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Academic freedom

Intellectual freedom is a fundamental prerequisite for all truth-seeking business and for all artistic creation, and it is important for safeguarding and strengthening democracy. Academic freedom must therefore be a normative right for anyone involved in research.

Ensuring academic freedom in practice presumes that both the institution and the individual employees are given the conditions and freedom of action to be able to fulfil their social responsibilities in a manner that ensures quality and legitimacy.

However, several impulses and trends are putting academic freedom under renewed pressure: the increasing emphasis on utility values, strategic specialisation and external funding, the disappearance of collegiate bodies, the growing number of scientific personnel employed in temporary positions, changes in public administration’s use of research and several cases involving distrust in and misuse of research.

The undermining of academic freedom not only compromises the quality of research, but also weakens informed and critical societal debate and confidence in research-based knowledge. Consequently, the Norwegian Association of Researchers believes it is important that these challenges are highlighted and that dilemmas and areas of particular concern are singled out for discussion. 

NAR will strive to ensure that:

  • The government and the political parties respect the independence of research, and strive for an enlightened, knowledge-based public debate.
  • The legally-mandated academic freedom is observed in practice in the higher education sector.
  • Research institutes, health trusts and the archive, library and museum sector incorporate the principle of academic freedom in their regulations and planning documents.
  • Research institutes with governmental basic funding comply with the intentions regarding academic freedom in the Research Council’s guidelines.
  • All research projects must be based on contracts that safeguard the academic freedom of researchers and their right and duty to publish their findings.
  • Academic staff shall be free to choose publication channel.

The Norwegian Association of Researchers: Work program 2019–2021

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