NOU 2022: 2

Academic freedom of expression — A good culture of free speech must be built from the bottom up, every single day

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5 Current framework

5.1 Regulations

5.1.1 The Constitution and human rights

Academic freedom of expression is one application of the general freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is protected in the Norwegian Constitution and in several international human rights conventions by which Norway is bound. The convention that has the greatest practical impact on Norwegian law is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).1

The Norwegian Supreme Court has stressed that «freedom of expression, as expressed in Article 100 (1) of the Norwegian Constitution and Article 10 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights, provides a very broad framework for what academic employees can say about academic and administrative issues, even if this involves contradicting their superiors or others. The free exchange of academic ideas and information is a fundamental principle and a prerequisite for universities and university colleges to be able to fulfil their mission in a democratic society.»2

Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution reads:

There shall be freedom of expression.
No one may be held liable in law for having imparted or received information, ideas or messages unless this can be justified in relation to the grounds for freedom of expression, which are the seeking of truth, the promotion of democracy and the individual’s freedom to form opinions. Such legal liability shall be prescribed by law.
Everyone shall be free to speak their mind frankly on the administration of the State and on any other subject whatsoever. Clearly defined limitations to this right may only be imposed when particularly weighty considerations so justify in relation to the grounds for freedom of expression.
Prior censorship and other preventive measures may not be applied unless so required in order to protect children and young persons from the harmful influence of moving pictures. Censorship of letters may only be imposed in institutions.
Everyone has a right of access to documents of the State and municipalities and a right to follow the proceedings of the courts and democratically elected bodies. Limitations to this right may be prescribed by law to protect the privacy of the individual or for other weighty reasons.
The authorities of the state shall create conditions that facilitate open and enlightened public discourse.

The protection pursuant to Article 100 of the Constitution applies to all expressions, in all contexts. As stated in the second paragraph, the grounds for this freedom are «the seeking of truth, the promotion of democracy and the individual’s freedom to form opinions». Since the purpose of academic freedom of expression is to contribute to the seeking of truth, this way of using freedom of expression clearly enjoys special protection, even if the phrase «academic» is not mentioned explicitly in the provision.3

The Constitution is the supreme source of law in Norway, ranking above all other ordinary laws. The rights enshrined in the Constitution thus have a particularly strong protection. The threshold is very high for interference with these rights to be lawful.

Academic expressions are also protected by the provision on freedom of expression in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It reads:
  • 1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

  • 2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Although Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights does not specifically mention «academic» freedom of expression, academic expressions are protected under this provision. The European Convention on Human Rights is one of the conventions that, pursuant to the Norwegian Human Rights Act, shall take precedence over any other legislative provisions that conflict with them. This means that rights provided by the European Convention on Human Rights also have strong protection in Norwegian law.

The legal relationship between Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights has not been methodically clarified.4 The Supreme Court of Norway uses these two provisions slightly interchangeably. Where there are previous judgments that elaborate on the contents of Article 100 of the Constitution, reference is often made to them. However, reference is more often made to the assessment criteria in judgments from the European Court of Human Rights.5 This is because the European Court of Human Rights has dealt with more freedom of expression cases than the Supreme Court of Norway, and that the judgments from the former thus provide the most tangible guidance on how to resolve specific legal issues.

For the Commission’s purposes, it is important to emphasise that both Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights provide strong legislative protection for academic expressions. When assessing whether or not an instance of interference with academic freedom of expression is lawful or not, it is the provision that provides the clearest protection in practice that will be used. The protection of rights pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights is assumed to constitute minimum protection. This means that the constitutional protection is at any rate not inferior to the protection provided by the European Convention on Human Rights. It is therefore the best protection that can be derived from either the European Convention on Human Rights or the Norwegian Constitution that determines the legal protection of the academic freedom of expression in practice.

