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I've been known to draw public funds, so I'm not disputing your angle, but it's worth noting that historical period is quite brief in the whole history of science.

I could make a strong case that the majority of major advances in basic science were made during the "gentleman academic" era.

Publicly-funded research institutions start to become prominent around the Great War, and their relevance is increasingly challenged (see: the replication crisis).

Basic research is more important than the means by which it is funded.

True that the gentleman academics did find much of the more obvious stuff (not to denigrate). I was thinking more after 1850 or so (more like modern times). (Not prepared to parse how much the European finds were in public schools. Good topic!)

OTOH, I'll stick by my claim that 'basic research' done by privates -- (Bell notwithstanding ... e.g. Jansky was looking to solve a -private- problem, not discover radioastronomy) and especially nowadays -- is much likelier to have a particular pecuniary bias. So, not so 'basic'. Unlike, say, NASA.

Do you imply that, whatever the means to fund basic research, the availbaility of the results is the same (my mental model, albeit simple, is that if research paid by tax payers' money, then results are freely available to tax payers)

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