14 December 2014

The future of UK research and development – a UCU policy statement


UCU is today calling for a fundamental review of UK research. In a report released a week before this year's REF results, UCU says it wants to see a complete overhaul of research and development that goes beyond the planned operational review of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

19 November 2014

NYT: Number of Academic Refugees Grows


Intellectual dissidents have long faced political persecution and violence. But in recent years, the dangers facing them and universities in troubled regions have reached a crisis point. According to the Institute of International Education, which has been helping imperiled scholars since 1919, academics and students are being forced to flee their homes and homelands at a level not seen since World War II, when thousands of professors and scientists escaped Nazi-controlled Europe.

UWN: Minimising brain drain – The pros and cons


National governments that sponsor international scholarship programmes assume that attending a higher education institution outside the home nation creates benefits that are different from those created by attending a domestic institution.

By enabling students to attend high quality educational offerings in other nations, a government-sponsored international scholarship programme may generate numerous benefits not only for individual participants but also for the home nation more generally.

The extent to which a nation realises the societal benefits of international study depends on whether scholarship recipients return to live and work in the home nation after they complete the educational programme.

Creating mechanisms to minimise brain drain may be especially important in countries with transitioning economies, as these nations may be likely to both benefit from the human capital created through foreign study, as well as be likely to have scholarship recipients who are inclined to remain in the host nation after completing their educational programme.

05 November 2014

NATURE: Top 100 papers


The most cited work in history is a 1951 paper describing an assay to determine the amount of protein in a solution. It has now gathered more than 305,000 citations — a recognition that always puzzled its lead author, the late US biochemist Oliver Lowry. “Although I really know it is not a great paper … I secretly get a kick out of the response,” he wrote in 1977.
The colossal size of the scholarly literature means that the top-100 papers are extreme outliers. Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science holds some 58 million items. Only 14,499 papers have more than 1,000 citations. Meanwhile, works that have been cited only once, if at all — a group that encompasses roughly half of the items.

03 November 2014

Best Global Universities Ranking 2014

US News and World Report just released the Best Global Universities ranking on 28 Oct 2014. 

Top 500:
1) Harvard University
2) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3) University of California, Berkeley
4) Stanford University
5) University of Oxford
55) National University of Singapore
423) University of Malaya

Top in Asia:
1) University of Tokyo
2) Peking University
3) University of Hong Kong
4) National University of Singapore
5) Kyoto University
67) University of Malaya

Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators

Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators


26 October 2014

Bullying in academia: ‘professors are supposed to be stressed! That’s the job’


My newly-appointed line manager came to see me just as I was about to go home on a Friday evening. He asked me how things were. I said, “Oh, I’m absolutely stuffed, I’ve got no energy, I’m worn out.” He replied, “I’m not here to talk about that – I’m here to talk about your research performance.” In the discussion that followed he told me I should change the focus of our research. I explained that the work we were doing was slow and painstaking, but significant.
He was adamant about changing the focus, and I started to get more and more stressed. It was before the last research assessment exercise (RAE), and the vice-chancellor was saying he wanted the university to be in the world top 50 rankings, so my line manager was taking this as an excuse to do all sorts of things.

29 September 2014

No one is above the law - National Council of Professors


No one is above the law, even if a statement that is deemed unlawful was uttered within the academic framework, said National Council of Professors’ political, security and international cluster head Prof Datuk Mohamed Mustafa Ishak.

“Whether a person is an academician, a politician or a civilian - everyone is subjected to the law of the land. Despite the fact that you are expressing opinion from the academic viewpoint, you have to understand that there are things which are covered by the law,” said Mohamed Mustafa.

04 September 2014



The University of Malaya Academic Staff Union (PKAUM) and the Malaysian Academics Movement (MOVE) wish to record our objection to the sedition charges being pressed against Associate Professor Dr Azmi Sharom of the University Malaya (UM). We are extremely disappointed with the use of the Sedition Act 1948 against Azmi. This is a gross violation of his academic freedom as well as freedom of expression. This goes against the true spirit of 'Article 10: Freedom of speech, assembly and association'  guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

The charges against Azmi allegedly are being brought because of statement he made on the Selangor MB crisis. Being an academic, Azmi should be free to give his professional academic opinion on any issues rightly within his field of expertise.  We feel his statements are a legitimate comment with no intention, direct or implied, to incite hatred against anyone.

Besides violating his rights under the Malaysian Constitution, the charges against Azmi are also a serious violation of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel.  They violate his rights to academic freedom of expression and academic societal obligations. It is his duty to use his expertise to enlighten the public on current issues related to his field. He or any other academic must have the freedom to do so.

