Report on Academic-Industry Partnerships

For Release on June 13, 2012
Contact: Cary Nelson crnelson@illinois.edu

Read the report.

Washington, DC— Should faculty members be permitted to hide the fact that they are being handsomely paid by a corporation they are supposedly objectively evaluating? Should a corporation decide which faculty members can teach a course or participate in a university research project? Should a corporation be able to control when faculty members can publish the results of their research?

These are among the many ethical and professional questions asked and answered in the AAUP’s major new report—Recommended Principles & Practices to Guide Academic-Industry Relationships . The product of eighteen months of research and writing, the report is nearly 100,000 words long. Its conclusions are supported by detailed case studies and some 700 footnotes. But its 56 specific recommendations are available in a concise twenty-page summary. 

The report is unstinting in its defense of academic freedom and the rights of faculty to control their research agendas and the fate of the intellectual property they create, rights seriously eroded over the last generation. But the report spends equal time urging improved rules to make certain that faculty members conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner, principles also eroded by increasing conflicts of interest. This mix of rights and responsibilities aims to strengthen the independence and reliability of university research and restore the level of respect American higher education deserves.

We expect this report to be actively debated as campuses consider whether to adopt its recommendations in faculty handbooks, research contracts with industry, and collective bargaining agreements. Following standard AAUP practice, it is published now for public comment, after which it will be revised as appropriate.

The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom by supporting tenure, academic due process, and standards of quality in higher education. The AAUP has approximately 47,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Media Contact: 
Cary Nelson
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 13, 2012