Josef Korbel School of International Studies - Ethics of Engagement

Anonymous Advice on the Ethics of Engagement

Thomas Schelling testifies before Congress in October, 1969

Academics engaging with policymakers and policy processes is often viewed as beneficial, producing more informed policy outcomes and broadening the impact of scholarship. Yet engagement can give rise also to ethical questions that scholars are neither trained to address nor navigate—and may be afraid to ask about in an open forum.

The Anonymous Advice on Responsible Engagement platform digitally convenes a wide-ranging panel of experienced policy-engaged scholars from the field of international relations to respond to anonymous questions about academic-policy engagement.

This interactive resource is meant to provide candid advice and build a knowledge base to assist academics in interacting responsibly and constructively with governmental and nongovernmental policy actors at all stages of research, from developing policy-relevant questions to disseminating findings to policy audiences.

How It Works


Anonymously submit a question related to academics’ participation in policy-oriented research or policy discussions and formulation.

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A panel of experienced, policy-engaged scholars will respond to questions, creating opportunities for frank, anonymous exchange and mentorship.

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Responses will be collated and returned to the anonymous questioner. At no point will the questioner be identified with a particular question.

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If the questioner elects, question and the responses may be anonymized and made public on the website so that others can learn from the exchange.

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public questions

Public Questions and Answers

Question summary:

Proper disclosure vs. taking credit for behind-the-scenes policy advice

Question summary:

Misuse of research by violent actors

Question summary:

Is there an ethical issue involved in looking at the pandemic as a research opportunity?

Question summary:

Engagement with Trump Administration

Question summary:

How much do I need to know to engage media