This latest action taken by the government will instil fear in the academic community and will invite questions of intent. This will indicate that free expression is not tolerated in Malaysia and there exist no 'real' academic freedom; mitigating the nation’s intellectual development effort. The efforts to make Malaysia an international hub of higher education will also be compromised.  All the efforts made by the government, universities and the academics will be wasted. The reputation of Malaysian universities, especially the University of Malaya, would slide back many years to being third world universities in a third world country.

Therefore, in the interest of academic rights and freedom and the future of Malaysian academics and academia, PKAUM and MOVE sincerely demand:

1. That all charges against Associate Professor Azmi Sharom under the Sedition Act to be dropped.
2. That due to the vast potential of abuse against fundamental freedoms of expression that it carries, the Sedition Act be immediately repealed.
3. That all branches of the government must act to ensure better future governance and continued protection of the fundamental liberties of all Malaysians.
4. That respect for academic rights must be improved, without which Malaysian universities will continue to lag behind internationally.

Issued by:

Aznijar bin Ahmad Yazid, Secretary, Persatuan Kakitangan Akademik Universiti Malaya (PKAUM) [University of Malaya Academic Staff Association]

Rosli H Mahat, Secretary, Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
[Malaysian Academics Movement (MOVE)]

2nd of SEPTEMBER 2014

NATURE: How to tame the flood of literature


Too many research papers to go through? Recommendation services claim to help researchers keep up with the most important papers without becoming overwhelmed.

25 August 2014

Malaysiakini: Explore Vocational Education for High-Income Career Pathways


Crucially, as part of the Vocational Education Transformation Programme which has been undertaken for the past two years, the MoE has created this alternative pathway for students early on, allowing students to join the TVET stream at the lower secondary level. In this way, even children who do not do well in school can still aim for a lucrative career in ICT, oil and gas, biotechnology and a host of other industries without missing a beat. 
While many Malaysians still see a university education as the only way to get a job and become successful, on the contrary, the country is in need of highly-skilled workers trained in specialised fields. This is underscored by the 3.3 million jobs to be generated through the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), of which almost half comprise skills-based jobs. 

06 August 2014

SOLIDARITY APPEAL: Humanitarian assistance to teachers and students in Gaza

Donations can be made directly to EI or through the Malaysian Academics Movement and save on the transfer fees. Please deposit you donation to 'Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia' at CIMB account 86-0022830-5 or 1433-0000270-10-7. For documentation purpose, please email akademikmalaysia@gmail.com the amount and the date you deposited your donation. All donations will be transferred to EI early next month.


Brussels, 1st August 2014

Solidarity appeal: GUPT and EI start humanitarian assistance to teachers and students in Gaza

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this week, EI reiterated that schools must be safe havens in all conflict zones of the world, and that there is no excuse for educational institutions to be targeted. EI has urged that human life be respected, that the safety and protection of children be ensured, and that the warring parties heed the call of the United Nations Security Council for an immediate ceasefire in line with the one agreed in November 2012.
Ahmet Annees Sahweel, General Secretary of the General Union of Palestinian Teachers (GUPT), and I met in Ramallah on 31 July. GUPT and Education International have agreed to establish a special solidarity fund to provide humanitarian assistance to Gazan teachers and their families and students who have become victims of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Palestinian teachers’ union has some 6,000 members in Gaza, most of them working in government schools. It is estimated that so far 30 teachers have lost their lives. Many more have been injured, lost family members or seen their homes demolished. According to UN sources, 25% of the victims are children.

GUPT and its five branches in Gaza will carry out the humanitarian assistance programme. EI is contributing an initial amount of USD 25,000 to the Special Fund, for immediate release.

We invite member organizations to make a solidarity contribution to this special solidarity fund:

Education International
ING Bank
Avenue Marnix, 24, B-1000 Brussels - Belgium
IBAN: BE05 3101 0061 7075
Account: 310-1006170-75
with the reference “Humanitarian assistance for teachers and students in Gaza”

Thank you for your solidarity.

Yours sincerely,

Fred van Leeuwen
General Secretary

Education International
Internationale de l'Éducation
Internacional de la Educación 

Education International,
HeadOffice|5 bd du Roi Albert II|1210 Brussels |Belgium
Tel.:+32 2 224 06 11 | Fax: +32 2 224 06 06 |

25 July 2014

Nature Outlook: Assessing Science


The issue of how to evaluate the fruits of academic research confronts scientists and policymakers all over the world. Each country has its own set of circumstances depending on its research infrastructure and wealth as well as its economic, environmental and developmental objectives. Australia and New Zealand might be neighbours, but their programmes of research assessment are very different. Focusing on the tools and methods used to measure the quality and impact of science in Australia and New Zealand should inform similar debates throughout the scientific world.

