Academic freedom

Core academic values, like academic freedom and research integrity, constitute the foundation of higher education and science in the Netherlands. Research in the Netherlands should be conducted in accordance with nationally and internationally accepted standards of academic performance.
Respect for these core values is a prerequisite for full participation in the academic community. Academic freedom is essential to proper academic practice, and it is therefore guaranteed by law in the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act (WHW).

What does academic freedom entail?

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) defines academic freedom as ‘the principle that staff members at academic institutions are free to conduct their scientific research, disseminate their findings and teach’. This freedom extends to aspects including the following:

  • The choice of topics to be investigated
  • The choice and application of own research questions and methods
  • Access to sources of information
  • The publication and sharing of information through conferences, lectures and membership of academic groups
  • The choice to enter collaboration with academic partners 
  • The realisation of academic higher education.