizations have been struggling to remain solvent during the economic downturn.
"It's no secret that all nonprofits are suffering as a result of the economy," Fisher said.
Although financial markets have recovered somewhat, they are still lower than they were several years ago, which affects the income drawn from the historical society's endowment, as well as the confidence of supporters who make contributions, Fisher said. State funding for the society has also decreased by $450,000 in the past three years, according to Fisher.
He described the decrease in hours as "regrettable." However, "if you're going to be fiscally responsible, you just have to do that," Fisher said. The library and museum were formerly open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, though the library would close during lunch.
Scholars and historians worry that the decision to reduce hours will make it difficult for researchers to conduct their work.
"If you're an out-of-town researcher, you can't even go back-to-back days," said Jessica Elfenbein, an associate provost and professor of history at the University of Baltimore. "It's going to be very hard for any researcher to do justice to Baltimore if you can't get to the collections it supports."
Said Robert Brugger, senior editor at the Johns Hopkins University Press: "That means that people who would like to be doing research are not going to do it, or need to find more money than would otherwise be needed to get work done."
Fisher acknowledged that was a legitimate concern. The society is hoping to restore some operating hours at its Mount Vernon facilities by relying on volunteers.
"But it will take time to get that accomplished," Fisher said.
The society is also revamping its Web site.
"Once that's done, access to library material will expand dramatically to anyone off-site," courtesy of the Web, Fisher said.
Education programs in Maryland schools will also be curtailed through the remainder of the school year, according to Fisher. As student tours of the museum have dwindled in recent years, outreach in schools has filled that void, he said, and the society would send staff to train teachers to use replicas of museum holdings for Maryland history lessons. But next summer, the society will transition to offering more Web-based resources.