20 July 2014

GATERA: Tiadanya Kebebasan Akademik dan Bobroknya Dunia Akademik di Malaysia


Perintah Am”, “Tatatertib Guru” dan “Aku Janji” menjadikan ahli akademik tidak lagi berfungsi atau berupaya untuk menghidupkan konsep kebebasan akademik itu, malah sebahagian besarnya menjadikan konsep itu tidak relevan lagi dengan dunia akademiknya. Kebebasan akademik ditimpa sakit teruk, dan tiadalah pula tempat untuk mengubati atau diubatinya; malah dibiarkan begitu sahaja menuju nazak!

Shahrir Mohamad Zain
17 Ramadhan 1435/15 Julai 2014

The Academic’s Guide to Self-Publishing


“Self-publishing online has many benefits; it’s faster, free, and content is immediately accessible for everyone,” says Danielle Bengsch, a ResearchGatespeaker. “Researchers get the possibility to present parts of their research individually, e.g., datasets can be published in advance of a full-fledged article. Researchers can also share information about experiments that didn’t work out” a huge benefit for those who are unavailingly working on similar projects and for future researchers.”

BFM Podcast: Academic Freedom

Prof. Gurdial Singh Nijar, Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya | Prof. Datuk Tamby Subahan Mohd Meerah, Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia; Vice President, National Council of Professors | Dr. Rosli Mahat, Department of Physics, Universiti Malaya; General Secretary, Malaysia Academic Movement (MOVE), (National), 17-Jul-14 16:37

07 July 2014

Coming soon: AHELO: PISA for undergraduates

Third-year students were tested on critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem-solving and written communication. There were also discipline-specific trials for economics and engineering.

Are we ready for AHELO? Can our students performed? Can our universities performed?

Professor Mohamad Redzuan Othman

Umcedel chief asked to resign, Saifuddin quits
Nobody asked Mohamad Redzuan to resign, says sec-gen

Saifuddin quits as UM fellow in solidarity with dismissed Prof Redzuan
Umcedel findings 'no big deal', says KJ
VC: Redzuan's removal transparent, democratic
'My issue is Umcedel, not dean post'
MP: Redzuan's removal from Umcedel a step back
Union: Umcedel director's removal unacceptable
Minister doubts integrity of Umcedel polls
Heed Sultan Nazrin, PKR tells Education Ministry
'Muhyiddin should resign, not Redzuan or Saifuddin'
If you don’t like statistical facts, don’t be policymakers, analysts tell Putrajaya

UM denies don’s tenure not extended due to outside pressure

Education Ministry suppressing freedom, claims Bersih 2.0

‘Sad day for academic freedom’

DAP: Saifuddin a principled man

UM condemned over Redzuan’s resignation

Islamic groups team up in support of axed UM professor

Vexed students to protest for future generations
NGOs: Violation of academic freedom 'cancer'
Two UM students crop hair for academic freedom

28 May 2014


You probably didn’t know it, but tuition increases, growing student loan debt and tax dollars for public higher education are funding Wall Street profits.

In 2012, Wall Street raked in $44 billion in profits from college students, colleges and taxpayers. That’s nearly 10 percent of the total amount spent on higher education in America.
Watch the video to learn how the “Wall Street skim” is driving up the cost of opportunity for all of us.

In the last 15 years, student debt has increased more than 1,000 percent. In 2012, students and families paid Wall Street and the Department of Education $33 billion in student loan interest, while colleges paid another $7 billion in financing costs on institutional loans, and for-profit colleges raked in about $4 billion in profits.

A college education is a pathway to opportunity, but it’s getting harder to achieve because costs keep rising. Money from college tuition and taxpayer dollars shouldn’t go to Wall Street profits—it should go to making college affordable and accessible for all students.

Today, the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment released a report that explains “The Hidden Costs of Financing U.S. Higher Education.” Public colleges are facing a decline in state funding, so they have to increase their debt and issue capital bonds to investors, and they push students to borrow more money from student loan profiteers. In addition, for-profit colleges continue to divert tuition from high-quality education to stockholders.
Watch the video to see how students, colleges and communities are paying for Wall Street profits.

