The AAUP has released a working draft of a set of principles for university-industry relationships. The text lays out a set of recommendations with regard to intellectual property, research contracting and strategic partnerships, and conflict of interest. The AAUP is looking for public comment, after which it will revise the draft and release it in final form. The AAUP describes a central feature of the report:
The report urges that faculty governing bodies have greater authority over the principles regulating outside funding and over the disposition of inventions derived from faculty research, but it is by no means exclusively an assertion of faculty rights. It specifies—and emphasizes—the responsibilities that must come with outside funding, among them the public disclosure of all financial conflicts of interest. Not all will readily embrace those responsibilities, but the time has surely come when every institution needs to debate and consider them.
The Scientist has a brief story on the report here. It’s time that there is a different sort of discussion about IP, contracting, licensing, and the purposes of university scholarship. The AAUP has just stepped up to play an important role in reminding folks that academic values really do matter.
AUTM, of course, is already opposed, using their usual argument that everyone else is a stupid idiot and only AUTM has the intellectual capacity to navigate such “incredibly complex and nuanced matter.” Sorry to break it to you, AUTM folks, but you are now pretty much the dullest tool in the innovation shed.