The risks of improper foreign influence on academic research have become a topic of growing concern in many parts of the world. Much of this concern has focused on efforts by China to restrict the freedom of expression of academics and students abroad as well as at home, or to obtain access to research findings.
Anxiety about the role of China is very well-founded, but this issue clearly goes further than any one country. Many national governments or overseas interest groups seek in one way or another to exert their influence on research being carried out beyond the boundaries of their own nation. Meanwhile, huge budgetary challenges and a rapidly changing educational environment are making universities increasingly vulnerable to multiple forms of outside influence. Drawing on recent examples from Asian Studies, this presentation will highlight some of those vulnerabilities, and pose the question: what can we do to strengthen academic integrity in an age of rising international conflicts, financial pressures on universities, and the international dissemination of fake news.