Research Independence and Integrity

Research Independence and Integrity

The mission of The Heritage Foundation is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Heritage employees pursue this mission by performing timely, accurate research on key policy issues and effectively marketing these findings to the American people, members of Congress and staff, policymakers in Washington, the nation’s news media, and the academic, legal, and policy communities.

Heritage’s authority rests on the quality, rigor, depth, and independent nature of our research and analysis. Heritage carefully protects this precious asset—its research independence and integrity—to ensure that our policy research is beholden to no outside party or interest. Instead, as it has for nearly 50 years, Heritage unwaveringly represents the interests of the American people based solely on our mission and related True North principles.

This concern for research independence and integrity is built into our organizational structure.  Heritage prides itself on being the nation’s most broadly supported public policy research institute, with more than a half-million members. That broad base of members guarantees that no donor or group of donors has the ability to direct the views or activities of Heritage. 

When seeking funding, Heritage consistently describes for potential donors the plans and priorities we intend to pursue and ask for their financial support for them. Heritage does not engage in contract research. On those occasions when a potential donor specifies conditions or uses for their donation which are inconsistent with our mission, principles, and priorities, Heritage respectfully declines the donation in order to maintain our research independence and integrity. Heritage is not for sale.

Funding proposals to corporations include a statement that corporate gifts are accepted by Heritage only to fund work consistent with our mission, principles, and priorities. Funding proposals to, and gifts received from, corporations are reviewed by the Vice President of Development, in consultation with the President and Executive Vice President as appropriate, to ensure they provide support only for the established priorities of Heritage and pose no conflict of interest. If no conflict exists, corporate gifts are accepted and Heritage responds with an Acceptance Statement that reiterates the funds will only be used to advance the mission, principles, and priorities of The Heritage Foundation. 

Heritage takes no money from government entities, whether federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign, for any research activity or any other purpose.

All Heritage research publications go through a rigorous, multilayer review process prior to publication to ensure the research quality and integrity of the underlying work. It is our mission and long-standing principles alone that guide our research.

All Heritage employees certify in writing, in an offer letter signing statement, that they understand and wholeheartedly support the Heritage mission and will devote their working hours solely to pursuing it. Also, all Heritage employees agree in writing, as a condition of employment, to avoid outside activities, of any kind, which would create a conflict with Heritage interests, reflect negatively upon the reputation of Heritage, or harm the independence and integrity of our work. Heritage takes whatever action is necessary to resolve any such conflict, up to and including discharge of the offending employee.

By upholding these commitments, The Heritage Foundation will maintain its absolute research independence and integrity as we build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.