Contemporary epistemologists of education have raised concerns about the distorting effects of some of the processes and structures of contemporary academia on the epistemic practice and character of academic researchers. Such concerns have been articulated using the concept of epistemic corruption. In this article, we lend credibility to these theoretically motivated concerns using the example of the research impact agenda during the period 2012–2014. Interview data from UK and Australian academics confirm that the impact agenda system, at its inception, facilitated the development and exercise of epistemic vices. As well as vindicating theoretically motivated claims about epistemic corruption, inclusion of empirical methods and material can help us put the concept to work in ongoing critical scrutiny of evolving forms of the research impact agenda.