Coalition seeks transparency on a new industry-affiliated Shale Institute at UB in order to preserve research integrity and protect the university’s reputation.
UB CLEAR (or the Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research) is calling on the Shale Institute at the University of Buffalo to be more open about what goes on behind its closed doors. They have created a petition for this endeavor.
“Background: On April 5, 2012, the University at Buffalo administration announced the UB Shale Resources and Society Institute. On May 15, an official UB press release accompanied its first publication: “Environmental Impacts During Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling: Causes, Impacts and Remedies.”
The Institute’s first report is fatally compromised. It was announced as peer-reviewed when it wasn’t. Its authors failed to reveal in the report their financial connections to the gas industry. And the report itself is riddled with procedural flaws and errors of fact, as detailed in a report by the non-profit Public Accountabilty Initiative.
The ensuing controversy includes a widely-distributed Associated Press story, an article in the June 11th New York Times, and another in The Buffalo News on June 29. It has damaged UB’s hard-won reputation and credibility.
The Institute’s formation violates UB procedures for creating centers and institutes. Its funding sources and plans are obscure.
In response, a group of SUNY faculty, alums, students, and other citizens have established the UB Coalition for Leading Ethically in Academic Research (UB CLEAR).
UB CLEAR calls on the UB Administration to take the following initiatives to prevent further damage and regain public trust in the university:
Time Out – Suspend all funding, publications, and other operations of the Institute.
Be Clear – Reveal all documents bearing on the formation of the Institute, its staffing, its governance and oversight, and its funding. Explain how and why the Institute’s first report came to be described publicly as “peer reviewed” and associated with the University itself and not just its authors. Adopt a goal of genuine, active transparency, not just the minimum required by law.
Investigate – Establish a genuinely independent body, outside UB and the oil and gas industry, to investigate the Institute’s formation and its relations to industry and other donors.
Discuss – Hold a forum in which all interested UB and other community members can raise their concerns about the Institute, receive candid answers, and offer advice.
Please Endorse a Petition to support the UB CLEAR initiatives.
UB CLEAR seeks endorsement of the above initiatives, not only by the local university community, but also by all people who expect integrity in academic research and are concerned about the university’s reputation. Academic research, which may influence public policy, should be held to the highest standards of ethics and must not be beholden to outside special interests. New Yorkers deserve transparency from their State University at Buffalo.
Please pass the Petition on to others. Thank you!”
- David Kowalski (Re-Energize Buffalo)
For more information, please contact Professor Jim Holstun at 884-0895 or email@example.com.