Saturday, January 15, 2000

Book list

[Preliminary list. Suggestions for more entries are welcome.]

John Nixon, 2008: Towards the Virtuous University: The moral bases of academic practice. New York & London: Routledge.
["A good university is invariably assumed to be one which is managerially effective in terms of its economic efficiency, and is judged in terms of entrepreneurialism, self-promotion and competitive innovation. This book argues that in the majority of institutions, these goals are being pursued to the exclusion of academic excellence and public service. It proposes that there is a marked lack of intellectual leadership at senior management level within HE institutions and that academic workers must assume responsibility for the moral purposefulness of their institutions. This will not be a retreat into the old values of an elitist 'ivory tower', but a rejection of the current deeply stratified university system which prematurely selects students for differentiated institutional streams."]

Henry Etzkowitz, 2007. MIT and the Rise of Entrepreneurial Science. London: Routledge.
[“a timely and authoritative book that analyses the transformation of the university's role in society as an expanded one involving economic and social development as well as teaching and research. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology invented the format for university-industry relations that has been copied all over America and latterly the rest of the world. This excellent book shows that the ground-breaking university-industry-government interactions have become one of the foundations of modern successful economies.”]

David B. Resnik, 2006: The Price of Truth. How money affects the norms of science. Oxford University Press.
["Unbridled pursuit of financial gain in science can undermine scientific norms, such as objectivity, honesty, openness, respect for research participants, and social responsibility. Resnik examines some of the important and difficult questions resulting from the financial and economic aspects of modern science. How does money affect scientific research? Have scientists become entrepreneurs bent on making money instead of investigators searching for the truth? How does the commercialization of research affect the public's perception of science? Can scientists prevent money from corrupting the research enterprise? What types of rules, polices, and guidelines should scientists adopt to prevent financial interests from adversely affecting research and the public's opinion of science? "]

Seth Shulman, 2006: Undermining Science. Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration. Berkeley: University of California Press.
[Shulman, an investigative journalist, shows how the Bush administration has systematically misled Americans on a wide range of scientific issues affecting public health, foreign policy, and the environment by ignoring, suppressing, manipulating, or even distorting scientific research. It is the first book to focus exclusively on how this issue has played out during the Presidency of George W. Bush and the first to comprehensively document his administration's abuses of science. It covers: * The Bush administration's abuse and misuse of science in areas including stem cell research, AIDS prevention, environmental protection, the Iraq war, the teaching of evolution, and global warming; * The administration's use of political litmus tests in selecting administrators for science-based agencies and in selecting scientists on federal advisory committees; * The dangerous consequences of the Bush administration's war on science for the caliber and integrity of the nation's scientific research. ]

Dan Agin, 2006: Junk Science. How politicians, corporations, and other hucksters betray us. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.
[on government, industry, and faith groups that twist science for their own gain. (...) Agin offers a response – a stinging condemnation of the egregious and constant warping of science for ideological gain. In this provocative, wide-ranging, and hard-hitting book, Agin argues from the center that we will pay a heavy price for the follies of people who consciously twist the public's understanding of the real world. (...) exposes the data faking, reality ignoring, fear mongering, and outright lying that contribute to intentionally manufactured public ignorance. Book sections: 'Buyer Beware' (genetically modified foods, aging, and tobacco companies)--'Medical Follies' (chiropractics, health care, talk therapy)--'Poison and Bombs in the Greenhouse' (pollution, warfare, global warming)--'Religion, Embryos, and Cloning'--'Genes, Behavior, and Race'.]

Chris Mooney, 2005. The Republikan War on Science. New York: Basic Books.
["Mooney uses interviews and old-fashioned document-digging to explain how, over two decades, right-wing politicians built institutions designed to discredit working scientists; how some energy companies have allied themselves with powerful Republicans (...) to block or reverse U.S. steps to curb global warming; and how the present administration defies expert consensus on climate change, on mercury pollution, even on how to read statistics. Mooney tracks Bush White House efforts to spread misinformation about stem cells; the work of religious right regulators (...) in restricting access to birth control; and the attempts of the Discovery Institute (and other think tanks linked to the Bush base) to fight the teaching of evolution. In the past five years, many formerly apolitical physicists, biologists and doctors have come to believe there is a "pattern" of science abuse under Bush, a push back against the methods of science itself. (...) Mooney's very readable, and understandably partisan, volume is the first to put the whole story, thoroughly documented, in one place." (Amazon)]

