On Academic Freedom for Police Researchers
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Few would contest the value of academic freedom, i.e. the principle that researchers are free to ask critical questions and publish their findings without interference from the authorities. In practice, difficult questions may arise concerning both what questions should be asked and how they are answered. In this article, I take as my point of departure the Norwegian legislation, with some examples from other countries. The question of the researchers’ part in discussing heated questions and party politics is addressed. The article underlines the value of academic freedom as a guideline for the way researchers should deal with disagreement between each other: We should welcome disagreement and accept that, on any issue, the final word has not yet been said. An important topic is whether the rules of confidentiality for researchers should be clarified. Such a clarification could strengthen the researchers’ freedom to work with informants who are especially concerned about the risk of their identity being revealed.