Norway: Statutory regulation on academic freedom

A commission established by the Norwegian Ministry of Education recommends a statutory regulation regarding academic freedom, a new report shows.
The commission was given the mandate to examine whether a legislative regulation is useful to the individual researcher, and whether this can be done in accordance with accepted norms and practices. The commission defines academic freedom as the freedom to question established knowledge and understanding, the freedom to decide what material and which methods to use in the search for answers, and the freedom to publish hypotheses, results and arguments.

In the conclusion the commission recommends a reformulation of the Act relating to universities and university colleges, which would clarify the principle and provide a firmer legal foundation:
  • Universities and university colleges will have a duty to promote and defend academic freedom, which includes a duty to ensure that academic activities are carried out in accordance with accepted ethical principles
  • The current provisions concerning institutional academic autonomy remain in place
  • The rights and duties of individual staff members (researchers and teachers) are codified.
English summary of the report (pdf) at the web pages of the Ministry of Education.

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