Protecting the Independence and Integrity of Academic Research
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Academic Capture Warning System Database

Informing the public of violations of academic norms in financial donations

 

Protecting the independence and integrity of academic research

The academic capture of institutions of higher education by financial donors imperils the independence and integrity of academic research. Just as regulatory capture contributes to crony capitalism, academic capture contributes to crony philanthropy. Crony philanthropy undermines the ability of our institutions of higher education to promote the public good.

Spurred by growing instances of clear violations of well-established academic norms in financial donations, Samantha Parsons, David Rapach, and Bonnie Wilson embarked on the creation of the Academic Capture Warning System (ACWS) in 2019.

The ACWS database is currently under construction. It will provide information on organizations and individuals that have engaged in clear violations of well-established academic norms involving financial donations. Organizations include private foundations, public charities, colleges, universities, departments, centers, and institutes; individuals include donors, administrators, directors, and researchers. The ACWS database will aggregate information on clear violations of academic norms and make the information conveniently available online to the public.

Document announcing the ACWS (April 29, 2019)

Press release (April 30, 2019)

Coverage

Eleanor Bader, “Activists Are Pushing to Remove Donor Influence From College Campuses,” Truthout, March 9, 2019

Martin Levine, “Saying ‘No’ to Donor Demands Should Be a Core Competency,” Nonprofit Quarterly, March 12, 2019

Mike Scutari, “Name and Shame: A New Initiative Tracks Undue Donor Influence at Universities,” Inside Philanthropy, May 16, 2019

By Samantha Parsons, David Rapach, and Bonnie Wilson

Academic Capture Warning System,” guest post in Academe Blog (blog of Academe magazine, published by the AAUP), May 5, 2019

Protecting the Independence and Integrity of Research: Introducing the Academic Capture Warning System,” blog post in ProMarket (blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business), May 29, 2019


Resources

dATABASE

The ACWS database is currently under construction. We anticipate that the first vintage will be available in the fall of 2019.

Publications

Numerous books, journal articles, blog posts, and stories/columns in media outlets provide information and perspectives on violations of academic norms in financial donations.

BEST PRACTICES

A number of organizations provide recommendations and guidelines for protecting academic independence and integrity in financial donations. We are currently creating a page with links to resources designed to help colleges and universities implement best practices.

 

Contact

acws@academiccapture.org

Please contact the ACWS with information on violations of academic norms in financial donations to colleges and universities.



The ACWS is grateful to UnKoch My Campus for its support.



 

 
 
As universities and research departments seek new sources of revenue, they must remember that these sources come with strings, however carefully they are crafted to seem invisible. These strings pull at us, and if we build our institutions to allow them to attach, they will affect us and our work.
— Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School