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After Professors’ Criticism, Group Updates List of Google-Funded Scholars

A group that created a list of scholars who’d received money from Google has updated the database in response to critics, including professors who said they didn’t belong on the list. In some cases the Campaign for Accountability, the creator of the dataset, defended putting professors on its list; in others, it clarified why scholars had been included; and in others, it removed academics from the list altogether.

“There’s no single way to do this, and we’re necessarily limited by the information Google, academics, and institutions themselves disclose,” the organization wrote in a blog post. “However, it’s an evolving document so we plan to keep updating our database with new information as we receive it.”

The Campaign for Accountability released its list on Tuesday, basing it on papers published from 2005 to 2017 that it said focused “on public-policy matters of interest to Google that were in some way funded by the company.”

The Chronicle this week interviewed several professors who said they didn’t belong on the list, including Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho. She said she had been listed in the database because she is an affiliated scholar with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University’s law school, to which Google is a donor. She argued that because she receives no money for that position, she doesn’t have a financial connection to Google.

The Campaign for Accountability wrote that the center does receive funding from Google, but “Ms. Bridy noted in an email to the Campaign for Accountability that she receives no compensation from the Stanford Center for Internet and Society for her ‘affiliate scholar’ position. As a result, we have decided to remove her papers from the database.”

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