Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Friday, June 22, 2007

Freedom Fighters

Thanks to a poster at Tommaso Dorigo's blog, I can now post here some excerpts from the Declaration of Academic Freedom, by which I abide. This Declaration is by Dmitri Rabounski, Editor-in-Chief of Progress in Physics.

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Article 2: Who is a scientist

A scientist is any person who does science. Any person who collaborates with a scientist in developing and propounding ideas and data in research or application is also a scientist. The holding of a formal qualification is not a prerequisite for a person to be a scientist.

Article 4: Freedom of choice of research theme

Many scientists working for higher research degrees or in other research programmes at academic institutions such as universities and colleges of advanced study, are prevented from working upon a research theme of their own choice by senior academic and/or administrative officials, not for lack of support facilities but instead because the academic hierarchy and/or other officials simply do not approve of the line of inquiry owing to its potential to upset mainstream dogma, favoured theories, or the funding of other projects that might be discredited by the proposed research. The authority of the orthodox majority is quite often evoked to scuttle a research project so that authority and budgets are not upset. This commonplace practice is a deliberate obstruction to free scientific thought, is unscientific in the extreme, and is criminal. It cannot be tolerated.

A scientist working for any academic institution, authority or agency, is to be completely free as to choice of a research theme, limited only by the material support and intellectual skills able to be offered by the educational institution, agency or authority. If a scientist carries out research as a member of a collaborative group, the research directors and team leaders shall be limited to advisory and consulting roles in relation to choice of a relevant research theme by a scientist in the group.

Article 8: Freedom to publish scientific results

A deplorable censorship of scientific papers has now become the standard practice of the editorial boards of major journals and electronic archives, and their bands of alleged expert referees. The referees are for the most part protected by anonymity so that an author cannot verify their alleged expertise. Papers are now routinely rejected if the author disagrees with or contradicts preferred theory and the mainstream orthodoxy. Many papers are now rejected automatically by virtue of the appearance in the author list of a particular scientist who has not found favour with the editors, the referees, or other expert censors, without any regard whatsoever for the contents of the paper. There is a blacklisting of dissenting scientists and this list is ommunicated between participating editorial boards. This all amounts to gross bias and a culpable suppression of free thinking, and are to be condemned by the international scientific community.

All scientists shall have the right to present their scientific research results, in whole or in part, at relevant scientific conferences, and to publish the same in printed scientific journals, electronic archives, and any other media. No scientist shall have their papers or reports rejected when submitted for publication in scientific journals, electronic archives, or other media, simply because their work questions current majority opinion, conflicts with the views of an editorial board, undermines the bases of other current or planned research projects by other scientists, is in conflict with any political dogma or religious creed, or the personal opinion of another, and no scientist shall be blacklisted or otherwise censured and prevented from publication by any other person whomsoever. No scientist shall block, modify, or otherwise interfere with the publication of a scientist's work in the promise of any presents or other bribes whatsoever.

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Make sure you read the rest. Many of you clearly need to.

Update: Thanks to a comment from Matti, we now have a handy link to the papers of Carlos Castro. Just go here and search on Author=Castro under the preprint search. I have also added a button to the Archive Freedom website on my sidebar. This article is also very interesting. It includes the following chilling passage:

One of the most difficult aspects of the treatment to which Bockris was subjected was social ostracism .... Bockris' wife Lilli felt it perhaps more than he, because she had a number of faculty wives whom she had known as friends. When she met them now in the supermarket, instead of having the usual kindly chat, they turned their backs on her. Lilli recalls that the year she spent in Vienna after the Nazis took over seemed to her less unpleasant and threatening than the isolation and nastiness which she felt in College Station, Texas from 1993 through 1995.

5 Comments:

Blogger Matti Pitkanen said...

I added a link to the Declaration of Academic Freedom to my homepage.

There is an organization known as Archive Freedom founded for few years ago and it has also electronic archive to which people (like me) censored out of Archiv.org and unable to publish in so called respected journals can post their papers.

June 22, 2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

WOW!!!! Matti - check out Castro's papers on that archive! We don't need the other arxiv! His new paper is entitled

On the Noncommutative and Nonassociative Geometry of Octonionic Spacetime

June 22, 2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Bravo to this post! If these ideas for academic freedom were followed, science might not be in the current mess. As Bil Myrray says in GHOSTBUSTERS, "Back off man, I'm a scientist!"

June 23, 2007 4:10 AM  
Blogger nige said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 23, 2007 11:02 AM  
Blogger nige said...

A very good idea! I only submitted one paper to arXiv, back in 2002 from Gloucestershire University, and although it appeared briefly, it was soon removed (within seconds, unread). If someone removed it for genuine reasons, i.e., after finding a problem with the content, that would be less serious. Clearly, arXiv is being moderated in a high-handed, Imperialist way. I can't complain directly because I don't pay funding to it, but I complain that CERN document server (which used to be a European funded alternative to arXiv) was closed to external submissions, except via arXiv. CERN made arXiv the gatekeepers. All power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I'm glad that an alternative depository is available!

June 23, 2007 11:10 AM  

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