September 23, 2010

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Disclosure Statement


Disclosure Statement v1

September 2010

I offer this disclosure statement in order to be clear about my significant professional affiliations and financial engagements, and the principles behind how I choose to fund and pursue my work. This is not intended as a comprehensive disclosure of all past and present affiliations and personal relationships tied to my work, but is rather a map of the influences that I feel have a material influence on my current professional obligations.

My primary professional identity is as an academic researcher, writer, and speaker. Unlike most university professors, my work has been funded primarily by grants, and secondarily by commercial consulting, investments, and speaking engagements. I do not make my living off of teaching and university administration, but rather as a full time researcher funded by "soft money" grants. I have never held a traditional faculty appointment or a tenure-track or tenured "permanent" faculty position. This has meant that my work is limited to the kinds of agendas that can be funded by external sources or that has relevance to diverse stakeholders who want to hear me speak or hire me for consulting. On the other hand, this has also meant that I have had the freedom to pursue and publish work that is not tied to the accountabilities of getting tenure and promotions within established fields and academic assessments.

My current institutional affiliations are:

Grants and research funding

My current research is funded primarily by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of their Digital Media and Learning (DML) Initiative. In addition, I hold the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Chair in Digital Media and Learning at UC Irvine which provides additional financial support for my work independent of specific funded projects. I am highly committed to the success of the DML initiative and its aims of transforming public education to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by today's networked and digital technology. I have no qualms about being highly aligned, invested and well-supported by this private foundation because the goals of the initiative are overwhelmingly in the public interest independent of my own professional and personal gain. The foundation has never dictated the content of my talks or publications, and I have had significant input into the research and directions that the initiative has taken.

In addition to the funding from the MacArthur Foundation, I currently have a research grant from the National Science Foundation Cyberlearning program.

Past sources of research funding include (in alphabetical order):

  • Abe Fellowship Program at the Social Science Research Council
  • Annenberg Center at the University of Southern California (now defunct)
  • Association for Asian Studies Northeast Asia Council- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • Google University Relations
  • Intel Research
  • Mellon Foundation- National Science Foundation
  • NTT DoCoMo
  • Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Society
  • Spencer Foundation
  • Reischauer Institute
  • Vodaphone Group Foundation

Whether from governmental, corporate, or philanthropic sources, all of these grants and fellowships have supported research where I have had control of the research agenda and intellectual property. The funding entities have had influence to the degree that they are able to select and in some cases shape the proposed research agenda, but they have not had any rights to review or influence the outcomes or publications resulting from the research.

Commercial engagements

In addition to research funding, I also do commercial consulting and speaking engagements. My commercial speaking engagements are handled by the Leigh Bureau. give my time freely to many academic and public sector groups, but I believe that commercial entities should provide appropriate compensation for scholarly consulting and speaking. I also do not engage in commercial speaking and consulting activity that involves making any of my primary and grant-funded research proprietary to a commercial entity (with the exception of publishers). In other words, I do not believe in transferring philanthropically or government funded intellectual property to private commercial entities, and almost all my commercial engagements are one-time or very short term in nature. I do not feel that any of my commercial engagements influence whether I will speak out for or against a particular company or product. If I do feel like there is an influence, I will note this in at the time of speaking or publication.

This web site and publications

This is a personal web site that is not affiliated with the academic institutions or funding agencies that I am currently or formerly affiliated with. I blog infrequently, and primarily about my own professional activities. Occasionally I will blog or tweet to promote the activities or publications of others who I want to support personally or professionally. When I am promoting an entity that I have a direct financial interest in or that I support financially I will note this fact. In my publications, I note the funding sources for the work in the acknowledgments section.

Other affiliations

I also sit on a number of editorial and advisory boards:

Family and friends

I am blessed to have close family and friends who share my professional interests and vision of social change. In particular, my brother, Joi Ito, and husband, Scott Fisher, work in closely allied areas, and we on occasion engage in shared projects and events when there is a principled reason to do so. I fully acknowledge that these and other personal relationships have been hugely enabling of my work and provide indispensable support and motivation to keep me going. At the same time, I am highly committed to professional standards of research integrity that insist that my analysis and findings are independent of these personal relationships.

Posted by Mizuko Ito at September 23, 2010 4:37 PM

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