‘Debate: Academics should collaborate with the technology industry, but not in lieu of noncollaborative research’
Open Access paper from our CAMH journal
Abstract – Academic research collaborations with the technology industry should be complementary to and, importantly, must not replace noncollaborative research that is independent from the industry (and, in particular, ‘adversarial research’ whose negative findings will likely operate against industry interests). Reflecting on the author’s own research projects concerning companies’ compliance with video game loot box regulation, he agrees with Livingstone et al.’s proposition (Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 2022, 28, 150) that research seeking to identify problems (and thereby work against the industry’s interests) should be conducted independently (p. 151), at least initially. He also echoes the sentiment expressed by Zendle and Wardle (Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 2022, 28, 155) that ‘a moratorium’ (p. 156) or a ban on industry collaborations is not a proportional response to legitimate concerns about conflict of interest stemming from the video game industry’s discretionary provision of data access. A combined approach that conducts both noncollaborative and collaborative research, but with the latter being conducted only after the former’s unbiased results are known, might prove fruitful. Academics must bear in mind that industry involvement at any particular stage of the research, or at all, is not always appropriate. Some research questions should not and cannot be answered objectively with industry involvement. Funding bodies and other stakeholders should also recognise this and not render industry collaboration compulsory.
Author: Leon Y. Xiao
First published: 02 March 2023
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