Earlier this week, the New York Times published a piece on foreign funding of US think tanks. The article by now will be familiar to most people interested in think tanks in the US, but not to all of our readers in other places. (To be clear, we were not involved with it.) We thus wanted to highlight key pieces on this debate. The ongoing discussion complements earlier debates, which we have summarized in four documents.
In a first post, we will highlight key contributions. Subsequently, we will also publish a more detailed comment.
The item by the New York Times is here.
There are two more detailed responses, that we recommend to any reader. David Roodman describes his take, as a former think tank researcher. Enrique Mendizabal provides a detailed discussion, putting the discussion in broader context. (Routine disclosure: Transparify is part of the OnThinkTanks Labs, a group of policy research ventures.)
Think Tank Watch keeps a roster of responses, that are updated regularly, here.
Among think tank responses, the ones we have seen at this point include
- response by Strobe Talbott, the President of the Brookings Institution.
- official statement by the Brookings Institution.
- statement by the Center for Global Development.
We welcome the debate. In the discussion, people have disagreed what to make of the article. Where we see agreement, hopefully, is that we need more transparency. In the past this has often been seen as a side issue. The debate illustrates that transparency demonstrates confidence in the integrity of one's research. It is central to the credibility of think tanks.
More to follow.