Academics urged to 'publish and be damned' -

Academics urged to ‘publish and be damned’


LONDON — The news that U.K. universities’ revenue from intellectual property (IP) is continuing to increase has been welcomed by Barry Treves, president of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), but he warns that academic pressure to publish is holding back faster progress.

According to a report by the Higher Education Funding Council, for the Department of Trade & Industry, the revenue was up slightly in 2003-04 at �£38.2 million, which was just ahead of the �£37.1 million achieved the previous year.

Patenting, however, has shown a strong increase, with patents granted in the latest year up 23 percent on 2002-03. It’s this increase in IP protection that underpins the surge in licenses and options executed by universities, with 198 percent growth in 2003-04.

Treves believes that progress would be faster if academics abandoned their traditional inclination to publish details of their inventions at the earliest opportunity and said, “It’s still the case in many universities that academic success is measured by the number of publications. Whilst knowledge of the importance of protecting intellectual property is improving, not all academics realize that it’s generally not possible to patent an invention if you’ve previously published details of it. Universities, especially those with strong science and engineering departments, need to make sure they have a clear IP policy and that students in all disciplines are made aware of the importance of confidentiality.”

“Academics should not forget that when it comes to patentable technology, it really is a case of ‘publish and be damned’, added Treves”

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