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What the Agreement Says

A new report from a Canadian academic association says that universities aren't doing enough to protect academic freedom and avoid conflicts of interest when researchers enter into collaborations with industry, ScienceInsider writes.

The group, the Canadian Association of University Teachers, examined a number of research agreements and programs, including the Centre for Oil Sands Innovation, the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec, the Vancouver Prostate Centre, and the Munk School of Global Affairs. It says that seven of the 12 agreements it analyzed did not include protections for academic freedom; five agreements gave academics an unrestricted right to publish findings; and one required the disclosure of conflicts of interest.

"In the majority of the agreements we reviewed, universities have agreed to terms that violate basic academic values," James Turk, the executive director of the association said in a statement.

Murray Gray, scientific director of the Centre for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta, which was included in the analysis, tells ScienceInsider the report is "complete and utter nonsense."

"They're confusing independence of academic inquiry [with] independence of accountability [to the] people giving you money to do research, which is completely bizarre," he adds.