The Branding of the American Mind

The Branding of the American Mind Book Cover The Branding of the American Mind
Jakob H Rooksby
John Hopkins University Press

This is a fascinating look at how American universities are gathering up masses of intellectual property within its control for eventual monetisation, control and possibly even restriction. Times have changed from when ownership of research could fall to individual researchers and how university-owned findings could be freely accessible for the public good.
As a result, intellectual power can be concentrated within a relatively small group of well-funded universities, who may take a pro-commercial look at their licensing activities as well as acting defensively to protect their IPR portfolios.
The author has taken what could have been a very grey, introverted yet serious subject and made it into a highly readable, engaging and accessible book that should appeal to many different audiences. Is it good that such research is held within the grasp of universities who act as its gatekeepers? Will this really help the public good and see an advancement in science and research? Who guards the guards? All this is more is considered by the author through a mass of well-researched, argued and nuanced discussions. Concluding that the general trend is quite dangerous, the author notes that this is an unwelcome assault on the public’s interest in higher education that needs to be addressed before it is too late.
It all led to an interesting read, both considering the primary topic at hand and the various side stories and revelations of information nuggets that were secondary in nature. The only negative is the price, since it will put this out of reach of many general readers, although hopefully they can access this book through a public library. It is not the easiest of reads, in part due to the mass of information being considered, but it is certainly manageable with a modicum of interest, focus and determination.
All in all, a very interesting, considerate and contemplative book that can be recommended.