Watch the video

Over the coming months, we’ll be using this report to fight to reclaim the promise of a high-quality, affordable college education. But first, we need people to know that the opportunity to get a college education is being threatened by Wall Street profits. I hope you’ll watch and share the video.
In unity,
Craig Smith
AFT Higher Education


27 May 2014

UWN: New global university ranking launched – U-Multirank


It takes a user-driven, multi-dimensional approach comparing different kinds of institutions across a range of activities and grading them from A for ‘very good’ to E for ‘weak’, rather than producing a global top 100 universities based on composite scores.

Users are encouraged to produce their own rankings, but U-Multirank also generated three ‘readymade’ rankings to illustrate its work in the areas of research, economic involvement and business studies programmes – one of four fields studied in the first ranking exercise.


Ranking of Malaysian universities:

Research and research linkage:
1) USM  (601-650)
2) UKM  (651-700)
3) UM    (651-700)

Economic Involvement:
1) UM   (501-550)
2) USM (601-650)
3) UKM (651-700)

UWN: Improve grades – make core texts available


Does providing core texts free as e-books boost applications and could it help even the playing field among students with differing income levels? Yes, it does and it can.

20 May 2014

University World News: The end of Academic Journal Editors

First paper publication, next electronic publication and open access, coming soon self publication

Electronic publishing and open access means the role of editors at the big journals could soon become obsolete, especially if scientists team up with computer programmers to devise an easy way to find self-published articles.


13 May 2014

Malaysian Insider: QS Asian University Rankings

MAY 13, 2014

02 May 2014

NATURE: Retractions: A clean slate

Mistakes are part of science. But setting the record straight promptly and clearly can help to avoid a career blot.

Source: COPE; Council of Science Editors


NATURE: Share alike

First there was open access for papers, now open data


02 April 2014

Nature Publishing Index 2013


Our achievement in the recently released Nature Publishing Index 2013:

Global Top 200:
No Malaysian universities
NUS 46

Asia Pacific Institutions: 
NUS         5
UM           579
USM         644
UKM         659
UTM          666
PerdanaU  710

Asia Pacific Countries:
1) Japan
2) China
3) Australia
4) Korea
5) Singapore
6) Taiwan
7) India
8) New Zealand
9) Thailand
10) Malaysia

24 March 2014

UNIVERSITAS21 Ranking of National Higher Education System 2013


1 United States
2 Sweden
3 Switzerland
4 Canada
5 Denmark
6 Finland
7 Netherlands
8 Australia
9 Singapore
10 United Kingdom
11 Austria
11 Norway
13 Belgium
14 New Zealand
15 Germany
16 Hong Kong SAR
16 France
18 Ireland
19 Israel
20 Spain
21 Japan
22 Portugal
23 Slovenia
24 Korea
25 Czech Republic
26 Taiwan
27 Malaysia
28 Saudi Arabia
29 Italy
30 Poland
31 Greece
32 Serbia
33 Russian Federation
34 Hungary
35 Chile
35 Ukraine
37 Slovakia
38 Bulgaria
39 Romania
40 Argentina
41 Brazil
42 China
43 Mexico
44 Croatia
45 Turkey
46 South Africa
47 Thailand
48 Iran
49 India
50 Indonesia

Chomsky: How America's Great University System Is Getting Destroyed

Faculty are increasingly hired on the Wal-Mart model as temps.


07 March 2014


Notis Pertama
3 Mac 2014

Kepada semua ahli GERAK

Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan GERAK 2014

Dengan hormat dimaklumkan bahawa Mesyuarat Agung Tahunan GERAK untuk tahun 2014 akan diadakan pada hari Rabu 19 Mac 2014 mulai jam 4.00 ptg, bertempat di Bilik PKAUM, Rumah Universiti, Universiti Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Tolong kemukakan usul untuk perbincangan secepat mungkin sebelum 10 Mac 2014.
Agenda mesyuarat adalah seperti berikut:
  1. Perbentangan Minit Mesyuarat Agung 2013
  2. Perkara berbangkit
  3. Perbentangan Laporan Tahunan 2013
  4. Perbentangan Laporan Kewangan 2013
  5. Aktiviti 2014
  6. Hal-hal lain.
Sekian dengan ucapan terima kasih.

Rosli H Mahat

03 March 2014

Education Under Attack 2014

The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) has released a 250 page report on attacks on schools and universities over the last five years. Thirty countries were highlighted for having significant number of attacks. Malaysia escaped.

