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Measuring academic freedom in Europe: a criterion referenced approach

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Pages 209-239 | Received 31 Aug 2016, Accepted 03 Feb 2017, Published online: 09 Apr 2017


Using comparative data from 28 states within the European Union, this paper is a comprehensive assessment of the protection for, and (by extension) the health of, academic freedom in the universities of the nations of the European Union. The paper, extending previous work in this area, adopts a ‘bottom-up’ approach utilising 37 specific parameters that relate to international treaties, and national, constitutional, and legislative protection for academic freedom, along with legal regulations concerning institutional governance, the appointment of the rector, and the existence of academic tenure, in order to create a composite picture of the health of academic freedom in the universities within the European Union nations.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.


Additional information


The authors wish to acknowledge the support of the European Union (7th Framework Programme) in funding this research via a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship [PIEF-GA-2012-327101].

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