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Justify the Conclusion. The correct answer choice is (C)
This is a challenging question, in part because the author used none of the usual premise or conclusion indicators to help us determine the structure of the argument. Nevertheless, you should realize that the entire stimulus supports the first sentence, because it explains why the proposed change to the patent system would have a chilling effect on research. The stimulus, when reworded, is structured as follows:
- Premise: Under current rules, researchers have one year after publication of a new discovery to patent the discovery, allowing research results to be shared.
Premise: The proposed change requires patent applications to precede initial publication, delaying
communication of discoveries.
Proposed change Delay communication of discoveries
Conclusion: The proposed change is bound to have a chilling effect on scientific research.
Proposed change Chilling effect on scientific research
- Premises + Answer choice = Conclusion
- Cause Effect
Delay communication of discoveries Chilling effect on scientific research
The correct answer choice can also be arrived at by the process of elimination. Given that the conclusion introduces a new, “rogue” element into the argument (“chilling effect”), the correct answer choice must connect that element to the rest of the argument. This eliminates all answer choices except for (C).
Answer choice (A): There is no reason to believe that encouraging more patent application will have a chilling effect on scientific research; even if it did, that would only strengthen the author’s conclusion, not prove it.
Answer choice (B): This answer choice strengthens the proposition that the current system has helped scientific research, but it does not establish that the proposed change would do the opposite.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. If delays in communication of discoveries will have a chilling effect on scientific research, and the proposed change is bound to delay such communications, then it is reasonable to conclude that the change will have a chilling effect:
- Cause Effect/Cause Effect
Proposed Delay communication Chilling effect
change of discoveries on scientific research
Answer choice (E): How the current patent system facilitates scientific research has no bearing on the issue of whether the proposed change will have the opposite effect.