Thursday, May 17, 2018
Should universities' grant agreements be made publicly available? (Michael Simkovic)
Following up on my previous post, When do donor influence and ideology undermine academic integrity?
The progressive activist group whose efforts forced George Mason to disclose some old grant agreements has created a petition asking George Mason to disclose all of its grant agreements. This echoes recommendations made by the Faculty Senate at George Mason following revelations of improprieties in grant funding, such as politically discriminatory compensation supplements for economics and law faculty who promoted an economically conservative agenda, consistent with the views of wealthy donors.
There are numerous other examples of improprieties, such as university based researchers working to advance the interests of the sugar industry or certain tech companies without proper disclosures.
Should George Mason disclose all of its grant agreements? Should universities more generally? Should think tanks and news organizations be held to the same standards of transparency?
I think that the more transparency, the better. It is my understanding that doctors must provide funding sources when they submit their studies to reputable journals; surely universities owe no less transparency to their constituencies. It is impossible to evaluate the reliability of information without knowing who paid for it. Academic credibility depends upon it.
Posted by: Ellen Wertheiemr | May 17, 2018 8:30:15 AM