Kudos to classcrits colleague Risa L. Lieberwitz, Cornell ILR and labor law scholar, for her work with AAUP on new draft guidelines governing academic conflicts of interest and integrity, quoted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Ambitious AAUP Effort to Guide Relations Between Academics and Industry Meets Resistance by Peter Schmidt, June 13, 2012.
How might these proposals for academic policy affect law and economics centers at law schools that receive private funds from interested businesses, sometimes with governing boards comprised of representatives of those interests? The Chronicle reports that the proposals include: “The admission of graduate students and the appointment of medical residents and faculty should not be based on their potential to work under a particular donor agreement or as part of a given research alliance. It also urges that faculty and other academic investigators be prohibited from soliciting research funds from outside sponsors with the promise, or implied suggestion, of predetermined research results.”
For discussion of some of the ways in which outside private interests shape legal scholarship (to the detriment of critical feminist legal theory) in Martha T McCluskey, How Money for Legal Scholarship Disadvantages Feminism (Legal Feminism Now symposium, edited by Kathryn Abrams).
Also see Fracking Research and the Money that Flows to it(NYT June 12) and University Diaries, which notes “the venerable tendency of some units of some universities to conceive themselves – not evolve into, but define themselves from the word go – as handmaidens to commerce. To put it genteelly.They’re not made up of researchers with established interests. They’re made up of people who look around at government and industry and say Whaddaya want us to say?”
Also on University Diaries check out the interesting collection of posts on financial law violations by business school faculty, under its Beware the B-School Boys category.
And also check out Classcrits affiliated faculty Gerald Epstein’s recent co-authored work on ethics and economics, advocating improved policies regarding disclosure and conflicts of interests for scholarship and public policy work by economists.