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I sometimes read in papers that the opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the [funding agency name] in the acknowledgments section. E.g. in this paper:

Stanford University gratefully acknowledges the support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Deep Exploration and Filtering of Text (DEFT) Program under Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract no. FA8750-13-2-0040 and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract no. FA8650- 10-C-7020. Any opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the DARPA, AFRL, or the US government

Is it necessary to mention this? If the authors omit such statements, does this mean that the opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in the paper do reflect the view of the funding agency?

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It depends on the grant that you receive to do your work. Most if not all grants require you to acknowledge the granting agency. Some grants give you very specific language that you must use in your acknowledgement (ranging from the request to include the grant number and use the full name of the agency to very pedantic requests for particular wording).

And some grants do require you to specifically disclaim the granting agency from your conclusions and opinions. For example, NSF requires the following:

An acknowledgment of NSF support and a disclaimer must appear in publications (including Web pages) of any material, whether copyrighted or not, based on or developed under NSF-supported projects:

“This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (grantee must enter NSF grant number).”

NSF support also must be orally acknowledged during all news media interviews, including popular media such as radio, television and news magazines.

Except for articles or papers published in scientific, technical or professional journals, the following disclaimer must be included:

“Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.”

The NSF example is interesting because you don't need the disclaimer for academic journals -- presumably because the readers aren't presumed to be idiots.

In any case, this is all part of the grant letter that you receive when you get a grant -- and part of the contract you sign when you agree to receive their money. There may be other terms inside the grant contract that are not visible (rights of first refusal in licensing technology, etc.) but by their very nature, acknowledgements are the most visible.

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  • Perhaps "aren't presumed to be idiots" could be strengthened to "are presumed not to be idiots." Sep 14, 2014 at 4:21
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    The current wording seems to imply that readers in other channels are presumed to be idiots. Could be just me. Sep 14, 2014 at 8:39
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    That was my intent. Disclaimers are infantalizing.
    – RoboKaren
    Sep 14, 2014 at 13:38
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Is it necessary to mention this?

If research is funded by a "DoD component" (as in your example), then typically any conference or journal publication stemming from the research

  1. must be cleared for public release,
  2. must carry an appropriate distribution statement, and
  3. must carry a disclaimer similar to the one in your example (e.g. "Any opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of ...").

In practice, it is sometimes sufficient to satisfy items 1 and 3 above.

If the authors omit such statements, does this mean that the opinions, findings, and conclusion or recommendations expressed in the paper do reflect the view of the funding agency?

Again, in the case of articles stemming from DoD component research funds: No.

Manuscripts must first be submitted to the appropriate reviewing "center" for the particular DoD component funding body (such as the Public Release Center in the case of DARPA, etc.) to be reviewed for compliance.

If the article does not contain the appropriate distribution statement and/or the required disclaimer, the reviewing center rejects the manuscript (it is not cleared for submission to a journal or conference), and the author must include the appropriate distribution statement and/or disclaimer before then resubmitting for clearance.

The trivial contradiction to my answer includes those cases where authors are required to obtain clearance prior to publication, but don't do it for some reason (e.g. they forget to submit the paper for clearance). I'm not sure what happens to these authors, and I don't want to find out the hard way.


Edit: While my answer specifically addresses DoD funding per OP's example, as an author, it is important to follow the guidelines put forth by each particular funding body with respect to disclaimers, etc.

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  • Only DoD funded? How about other government and non-government organizations?
    – Nobody
    Sep 13, 2014 at 5:09
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    @scaaahu: Yes, it's pretty much only DoD. NIH, DOE, and NSF have no such rules, and most of the other agencies that fund research probably don't even allow publication in the first place (or at the very least probably don't allow acknowledgment of their funding!).
    – aeismail
    Sep 13, 2014 at 7:45

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