University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


University staff pining for academic freedom

Employees and researchers see democracy and academic freedom being curbed, say reports

Danish universities are characterised by top-down management and restricted academic freedom. This is according to one report by the consultant Capacent published in the run up to the evaluation of the new Act on Universities (Universitetsloven) which was passed in 2003.

The report is part of the overall evaluation of the Act on Universities, which is due to be released at the end of the year. The results are the fruits of interviews with over 8,000 university employees.

Employees lack influence

An absolute monarchy, but not an academic republic«. This is how one critical university employee describes the lack of employee influence in the Danish university system.

The reports show that both the scientific employees and technical administrative personnel are dissatisfied.

Just one in ten employees feel that they have any influence on the decisions of the highest echelons of management while a mere 17 per cent feel that they have some form of influence at faculty level.

Economic limitations

According to Capacent, academic freedom has taken a hit in the Danish university system, primarily due to economic constraints. A growing number of researchers lack funding for their preferred research topic and the proportion of externally financed research is on the increase.

One in five researchers at the University of Copenhagen have had specific research instructions imposed upon them.