Jennifer Washburn, 2005: University, Inc.: The Corporate Corruption of American Higher Education. New York: Basic Books.
["Washburn's coup de grace is to show that even private industrial leaders and economic pragmatists like Alan Greenspan have begun to criticize the decline of traditional liberal arts education and the rise of the corporate university as economically and socially disastrous. Washburn offers a few modest and thoughtful prescriptions for saving higher education, but this book is more likely to be read for the illnesses it lucidly diagnoses." (from Amazon)]

Goger L. Geiger, 2004: Knowledge and Money: Research Universities and the Paradox of the Marketplace. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press.
[“Market forces have profoundly affected the contemporary research university's fundamental tasks of creating and disseminating knowledge. They arguably have provided American universities access to greater wealth, better students, and stronger links with the economy. Yet they also have exaggerated inequalities, diminished the university's control over its own activities, and weakened the university's mission of serving the public. Incorporating twenty years of research and new data covering 99 research universities, Knowledge and Money explains this paradox by assessing how market forces have affected universities in four key spheres of activity: finance, undergraduate education, primary research, and participation in regional and national economic development. --The book begins by chronicling how universities have enlarged revenues by optimizing tuitions, and how they have managed these funds. It reveals why competition for the best students through selective undergraduate admissions has led to increased student consumerism and weakened university control over learning. The book also explains why research has become an increasingly autonomous activity within the university, expanding faster than class instruction or faculty resources. Finally, it shows how the linkage of research to economic development has engendered closer ties with industry and encouraged the commercialization of knowledge.”]

Sheila Slaughter & Gary Rhoades, 2004: Academic Capitalism and the New Economy. Markets, State, and Higher Education. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. ["higher education scholars Slaughter and Rhoades detail the aggressive engagement of U.S. higher education institutions in the knowledge-based economy and analyze the efforts of colleges and universities to develop, market, and sell research products, educational services, and consumer goods in the private marketplace. Slaughter and Rhoades track changes in policy and practice, revealing new social networks and circuits of knowledge creation and dissemination, as well as new organizational structures and expanded managerial capacity to link higher education institutions and markets. They depict an ascendant academic capitalist knowledge/learning regime expressed in faculty work, departmental activity, and administrative behavior. Clarifying the regime's internal contradictions, they note the public subsidies embedded in new revenue streams and the shift in emphasis from serving student customers to leveraging resources from them."]

Derek Bok, 2003.
Universities in the Marketplace. The Commercialization of Higher Education. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
["Is everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America's leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often "yes." Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. (...) He discusses the dangers posed by increased secrecy in corporate-funded research, for-profit Internet companies funded by venture capitalists, industry-subsidized educational programs for physicians, conflicts of interest in research on human subjects, and other questionable activities."]

Bill Readings, 1996. The University in Ruins. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ["Readings situates his discussion of the modern university in the context of decades of debate over the role of education in the 20th century. He draws on Kantian ideals of the university as a unit dedicated to a single agenda to demonstrate how the modern university's pursuit of "excellence" is a meaningless search. In fact, the very idea of "excellence" is devoid of meaning, he argues, merely a rallying cry to unite the academic troops as bureaucratic administrations attempt to keep their universities financially sound. Once the university was the repository and defender of national culture, but now it is an institution whose decline coincides with the rise of postmodernism."]

Sunday, January 2, 2000

More links

Academic freedom:

Other blogs: on Science

Academic trade unions and professional associations

List of trade unious for academics

  • DM - en fagforening for højtuddannede (The Danish Association of Masters and PhDs. DM is a traditional trade union as well as a professional association for people with a university degree).
  • Forskerforbundet (The Norwegian Association of Researchers (NAR) has close to 16 000 members, making it Norway's largest and leading trade and special interest organisation for employees in research, higher education and cultural heritage work)
  • SULF (Sveriges universitetslärarförbund: universitetslärarnas, forskarnas och doktorandernas fackliga och professionella organisation)

Please add more links: Send us a link to your own country's academic trade union or professional interest organization! Mail to universitypolitics [at]

Saturday, January 1, 2000

Bibliographies on specific topics

Academic Freedom:
  • Terence Karran's comprehensive bibliography on academic freedom has been updated and extended. The new 2009 version, which has over 1000 entries, is freely downloadable as a pdf from:

Reports & other documents



Debate and commentary
  • Oxford Magazine No. 291 (Noughth Week Michaelmas Term 2009): papers on academic freedom by: Tim Horder, Robert Post, Ingrid Stage, Terence Karran, Roy and Harris, G.R. Evans.
Analyses, Science studies, Scholarship