Transparency and accountability principles

Last Update: 2014-03-17

The Nexa Center for Internet & Society is an independent research center belonging to the Politecnico di Torino, an Italian public university that subscribes to the European Charter for Researchers and corresponding obligations. While the reputation of the Nexa Center ultimately rests on the quality, consistency and integrity of its actions over the course of time, the Nexa Center also adopts several ex ante rules to support the independence of the center both in substance as well as in external perception. In this regard, the issue of funding is particularly sensitive. As a general principle, the Nexa Center does not accept funding that may limit the ability of the center to carry out independent and unbiased research. The Center strives to ensure that its funding comes from a range of entities, including public sector bodies, foundations, the private sector and individuals, to minimize the dependency from any specific actor (or category of actors). Since funding provided by for-profit entities is particularly sensitive, during each reporting period, the Nexa Center is committed to follow accountability and transparency guidelines concerning funding coming from for-profit sources. Such guidelines are formalised as follows:

  1. The existence and the nature of all funding over €1,000 will be published on the website of the Nexa Center and regularly updated [1]. Each year, the Nexa Center will also publish on its website the public version of its Annual Report, containing the same information.
  2. In a given year, and as a matter of principle, funding coming from any single for-profit entity should not exceed 15% of the budget of the Center in that year. This threshold will be reexamined at each annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, according to the general principle that, if the Center budget increases, this threshold will be proportionally reduced.
  3. The overall contribution coming from for-profit entities should in principle not exceed 1/3 of the overall budget of the Center in that year.
  4. If the aforementioned thresholds are to be exceeded, the case will be brought to the attention of the Board of Trustees which will issue a binding recommendation to be included in the Annual Report.
  5. In any case, the relationship with for-profit funders will explicitly provide that the Nexa Center accepts to undertake a certain research activity based only on the scientific method and without being constrained by any previous indication or directive from the funder (e.g., in terms of expected deliverables and research products, apart from agreeing on the definition of the field of research and organizational details).
  6. Consultancy and similar activities involving more specific directives from a third party, if undertaken, will be clearly labeled as such.
  7. Any changes to these policies will be subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.



[1] Structured and yearly updated information about the funding received by the Nexa Center is available at http://github.com/nexacenter/funding