BP has signed prominent American scientists to lucrative research contracts that come with non-disclosure agreements, according to Press-Register.
Professors at Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M have agreed to work for BP at $205 an hour. The rules of academia say these professors are allowed to work as outside consultants for up to eight hours per week.
Science departments that refused to sign non-disclosure agreements were not hired.
“We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn’t be hearing from them again after that,” said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. “We didn’t like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion.”
BP officials declined to answer the newspaper’s questions about the matter. Among the questions: how many scientists and universities have been approached, how many are under contract, how much will they be paid, and why the company imposed confidentiality restrictions on scientific data gathered on its behalf.
Shipp said he can’t prohibit scientists in his department from signing on with BP because, like most universities, the staff is allowed to do outside consultation for up to eight hours a week.
When everyone goes to court this fall, lets hope the government has picked a few scientists for the other side.
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