John Willinsky: Sci-Hub: research piracy and the public good

It looks like the scholarly publishing community has been hit by its own version of Napster. Over the past year, some 47 million research articles have been made freely available through a site called Sci-Hub. The publishing giant Elsevier, aghast at finding many of its articles being given away, wasted little time in suing the site in federal court for irreparable damages and copyright infringement “of up to $150,000… Read more

What impact would Catalan independence have on universities?

In September 2013, Antonio Cabrales, then professor of economics at Carlos III University of Madrid, left the country, citing Spain’s stagnant university system. Two and a half years into his post as professor of economics at University College London (UCL), he told me that he stands by his decision, claiming that Spain’s “fiscal situation does not look like it is going to get any better any time soon”. Many… Read more

University of Houston staff advised over new Texas gun law

State’s new campus concealed carry law leads to warnings for academics on handling students who may have guns. Faculty members opposed to Texas’s new campus concealed carry law have argued that it will chill academic freedom and free speech. A set of recommendations from the University of Houston’s Faculty Senate on how to teach under campus carry is the new exhibit A in the case against the law for those… Read more

Sean Phelan: The corporate university and its threat to academic freedom

Neoliberalism has facilitated the emergence of the ‘corporate’ university, which dangerously prioritises market rationality and public relations over academic freedom. The principle of academic freedom is increasingly regarded with institutional indifference, if not contempt, across the world. One recent example was the revelation that New Zealand Police effectively tried to censor the gang… Read more

Academic Stress at it’s Worst: Grimm’s Tale

I should be marking. I should be reading a colleague’s book. I should be writing next week’s lectures. I should be replying to student and colleague e-mails. I should be researching that chapter and doing that review. I should be chasing grant funding, organising guest speakers, reading committee minutes, doing some union casework, attending meetings and organising those conferences, doing that administration… Read more

Journalism, History and Forgetting: Why is our Past a Foreign Country?

Journalists don’t just write the first draft of history, as the cliché has it, but – for better or worse – the second. It’s journalism that tells us which bits of our history we are supposed to remember and which we should forget. This year, journalism will remind us, yet again, that the most important thing for New Zealand (and Australia) to remember is an otherwise obscure World War I battle fought half a world… Read more

What Maori Scholars need to know about Steven Salaita

In the US academic world, there is a system called ‘tenure’ which essentially means you have your job for life. After five or so years in a ‘tenure track job,’ you provide a whole lot of evidence that you have been doing what you’re meant to be doing (in research, teaching, and service) and then your application floats up through the food chain at your university – and goes out to a… Read more