Academic freedom in ecology and conservation

Academic Freedom Working Group Chair:

Don Driscoll

Working Group members

  • Euan Ritchie
  • Martine Maron
  • Georgia Garrard
  • John Woinarski
  • Bob Pressey
  • Stephen Dovers


The overall Academic Freedom Working Group objectives are:

  • to understand the limitations on academic freedom imposed on government and university scientists, including self-imposed limitations arising from implied threats, scope of research topics and open communication of research findings.
  • to evaluate constraints and safeguards imposed by public service codes of conduct.
  • where possible, to provide illustrative examples of suboptimal practice, and seek to develop best practice guidelines.
  • to discover whether any limitations contravene ESA objectives, or principles of democracy
  • to understand the changes in ecological capacity of government agencies (No. staff, No. staff with ecological training, budgets, ease of access to information within department, journal access), and evaluate impacts on policy and management.
  • to make recommendations to the board for how the ESA could respond.
  • to coordinate implementation of responses as approved by the board.
  • to develop links with other organisations that have an interest in improving academic freedom.

Detailed terms of reference