"Attacks on higher education communities have been documented in armed conflicts, but many also occur under repressive regimes where armed conflict may not be present. Indeed, some of the most damaging attacks on higher education happen in situations where universities and their academics and students are perceived by repressive authorities as a ‘threat’ in a way that schools, teachers and pupils typically are not. As a result, they may be at heightened risk of individual attacks or campaigns comprising multiple attacks over an extended period, whether aimed at the isolation and persecution of a single target or the intimidation of the higher education community as a whole."

21 February 2014

SAR Network Global Congress, Amsterdam, 9-10 April 2014


03 February 2014

Keeping Sexes Seperated; Should we?

If a student or group requests a gender-segregated setup for religious reasons, does the university have a responsibility to accommodate? 


19 January 2014

Landmark Trial: Malaysian academic vs US government

Prof. Rahinah Ibrahim, UPM won no-fly-list suit against US government

Academic Freedom Media Review, January 11 - 17, 2014

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Archived media reviews are available athttp://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Events-News/Academic-Freedom-News.php

Aditya calls on suspended professor, threatens protest
The Times of India, 01/18
MUMBAI: A day after the governor asked Mumbai University vice-chancellor Rajan Welukar to resolve the situation arising due to the suspension of econometrics professor Neeraj Hatekar in an "amicable manner", Yuva Sena head Aditya Thackeray on Friday called on Hatekar at his residence. Read more

China's detention of Uighur professor Ilham Tohti worries U.S.
Julie Makinen, The Los Angeles Times, 01/17
BEIJING -- The U.S. government and human rights activists are voicing concern about the detention of a professor who has been an outspoken advocate for China’s Uighur minority group. Ilham Tohti’s home in Beijing was ransacked Wednesday afternoon by more than 20 police officers who seized computers, phones, credit cards and documents and took him into custody, his wife, Guzaili Nu’er, said by phoneFridayRead more 

UM denies disciplining Chou for social activism
Macau Daily Times, 01/17
The University of Macau (UM) has issued a statement insisting that it “upholds academic freedom and encourages the pursuit of academic excellence” and has not launched disciplinary procedures against any of its members because of their political viewpoints. Read more

'Politically useful' science is no use for democracy
Prateek Buch, The Telegraph, 01/16
Just how independent is independent research into government policy? It emerged last week that the Home Office may have pressured researchers at the University of Sheffield to delay publication of a study on the effects of minimum alcohol pricing. Dr Sarah Wollaston MP isn’t amused that the academics agreed to the Home Office request, suggesting it hindered discussion of the evidence. Read more 

Uni under fire over Hamas meeting
Christian Kerr, The Australian, 01/16
SYDNEY University is again under fire over staff conduct, in the wake of a meeting between emeritus professor Stuart Rees and Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha last month. Professor Rees is director of the Sydney Peace Foundation, the group behind the Sydney Peace Prize, part of the university's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies and a prominent supporter of the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Read more 

South Sudan Closes Universities Amid Security Concerns
Sudan Tribune, 01/15
 Juba — South Sudan has temporarily suspended university studies due to ongoing conflict in the country. Lecturers were informed through an administrative circular issued by the higher education council. Read more

Georgetown Backs Academic Freedom of Adjunct Who Alluded to Assassinating Obama

Nick DeSantis, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 01/15
Georgetown University is supporting the academic freedom of an adjunct faculty member in its School of Foreign Service who, in recent blog posts, has written indirectly about assassinating President Obama, according to The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper. Read more

Protecting Faculty Records
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 01/14
Saying that “frivolous” open records requests for faculty members’ emails and other communications have a potential chilling effect on academic freedom, a joint faculty-administrative body at the University of California at Los Angeles has drafted a first-of-its-kind statement to protect the confidentiality of frank, collaborative exchanges among scholars discussing their research. Read more
Another Approach
Elizabeth Redden, Inside Higher Ed, 01/14
Amid the clamor over the American Studies Association’s resolution endorsing the boycott of Israeli universities, the Middle East Studies Association has been more or less silent. The association’s Committee on Academic Freedom last weighed in on the subject of academics boycotts in 2005, issuing a letter opposing them after Britain’s Association of University Teachers approved a resolution to cut off academic cooperation with Haifa and Bar-Ilan Universities. Read more 

Respected Russian University Feels Kremlin’s Scrutiny
Anna Nemtsova, The Chronicle Of Higher Education, 01/12
MOSCOW — The Kremlin appears to be in a forgiving mood. Russia recently pardoned the former oil baron turned activist Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and other prominent critics of President Vladimir V. Putin in a move widely seen as an attempt to mollify international criticism on the eve of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Read more