The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. For nearly 100 years, Brookings has analyzed current and emerging issues and produced new ideas that matter—for the nation and the world.
Brookings scholars provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis on important public policy issues.
Research at the Brookings Institution is conducted to inform the public debate, not to advance a political agenda. Brookings scholars are drawn from the United States and abroad—with experience in government and academia—and hold diverse points of view. Brookings's goal is to provide high-quality, fact-based analysis for opinion leaders, decision makers, academics, the media, and the interested public on the full range of challenges facing an increasingly interdependent world.
Brookings is financed through the support of a diverse array of philanthropic foundations, corporations, governments, and individuals, as well as an endowment. The Institution's funds are devoted to carrying out its research and educational activities. These funding sources are listed in the Institution's Annual Reports.
Brookings scholars regularly provide reporters with commentary, analysis, and background information; appear on television and radio programs; testify before Congress; and brief policymakers and their staffs on important issues of the day. The views of staff and guests of Brookings are their own and should not be attributed to the Brookings Institution, its Trustees, or its officers. The Brookings Institution does not take positions on any policy issue.
The titles of Senior Fellow and Fellow refer to permanent Brookings staff members in Economic Studies, Foreign Policy, Global Economy and Development, Governance Studies, and the Metropolitan Policy Program. Some scholars who are spending a limited period in residence to work on a Brookings project may be designated as Visiting Fellows, Guest Scholars, or something similar. The titles "Non-Resident Senior Fellow" and "Non-Resident Fellow" refer to individuals who are not Brookings employees and, as the title implies, have another primary employer or organizational affiliation. The title is an honorific. Non-Resident Senior Fellows and Non-Resident Fellows are prohibited from using their Brookings honorific when testifying before Congress or any similar body.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the general supervision of Brookings, approval of its areas of investigation, and for safeguarding the independence of its work. The Institution's president is its chief executive officer, and is responsible for formulating and setting policies, recommending projects, and selecting staff.
The independence, professional integrity, and objectivity of Brookings research are among the Institution's principal assets. These qualities are ensured by maintaining the highest standards with regard to the public statements and activities of Brookings staff, as well as to the policies and practices governing acceptance of funds. The following summarizes certain key policies that guide the Institution. If you have questions with respect to any Brookings policy or procedure or, if you are affiliated with Brookings and desire copies of the policies summarized below, contact the Office of Communications at 202-797-6105.
To protect the Brookings Institution's commitment to nonpartisanship, Brookings personnel may not use Brookings's resources—including support staff time, email accounts, computers and phones, or Brookings's premises—for political activity. Consistent with the Institution's mission, Brookings scholars may provide analysis and recommendations on matters of public policy on a nonpartisan, non-exclusive basis to public officials and candidates for public office. However, if staff members advise candidates, political campaigns, or political organizations such as political action committees or party campaign committees, in any private circumstance that constitutes or connotes exclusive support, they must do so in a personal capacity, outside regular business hours. They must make clear that they are acting as individuals and not on behalf of Brookings. They must refrain from representing or counseling candidates at public events or media appearances, and they should not use their Brookings affiliation in any public communications with, or on behalf of, a campaign or candidate. Brookings personnel must request leave without pay if they wish to serve as a surrogate or counsel candidates at public events or media appearances, or if their political activities interfere with or take time away from their Brookings obligations. Members of the Steering Committee shall not affiliate with any campaign, provide exclusive analysis to any candidate, even outside official hours, or make personal endorsements of candidates.
Conflicts of Interest
Brookings has an extensive conflict of interest policy, which all employees and affiliates—both resident and nonresident must abide by. Brookings's Conflict of Interest Policy sets forth the Institution's guidelines and procedures for identifying, resolving, or managing real, potential, or apparent conflicts of interest that may arise. The Conflict of Interest Policy describes various circumstances which could give rise to a conflict of interest or the perception of a conflict of interest. Conflict scenarios other than those described in the policy are possible. Any effort to influence the Institution's work, direct its resources or any relationship that might cause a reasonable, objective reader to question the objectivity of the Institution's work could present a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest and should be disclosed and resolved in accordance with the Policy. In addition to its main Conflict of Interest Policy, Brookings also has a Policy and Procedures on Financial Conflict of Interest in Public Health Service Funded Research. Scholars working on federally funded research from a PHS agency are also subject to the rules set forth in that document.
