Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2022
In recent years, industry-funded research has come under fire because of concerns that it can be biased in favor of the funders. This article suggests that efforts by philosophers of science to analyze the concept of objectivity can provide important lessons for those seeking to evaluate and improve industry-funded research. It identifies three particularly relevant criteria for objectivity: transparency, reproducibility, and effective criticism. On closer examination, the criteria of transparency and reproducibility turn out to have significant limitations in this context, but the criterion of effective criticism suggests some important strategies for improving the objectivity of industry-funded science.
I am grateful for the helpful feedback provided by my fellow speakers and the attendees at the Getting Down to Business: Problems and Solutions for Industry-Funded Research symposium at the 2016 PSA meeting. I am also indebted to Marlene Ågerstrand and Iain Kelly for valuable input that strengthened the article.