Protecting the Independence and Integrity of Academic Research


Blog posts, articles, books, etc.


pursuers of truth or peddlers of influence?

How Academic Corruption Works

  • October 7, 2018 essay by Lawrence Lessig in the Chronicle of Higher Education

  • Includes the following warning: “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.”

Plutocratic Philanthropy

  • Article by Emma Saunders-Hastings in the January 2018 issue of The Journal of Politics

  • Counsels that “democratizing philanthropy requires addressing the policy mechanisms and the public attitudes that privilege the wishes of donors over those of recipient organizations or the broader community.”

Elite Universities are Selling Themselves — and Look Who’s Buying

  • March 30, 2018 opinion piece by Grif Peterson and Yarden Katz in The Guardian

  • As cautioned in this revealing piece, “When universities decide to sell themselves to the highest bidder, they become deaf to the interests of their students and the wider societies in which they operate.”

Activists are Pushing to Remove Donor Influence from College Campuses

  • March 9, 2019 article by Eleanor Bader in Truthout

  • Reports that “[s]tudents and faculty across the US have begun to push back against undue donor influence on campuses.”

saying “no” to donor demands should be a core competency

  • March 12, 2019 article by Martin Levine in Nonprofit Quarterly

  • Warns that “[t]he allure of wealth is powerful and, particularly when times are tough, strong enough to tempt nonprofit organizations to muddy their missions and make principled decision-making difficult.”

Higher Ed, Inc.

The “free speech” charade

  • May 17, 2016 opinion piece by Aaron Hanlon in The New Republic

  • The call for free speech on campuses by wealthy elites sounds disingenuous when they give money with strings attached.

why the koch brothers find higher education worth their money

  • June 5, 2018 report by The Center for Public Integrity

  • Describes how “[t]he power of the Koch brothers’ money in higher ed goes far and wide, and aims for impact.”

university donations: no strings attached?

  • January 3, 2019 piece by Paul Basken in the Times Higher Education

  • Examines how universities can preserve their independence when they accept financial gifts from ideologically motivated donors.

preventing economists’ capture

just giving: why philanthropy is failing democracy and how it can do better

  • Book by Rob Reich

  • Describes how philanthropy converts private assets into public influence, which can undermine democracy and exacerbate inequality.

winners take all: the elite charade of changing the world

  • Book by Anand Giridharadas

  • Argues that philanthropic efforts by elites often do more harm than good.