important public issues get caught up in proprietary arrangements that make it difficult for people to access them, reanalyze them, criticize them, or incorporate them into critiques of things going on in the world, then the notion that science is public knowledge would be seriously threatened.
Perhaps such effects are the hardest to predict and the hardest to be certain about. But it is clearly worth asking how far science can move in the direction of privatization before people stop perceiving it as a credible and disinterested source of public knowledge, and instead begin to think of science as just another private interest— one that cannot be scrutinized and cannot be counted on to speak the truth.
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