Psst! Want to make an easy 200 bucks? If you are a university professor specializing in business, math or computer science and are about to present your research paper at an academic conference, Microsoft will slip you a check for $200 to cover "travel costs." All you have to do is mention how Microsoft programs helped you in your work. The offer is part of a promotional program called "The Academic Cooperative," which maintains its own web site on the Internet. The web site, which runs on the Idaho State University server, makes no overt mention of Microsoft, but the education-oriented promotional material for the company makes the connection clear.
While some scholars object -- Sheldon Krimsky, a professor at Tufts University who has been looking into corporate influence on scholarly journals, calls it "crass" -- Microsoft contends that it is merely trying to be helpful. So far, only a handful of professors have taken the offer.