Statement on academic freedom

BISA considers academic freedom to be central to the scholarly work of its members and of the broader scientific community. It is essential that individuals and institutions are free to undertake research and teaching without fear of discrimination, censorship, or other restrictions that would prevent them from undertaking their work. To that end, BISA endorses the Statement on Academic Freedom issued by the Royal Society, which is underpinned by the academic protections outlined in the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation. This defines academic freedom as:

‘The right, without prescription by prescribed doctrine, to freedom of teaching and discussions, freedom in carrying out research, and disseminating and publishing the results thereof, freedom to express freely their opinion of the institution in which they work, freedom from institutional censorship, and freedom to participate in professional or representative academic bodies.’

Specifically, BISA shares the position of the Royal Society that academic freedom is the freedom to:

  • Teach and debate ideas
  • Carry out research and publish and communicate results and findings
  • Express opinions about the academic system or institution where they work
  • Be free from institutional censorship
  • Join and participate in professional/representative academic bodies.

BISA also recognises that academic freedom comes with responsibilities to practice research ethically, with integrity, and in accordance with professional standards and codes, government laws and regulations relating to research ethics.

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