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The Conflicted University

“The Conflicted University” examines the endangered future of independent, transparent research for the common good at universities across the country.

Guest editor Sheldon Krimsky, one of the nation’s experts in scientific conflicts of interest, teamed up with Academe editor Cat Warren to create this expanded issue of Academe.

In this special issue, a group of internationally respected academics, science journalists, and other experts tackle what have become some of the thorniest issues facing higher education: corporate conflicts of interest, the chilling of scientific speech and academic freedom, and the urgent need to protect the integrity of scientific research.

From the BP oil spill debacle and ideological attacks on climate scientists and on student law clinics to the troubling influence of Big Agra, Big Tobacco, and Big Pharma at universities, the topics covered in the issue attest to the vulnerability of academia to both external influences and conflicts of interest.

But progress is possible, and the role of faculty is indispensible. We hope this special issue will stimulate faculty members, administrators, legislators, and the public to think about the need for more vigorous protection of the university’s core commitments to improving the environment, public health, and public knowledge.

Inside this issue:

“Kneecapping” Academic Freedom: Corporate attacks on law school clinics are escalating.
Robert R. Kuehn and Peter A. Joy, law professors, Washington University in St. Louis

The Costs of a Climate of Fear: Ideological attacks on scientists undermine sound public policy.
Michael Halpern, program manager, Union of Concerned Scientists

BP, Corporate R&D, and the University: New lessons for research universities, thanks to a catastrophe.
Russ Lea, vice president for research, University of South Alabama

When Research Turns to Sludge: Tying strings to sludge is not as hard as it sounds.
Steve Wing, epidemiologist, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A Not-So-Slippery Slope: Rejecting tobacco funding isn’t rocket science. It’s basic ethics.
Allan M. Brandt , historian and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University

The Historians of Industry: What happens when historians enter the courtroom? Mostly, industry rules.
Gerald Markowitz, historian, City University of New York, and David Rosner, historian, Columbia University

Hubris in Grantland: Languor and laissez-faire greet conflict of interest at the NIH.
Daniel S. Greenberg, science journalist

The Moral Education of Journal Editors: Disclosure is a necessary first step toward scientific integrity.
Sheldon Krimsky, urban and environmental policy and planning professor, Tufts University

Diagnosing Conflict-of-Interest Disorder: How Big Pharma helps write the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Lisa Cosgrove, clinical psychologist, University of Massachusetts Boston, and residential research fellow, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Big Food, Big Agra, and the Research University: A Q&A with Marion Nestle, New York University food scientist.

The Canadian Corporate-Academic Complex: The unhealthy collaboration of corporate funders and university administrators.
James Turk, executive director, Canadian Association of University Professors

The online edition of this issue also includes a brief summary of the findings of Big Oil Goes to College, a Center for American Progress report by Jennifer Washburn, author of University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of Higher Education.