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Highlight the importance of free speech and the dangers of political censorship for your work.  How to get involved: Below you will find information on how you can promote human rights, as well as resources to assist you in taking action

 resources on academic freedom and scientific independence



The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. Its 1997 Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel sets out basic principles of academic freedom. A 1966 UNESCO/ International Labour Organization (ILO) Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers also delineates principles concerning the rights and responsibilities of educators. The Committee of Experts on the Application of the Recommendations concerning Teaching Personnel (CEART) is a joint committee of UNESCO and ILO that meets to monitor and promote the use of the above mentioned recommendations in their member States. Visit the ILO website for more information on CEART. 

Also see UNESCO's recently updated Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, which provides guidance, including on issues related to academic freedom, for research institutions, individuals, and organizations that practice, regulate, and promote science. UNESCO, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and the UNESCO Netherlands Commission have also produced a brochure that provides more information on the Recommendation. 

International Science Council 

The International Science Council (ISC) works to advance science as a global public good. The ISC website features resources on academic freedom, including its Principle of Universality of Science and Academic Freedom and its List of Provisions on Academic Freedom in National Constitutions.


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Education Under Attack 
The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack has produced a report, Education Under Attack 2018, which analyzes threats to education, including attacks on students, staff, and institutions. The report is featured on an interactive website that allows visitors to view attack statistics broken down by country and type of attack. 

Scholars at Risk

Scholars at Risk (SAR) works to protect scholars and the freedom to think, question, and share ideas. Its Academic Freedom Monitoring Project focuses on furthering understanding of attacks on higher education. Learn more  by downloading SAR's "Free to Think 2018" report and its Promoting Higher Education Values Discussion Guide.




u.s. focused resources 




Association of American Universities 

The Association of American Universities (AAU) is composed of 62 institutions in the U.S. and Canada that continually advance society through education, research, and discovery. It has published a statement on its commitment to free speech on campuses and produced a document, Principles and Guidelines for Establishing Joint Academic Programs and Campuses Abroad, which includes recommendations for preserving academic freedom when universities engage with foreign partners.  The AAU has also adopted this statement on academic principles, which sets forth three main principles (institutional autonomy, academic freedom, and shared governance) that have strongly contributed to the quality of American universities.


American Association of University Professors 

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) aims to advance academic freedom and define standards for higher education. Its website features AAUP's 1940 statement on academic freedom, a 2007 presentation on academic freedom and the first amendment, summaries of legal cases affecting academic speech, and yearly roundups of legal decisions impacting academic life. AAUP's website also features a "Resources on Academic Freedom" page that includes policy statements, webinars, and other information. 

Scholars experiencing academic freedom problems on campus can email:

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Union of Concerned Scientists 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has produced many resources concerning restrictions on scientific communication, including a webinar on combating scientific harassment, a brochure on how scientists can respond to criticism and personal attacks, and a brochure on how federal scientists can protect science for the public good.

The UCS Science Protection Project addresses situations of inappropriate political influence on science, such as the use of censorship and the misuse of open records laws, such as the Freedom of Information Act, to attack the work of scientists. Visit its website for details about how to securely share information with UCS


Climate Science Legal Defense Fund

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund (CSLDF) provides support and resources to scientists who are threatened, harassed, or attacked as a result of their work. It has produced a "Pocket Guide for Scientists" on handling political harassment. 

The Climate Science Legal Defense Fund provides free and confidential legal counseling and legal representation to scientists under fire. For assistance or more information, fill out its online submission form or contact


National Coalition Against Censorship

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)  promotes freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression and opposes  censorship in all of its forms. The NCAC website includes a Science and Censorship section that depicts the various ways in which scientific research can be censored. Its website also features a Science Archive that features resources and reports on specific incidents of scientific censorship. 


Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a non-partisan public interest group dedicated to whistleblower protection. GAP has produced a guide to whistleblowing for federal employees and has a section of its website that details how it supports science whistleblowers.

To request assistance, fill out GAP's intake form or call (202) 457-0034.



Rights Reference Materials
(for individuals living in the United States)

  The work of scientists, engineers, and health professionals and their support of academic freedom and scientific independence sometimes puts them at risk.  Below is information on relevant rights.  
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Information on speaking out for science and scientific independence:   



Materials on interacting with law enforcement officers: 



Contacts in the event of rights violations:  



    in the spotlight

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  At the 153rd Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Lisa Anderson, a political scientist and recent past President of the American University in Cairo, presented on current issues surrounding academic freedom. Dr. Anderson offers her thoughts on how to respond to threats to academic freedom in her article, Academic Freedom in a Globalized World,  adapted from her remarks at the meeting and published in Science & Diplomacy.   The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released a report,  Open Science by Design, on the benefits of open science. The report, which focuses on stakeholder perspectives, includes recommendations for fostering openness throughout the research process. Open Science aims to ensure the free availability and usability of scholarly publications, the data that result from scholarly research, and the methodologies, including code or algorithms, that were used to generate those data.  

During the 2018 National Academy of Sciences' Annual Meeting, Dr. Homa Hoodfar, Emerita Professor of Anthropology at Concordia University, presented on the importance of academic freedom. Since being detained in an Iranian prison on charges related to her academic work, Dr. Hoodfar has focused on examining the complexities of academic freedom. To learn more, read an excerpt of her remarks on academic freedom as a transnational right, given at the 2017 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 



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