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Knowledge Governance

How knowledge is governed – or how it ought to be governed – is related to how knowledge is created and valued in society. Academic research largely relies on an extractive model of knowledge creation, where social and natural “capital” are collected and channelled into a linear process to create tangible and intangible products and new ideas. Establishing intellectual property rights to the products of academic research has become an accepted part of the academic enterprise, particularly within university-corporate partnerships.

But how does one determine rights to academic research and innovation when these are based on the long-held knowledge and traditions of Indigenous and local communities, such as Indigenous traditional medicines, or cultural heritage? How well or poorly do academic institutions address collaborative knowledge creation, and sharing of associated rights and responsibilities beyond the corporate partnership model? Such questions raise complex philosophical, ethical, legal and political issues being explored at POLIS around who owns, has access to, and benefits from creating, mobilizing and immobilizing knowledge.

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Page last updated: 02/03/2013