Google Academics Inc.

“Google has paid scholars millions to produce hundreds of papers supporting its policy interests, following in the footsteps of the oil and tobacco industries,” according to Google Transparency Project.

Google has been inextricably associated with academia since its inception (…)
The company has cultivated a college-like atmosphere, offering yellow bicycles for employees to ride around its sprawling campus (…)
Behind the scenes, however, Google has exercised an increasingly pernicious influence on academic research, paying millions of dollars each year to academics and scholars who produce papers that support its business and policy goals. (…)
The number of Google-funded studies tended to spike during moments when its business model came under threat from regulators—or when the company had opportunities to push for regulations on its competitors.

The Google Transparency Project is a research initiative of the Campaign for Accountability, a project that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose how decisions made behind the doors of corporate boardrooms and government offices impact Americans’ lives.

Last week, Campaign for Accountability released a new report, Google Academics Inc, and his Executive Director, Daniel Stevens, explained, “Google uses its immense wealth and power to attempt to influence policy makers at every level.”

As you may guess, Google has promptly responded through his director of Public Policy, Leslie Miller:

we’re proud to maintain strong relations with academics, universities and research institutes (…)
We run many research programs that provide funding and resources to the external research community. (…)
These programs (and those run by other companies) augment the government and university-funded research that is the backbone of academic discourse in the United States. (…)
The irony of discussing disclosures and transparency with the “Campaign for Accountability” is that this group consistently refuses to name its corporate funders. And those backers won’t ‘fess up either. The one funder the world does know about is Oracle, which is running a well-documented lobbying campaign against us. In its own name and through proxies, Oracle has funded many hundreds of articles, research papers, symposia and reports. Oracle is not alone—you can easily find similar activity by companies and organizations funded by our competitors, like AT&T the MPAA, ICOMP, FairSearch and dozens more.
We’re proud of our programs and their integrity.

Whom should you believe? It doesn’t really matter. This debate is only the intellectual side of a much broader trend. Whatever you read, listen, watch, consume might be “digitally” adulterated or be downright fake. And more is coming.

The key message is you must be alert (like John Connor in Terminator 2). It will be ever more difficult to tell the difference between reality and fiction!


Featured Image: Terminator 2 Judgment Day


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