The Global Research article has a confusing date line:
Global Research, January 22, 2013
Global Research, 29 July 2009
In 2009, Monsanto did heavily restrict independent science. An October 2009 news feature by Emily Waltz in Nature Biotechnology talks about a complaint by 26 scientists to the EPA about seed company's restrictions.
"No truly independent research can be legally
conducted on many critical questions involving
these crops [because of company-imposed
In late 2009, seed companies, including Monsanto reacted to these complaints and changed their requirements.
Monsanto explains their new Public Research Agreements: (hat tip to @Atsby for the link)
As a result, Monsanto introduced the blanket agreement, which allows university scientists to work with Monsanto’s commercial seed products without contacting the company or signing a separate contract. This blanket agreement – the Academic Research License (ARL) – enables academic researchers to do research with commercialized products with as few constraints as possible. ARLs are in place with all major agriculturally-focused US universities – about 100 in total.
So, scientists are still required by Monsanto to comply to some restrictions, but the level of the restrictions has been lowered, and it can no longer be said that Monsanto forbids independent research.
What do these agreements actually say? They appear to be confidential, which is disappointing, and fosters some doubts over the scientific integrity of the resulting research - particularly publication bias.
However, the same science writer, Emily Waltz, reported this update as a News Brief in the October 2010 issue of the same journal. She quotes anonymous scientists as being happy with the new agreement:
“[The agreement] is extremely good and specific. ARS will be
allowed to do basically everything that could be desired,” says one ARS scientist who asked to remain anonymous.
Waltz examined a version of the agreement:
The Monsanto-ARS agreement obtained by Nature Biotechnology allows ARS scientists
to conduct agronomic research—studies on how crops interact with local environments
and which varieties perform best. Studies outside of agronomic research, such as
breeding, reverse engineering or characterizing the genetic composition of the crop,
require separate contracts with the company. The agreement is nearly identical in scope
to Monsanto’s licenses with universities, but is more specific. An appendix included
in ARS’s license lists more than 25 examples of the specific types of studies that are
considered “agronomic” and therefore permissible—a definition that has been unclear
to public sector scientists in the past. “It allows us to do our research under a blanket
agreement instead of negotiating everything [with Monsanto] every time,” says Larry
Chandler, an area director at ARS who facilitated the negotiations. “This is much more
efficient for all parties.”
- This was largely true in 2009 that Monsanto tightly controlled independent research. It was no longer true in 2013. There are still some limitations on scientists, but Monsanto doesn't forbid independent research.