[ASC-list] academic dissent motions

Charles Willock charlesw at cse.unsw.EDU.AU
Sun Jun 13 19:06:57 UTC 2010

A contributor to the Forensic Linguistics List has just mailed
the following items which may also be of interest to ASC members.

The full list of resolutions of the University and College Union
Higher Education Sector Conference (31 May) can be found at:


These two refer to the abuse of libel laws to silence academic
discussion and dissent (eg recent Simon Singh / British Chiropractic
Association case and the Eriksson-Lacerda / Nemesysco defamation
issue), and the influence on career promotion by a private company.


Some links to the Eriksson-Lacerda paper since that might be
less well known on this list:

"Charlatantry in forensic speech science"


HE34 Research, academic freedom and reform of the libel laws -  
     Northumbria University

Conference is extremely concerned at the way that UK libel laws
can be used to stifle genuine enquiry and criticism, and gives
the power to shut down valid comment to those who can outspend
their critics. Conference notes that recent examples of this
behaviour include the libel proceedings involving scientists
giving expert opinion on the efficacy of specific treatments. 
Conference pledges support to the Libel Reform Campaign, endorses
its petition statement, and urges the government to reform UK
libel laws to restore the balance between free speech and the
protection of reputation.


HE35 Thomson Reuters control over the academic press - 

Conference notes:

   1. that appointment, review and promotions decisions in
      universities are increasingly governed by citation counts.

   2. that the most widely used citation counts are those based 
      upon Thomson Reuters owned Web of Science and thus
      researchers are coerced to publish in those journals
      included in the Web of Science.

   3. that the criteria for inclusion in Web of Science are not 
      public, nor are the membership of advisory panels
      published, nor are the processes publicly audited.

Conference expresses it deep concern that the careers of UK
university staff are in the control of a private company.

Conference instructs the HEC to call for independent public
scrutiny of the selection process for Web of Science and similar
resources to ensure that all approaches to academic research are
given equal treatment.


      "Creativity and innovation are measured not by what is done, 
           but by what could have been done ... but wasn't"

Disclaimer: http://www.eng.unsw.edu.au/emaildis.htm
Charles Willock                                 charlesw at cse.unsw.edu.au
c/- School of Computer Science and Engineering       
University of New South Wales,                  
New South Wales  Australia  2052    http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~charlesw

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