Corporations are swallowing up America’s professors

Professors are leaving universities for corporations in droves, and public knowledge could be the biggest victim.


April 23, 2019

In 2008, Steve Jobs created Apple University, an institution designed to help solve business problems and offer employees training primarily available at prestigious universities.

Instead, it helped ignite the trend of academics jumping from open universities to closed-off corporate backdrops. They’re leaving in droves, and it could soon be a major hit to public knowledge.

Apple’s not the only corporation that’s hot for Ph.D.ers

Pacific Science reported that more than half of university-hired scientists left academia within 5 years in the 2010s (it took 35 years for the same percentage to leave in the 1960s).

Amazon is the largest employer of Ph.D. tech economists (150+). But Google, Facebook, Uber, and dozens of others are enticing professors to ditch brain-growth (and $113k/year salaries) to focus on in-house IP growth. 

O corporate! My corporate!

Obviously there are benefits to working at private companies (cough cough, more funding). But some argue this trend is causing a rift in the public/corporate-knowledge continuum by holding knowledge hostage in the spirit of corporate interests.

Of course, most academic papers are paywalled anyway…

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