Brookings has adopted a Research Independence Policy that enshrines in a single document the requirement that its scholars be independent and act accordingly. Specifically, the Institution and its personnel, including all scholars, may not engage in activities—on behalf of Brookings or others—that run afoul of the IRS prohibition on a substantial part of the Institution's activity constituting attempts to influence legislation; that would require registration under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or state and local lobbying disclosure laws; or that might otherwise call into question the independence and objectivity of the Institution's research. As part of this commitment to safeguarding independence, Brookings has established a set of Donor Guidelines that govern all fundraising and donor engagement activities by resident and non-resident scholars, development officers, and other staff. Brookings will not accept gifts from donors who seek to undermine the independence of its scholars' research or otherwise to predetermine or influence recommendations. Brookings does not accept support for proprietary research.
Brookings scholars and other personnel must not permit the interests of any third party—whether a political party, government (foreign or domestic), donor, or non-governmental organization—to adversely affect their methods or conclusions. Brookings scholars may seek input from a number of interested stakeholders but they ultimately have the final word on their research and other activities. If a scholar believes he or she is being inappropriately pressured regarding the analysis, conclusions, or output of a research product or other activities, he or she should inform his or her program Vice President, the Institution's Executive Vice President, or any other member of the Management Team (the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Relations, the Vice President for Communications, the Vice President and COO, the Vice President and CFO and Treasurer, or the Vice President and General Counsel). When engaging in scholarly activities on behalf of Brookings, Brookings scholars must not act as representatives, lobbyists, advocates, or agents of any third party. This must remain the case regardless of the extent to which a scholar's views coincide with those of a third party.
Policy on Integrity of Research
The Brookings Institution's Policy on Integrity of Research establishes Brookings's commitment to independent, non-partisan research and publication, and to maintaining the highest integrity in pursuit of its mission. It also sets forth procedures the Institution has implemented toward achievement of this goal. The Policy prohibits research misconduct, which is defined as intentional or knowing fabrication, misrepresentation, or plagiarism in proposing, performing, reviewing research, or in reporting research results. Research misconduct does not include honest errors and/or differences of opinion. Research misconduct also includes failure to comply with requirements for the protection of human and/or animal research subjects.
An individual should report observed or suspected research misconduct to any one or more of the following officers:
- Executive Vice President of the Institution;
- Vice President and General Counsel;
- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer;
- Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; or
- Any research Vice President.
In addition, an individual may report research misconduct using the procedures set forth in the Institution's Whistleblower Policy. The Institution's Whistleblower Policy includes two mechanisms for reporting allegations anonymously:
Anti-Bribery and Compliance with Laws
Brookings is committed to conducting business legally and ethically. Toward this end, Brookings will conduct every international business transaction with integrity and will comply with the laws and regulations of the United States, particularly the provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"), the anti-boycott laws, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control's ("OFAC") country embargoes. Additionally, Brookings will comply with the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 ("UKBA"). Brookings will also comply with the laws and regulations of each foreign country in which it operates. In brief, Brookings's policy is that all employees, affiliates, and contractors are prohibited from giving or offering to give anything of value to anyone to influence the individual to obtain an improper advantage. Moreover, all employees, affiliates, and contractors are prohibited from receiving anything of value if there is apparent intent to influence for an improper advantage. Additionally, Brookings employees, affiliates, and contractors may not provide anything of value to any person if the Brookings employee, affiliate, or contractor knows or believes that there is a significant risk the recipient will give some or all of the payment or gift to someone to influence for an improper advantage.
Anti-Terrorism Due Diligence.
Brookings has an Anti-Terrorism Due Diligence Policy to reduce the risk of inadvertently engaging in transactions with prohibited individuals or organizations. The policy requires Brookings personnel to cross-check and verify the identity of donors, applicants for employment, and individuals and entities with whom the Institution transacts business. The policy requires Brookings to undertake due diligence according to the procedure delineated in the policy and to document the fact that they have done so.
The brief summaries provided above do not constitute the full text of the Institution's policies on these issues nor is every policy of the Institution summarized on this page. Brookings retains the right to revise, replace, or supplement its policies. While Brookings will make an effort to update this page, it is not obligated to do so. If you have questions about any policy or procedure or if you are affiliated with Brookings and desire copies of any policy summarized on this page or any other Brookings policy to which you are entitled, please contact the Office of Communications at 202-797-6105.
(last updated: October 2015)