You are invited to a debate on freedom at research at Aarhus University

The results of an independent investigation of the state of freedom of research at AU were disheartening. Seven percent of the participating researchers indicated that they have experienced threats to their academic integrity within the past five years.

[Translate to English:] Illustration: Louise Thrane Jensen.


In August 2018, 4,379 researchers at AU received a questionnaire in connection with a survey of freedom of research at AU. 

1,488 researchers (34%) chose to participate in the survey, which was performed by the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE). 

Who participated in the survey?

All researchers at AU were offered a chance to take the survey. Just over one in three (34%) chose to participate. 

“A survey of freedom of research in relation to publication on the Aarhus University” (in Danish)

Translation: Lenore Messick.

In response to the findings of the investigation, which took place last autumn, the university is now hosting a debate on freedom of research at Aarhus University. All interested AU employees are encouraged to attend. The event will take place in Danish.

READ MORE: New report on freedom of research at Aarhus University:Researchers experience threats to their academic freedom. Sometimes from their managers and colleagues.

The report revealed that seven percent researchers who participated in the survey have experienced pressure to change their research results within the past five years. And one in ten stated that they have been pressured to postpone the publication of results – while five percent have been under pressure to supress their research completely. 

Researchers from all faculties

Overall, sixteen percent of the participating researchers stated that they have encountered at lest one of these three forms of pressure. In other words, someone has tried to prevent them from communicating their research in a way that accurately represents their methods and results.  

The majority of participating researchers who have encountered this kind of pressure are from ST (21%), followed by researchers from Arts (18%), HE (12%) and Aarhus BSS (also 12%).

And – something many in the AU community may find particularly depressing reading – this pressure doesn’t only come from stakeholders from outside the university’s yellow brick walls. It also comes from within. 

Debate on freedom of research at Aarhus University

WHEN: Monday 28 January, 13:00 - 16:00

WHERE: The Lakeside Lecture Theatres, the University Park, Aarhus University

• 13:00 - 13:10 Welcoming remarks by Rector Brian Bech Nielsen

•  13:10 - 13:20 Presentation of the survey on freedom of research at Aarhus University by the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE), which carried out the survey.

• 13:20 - 13:30 Rector Brian Bech Nielsen: The importance of freedom of research for Aarhus University

• 13:30 - 13:40 Emeritus Professor Heine Andersen, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen: The report on freedom of research from a national perspective

• 13:40 - 13:50 Senior Adviser Gitte Blicher-Mathiesen, Experiences with public sector consultancy and freedom of research, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University 

• 13:50 - 14:00 Research Director Thomas Bjørnholm, the Villum Foundation: The perspective of the private foundations

• 14:00 - 14:10 Questions from the floor

• 14:10 - 14:25 Break

• 14:25 - 15:20 Panel debate with: 

Peter Munk Christiansen, former chair of Independent Research Fund Denmark, head of the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University

Brian Bech Nielsen, rector of Aarhus University

Heine Andersen, emeritus professor at the Department of Sociology at the University of Copenhagen

Gitte Blicher-Madsen, senior adviser, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University

Thomas Bjørnholm, research director, the Villum Foundation

Marit-Solveig Seidenkrantz, chair of the Academic Council, Science and Technology, Aarhus University

Anne Marie Engel, Head of Talent & Career Programmes, the  Lundbeck Foundation

• 15:20 - 15:50 Questions from the floor

• 15:50 - 16:00 Closing remarks by Rector Brian Bech Nielsen