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AAUP Releases Draft Report on Academy-Industry Relationships

By Ezra Deutsch-Feldman

A new AAUP report, prepared by past president Cary Nelson in conjunction with investigative journalist Jennifer Washburn, examines the connections between academia and industry and offers recommendations for ensuring academic freedom and ethical practices in academy-industry partnerships. The report, Recommended Principles and Practices to Guide Academy-Industry Relationships, is the result of eighteen months of research and preparation. It was reviewed by the AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, the Committee on College and University Governance, and the Committee on Professional Ethics. One of the longest reports the AAUP has ever produced, it includes a detailed history of controversial partnerships such as those between academic institutions and the tobacco industry. The bulk of the report consists of discussion of fifty-six principles that should guide academy-industry partnerships.

The report defends the rights of faculty members to control their research agendas and the intellectual property they create. But it spends equal time urging improved rules to make certain that faculty members conduct themselves in an ethical and professional manner. These rights and responsibilities strengthen the independence and reliability of university research.

The report is being revised in response to comments received and will be published in its final form next year.

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