Conflicts of interest in academic research | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Conflicts of interest in academic research

Posted By on Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM

I am tempted to put this in the dog bite news category: An extensive report in the New York Times about whether college researchers who produce work valuable to moneyed interests are influenced by the financial rewards they get from these same moneyed interests.

The specific subject is academics, particularly one in Texas, who have defended Wall Street commodity speculators. It is by no means the only discipline in which extra benefits — research grants, endowed chairs, outside work — are conferred on academics who coincidentally produce on a regular basis work sympathetic to their patrons' views.

In Arkansas …. well, you know. We name major research components of the state's university after corporate patrons, but I've been assured personally by some professors subsidized by such corporate contributions that the money does NOT affect their findings and that it is an insult to their integrity to even think it. After all, just because somebody's rich doesn't mean they aren't right most of the time.

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