liability insurance?

Someone asked me about liability insurance on research. The person is concerned about the risk of being sued for libel for research that makes a company look bad. The research is based entirely on publicly-available materials and truth would be the ultimate defense, but the company has a history of suing activists as a strategy for responding to protests about their actions and a lawsuit can destroy you, even if you ultimately win. A collaborator on the project is a lawyer, which I suppose is partly why the subject came up.

I’d never heard of such a thing. Turns out you can purchase such a liability policy. Educator policies protecting you against the risk of litigation by students and policies for clinical psychologists protecting both their treatment and research show up readily in Internet searches. You can find a few blog posts out there about how to protect yourself against libel suits when you study people or organizations.

So, does anybody else out there know about this? Is this a coming thing? Or is it a scam?


  1. Posted July 27, 2013 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Usually one’s university indemnifies you. Not helpful if you don’t
    work for a college or university.


  2. Posted July 27, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Yes, told her that, told her to call university legal. But I don’t know whether they indemnify grad students.

    And then there is the question of how far your own school will go in backing you. What surprised me is to find the private market, whose ads include statements like “we’ll act for you from the first day and back you if your institution does not do enough,” implying that this is an issue.



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