'Dirty' Relationships – An Argument for Criminalizing Improper Corporate Influence in Academic Research
PENN STATIM Vol. 123:2, 2019
26 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 5, 2019
The Bayh-Dole Act of 1980 permitted the commercialization of inventions and technology generated by federally funded university research. The corporate-academic relationships that later emerged have led to the creation of new academic disciplines, development of novel technologies, and overall advancement of numerous scientific fields. However, improper corporate influence in academic research can propagate false, fabricated, and misleading conclusions and lead to great public harm. While ethical guidelines and institutional policies help maintain the independence and trustworthiness of corporate-sponsored academic research, these minor obstacles do little to protect the public from the potential harm of improper corporate influence in such research. The last decade has seen a striking increase in corporate funding of academic research, which underscores the need for greater protections against improper corporate influence. This paper proposes that criminal liability should attach to willful corporate influence in academic research that threatens public health and safety.
Keywords: corporate influence, academic research, criminality
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