@GTP_updates Report on “Google Academics, Inc.”

Ever wonder why it is that some academics seem to be as close to Google as 1 is to 2?  The Google Transparency Project has released a fascinating report and searchable database of papers written by academics funded by Google (according to the group’s methodology).  This is particularly timely given the “fake news” hot topic and the new book by Sharyl Attkisson all about manufactured information in our astroturf culture entitled The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think, and How You Vote.

Because make no mistake–Google’s multimillion dollar influence peddling campaign on campus is all about influencing regulators and lawmakers.  Yes, just like Big Pharma, “Google Academics” funnels big bucks to shape authority figures in Google’s image for 329 papers that the group was able to identify.  The epitoma suprema of factiness.

Indirect Funding

Direct Funding


Funding not acknowledged




Funding acknowledged







Source:  Google Academics, Inc.

As noted in the Google Academics, Inc. research report (at p1):

[Google] has cultivated a college-like atmosphere, offering yellow bicycles for employees to ride around its sprawling campus. Its partnerships with Carnegie Mellon University are so extensive that a Google office is housed on the school’s 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. An in-depth examination by the Google Transparency Project identified 329 research papers published between 2005 and 2017 on public policy matters of interest to Google that were in some way funded by the company.

In more than half of those cases (54%), academics were directly funded by Google. The remainder worked for, or were affiliated with, groups or institutions that were funded by Google. In the majority of cases, readers of the papers would not have been aware of the corporate funding: Academics did not disclose the Google funding in two-thirds of cases (66%). Authors failed to disclose funding even when they were directly funded by Google in more than a quarter (26%) of cases.

For example–take Jonathan Band.  Mr. Band is a registered lobbyist for MIC Coalition member the Computer and Communications Industry Association, the Library Copyright Alliance and Yahoo! Inc. and until recently was a lobbyist for Visa and the Net Coalition.  According to the Google Academics database, Mr. Band authored no fewer than ten academic papers supporting Google’s views, six of which mentioned Google in the title.

Remember Annmarie Bridy, one of the defenders of the current Librarian of Congress after what I believe was the retaliatory firing of the Register of Copyrights?  Professor Bridy has two papers in the Google Academics database.

Marvin Ammori of the Fight for the Future crowd?  Nine papers.

Mark Lemley of the Durie Tangri law firm (a go-to outside law firm for Google’s moves against creators (especially authors) and chief defender of the Goldieblox shenanigans)?  12 papers written or co-written in the Google Academics database.

We now have another valuable insight into Google’s influence peddling thanks to the Google Transparency Project.

It was Larry Page’s middle-of-the-night insight that hyperlinks could be used like academic citations to determine the usefulness of information that famously gave rise to Google. Now Google is creating a universe of paid-for citations with which to advance its policy interests.




One thought on “@GTP_updates Report on “Google Academics, Inc.”

  1. Reblogged this on The Trichordist and commented:
    Absolutely appalling! According to the Google Transparency Project database there are over 200+ copyright, patent and antitrust academic papers funded by Google that did not disclose funding. Many of these papers were used to set policies that ultimately harmed artists. Heads should roll.


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