Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Challenge for Universities: What to Disclose About Researchers’ Financial Backing

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 2nd, 2015

Douglas Laycock of the University of Virginia has faced demands for his research records from the political left. Deborah L. Swackhamer of the University of Minnesota has gotten them from the political right.
But Mr. Laycock, Ms. Swackhamer, and other faculty researchers who’ve been harassed for details of their finances and scientific activities have one thing in common: They’re not sure what policy makers should do about it.
"It’s tricky," said Mr. Laycock, a law professor, describing the trade-off between ensuring academic freedom and assuring the public that scientists are, in fact, objective. "I haven’t thought that through," said Ms. Swackhamer, a professor of science, technology, and public policy, assessing where best to set the line in disclosing professors' financial backing.

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