Academic, truth-seeking and power-critical expressions are at the core of the protection of the freedom of expression that both provisions provide. This means that these kinds of expression enjoy strong protection. It also means that in some cases academic expressions have stronger protection than they would have if they had been made for purposes other than seeking the truth and in contexts other than academic ones. The Commission will now present some examples to illustrate this point:

Harsh attacks on research projects, which in other contexts might be defamatory, may be legal in debates where the general background entails the questioning of the underlying science.6

In the 1970s, a psychology student and an assistant professor initiated a behavioural therapeutic treatment programme for an 11-year-old. They subsequently published an article about the treatment. It was heavily criticised in the Norwegian daily newspaper Dagbladet, which, among other things, claimed that they had carried out torture in the name of science. The assistant professor sued the critic for defamation. The Supreme Court stressed that the rules on defamation must be applied with caution in a debate where the general background entails the questioning of the underlying science, and it must be possible to use strong words when discussing scientific works.

Erroneous hypotheses and assertions are central to the pursuit of truth. The publication of erroneous assertions that might have been defamatory or resulted in tortious market interference in another context may be protected if they are a component of research or academic pursuit of truth. The same also applies if the researcher who made the assertions is not affiliated with any academic institution. This is exemplified in the case Hertel v. Switzerland.7

A Swiss researcher studied the negative effects of microwave ovens in his private laboratory. He sent a research report on his study to a journal, in which he concluded that microwave ovens had very harmful effects on human health. (He claimed that microwaves poison water, resulting in a form of cytotoxin, were harmful to the eyes and lungs, create lasting microwaves inside the body after consumption of microwaved food, and can lead to a heightened risk of rheumatism, anaemia and high cholesterol). The journal sensationalised the findings, publishing an article accompanied by a picture of the grim reaper. The publication resulted in a marked drop in sales of microwave ovens in the Swiss market, and the researcher and the journal were sued. Citing the Federal Unfair Competition Act, the Swiss courts prohibited from them making similar allegations about microwave ovens in public in the future.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled that this was a violation of the researcher’s freedom of expression. The European Court of Human Rights stated that it was not up to the judiciary to censor research findings, regardless of whether they were poorly underpinned or went too far. Rather, the refutation of these kinds of allegations belonged in the public debate.

The researcher’s intention, which was scientific inquiry (as opposed to, for example, competing activities) was probably central to the European Court of Human Rights’ assessment.8

The fact that the scientific intention behind expressions can be decisive for their legal protection is also underlined in the European Court of Human Rights case Aksu v. Turkey.9 In this case, it was concluded that stigmatising statements that may be unlawful if they had been made with the intention of demeaning or discriminating may be protected if they are part of an academic presentation, with a truth-seeking intention:

In a book funded by the Turkish Ministry of Culture, a professor described the way of life of the Roma minority in Turkey. A Turkish citizen with a Roma background reacted to certain passages in the book. Among these was a passage stating that Gypsies were engaged in illegal activities, and lived as «thieves, pickpockets, swindlers, robbers, usurers, beggars, drug dealers, prostitutes and brothel keepers» and were «polygamist and aggressive». He tried, unsuccessfully, to have the book stopped in the national courts.

The European Court of Human Rights agreed that negative stereotyping of a minority could be a violation of their privacy if it exceeded a certain threshold of seriousness. However, the applicant’s right to «respect for his private life» had to be weighed up specifically against the author’s freedom of expression. The European Court of Human Rights held that the Turkish courts’ weighting of freedom of expression at the expense of protection of privacy was justifiable, since the book was research-based and the author’s intention was to shed light on a stigmatised minority, not to stigmatise the Roma.

Harsh academic criticism of other colleagues may also have greater protection in an academic setting than in other contexts. This is especially true if the criticism is rooted in a topic, as opposed to only directed at an individual’s person. An example of this is the European Court of Human Rights case Sorguç v. Turkey.10

A professor at Istanbul University of Technology criticised the system for examination of assistant professors, arguing that it led to lower quality. In an article voicing this criticism, he referred to a professor, who had been given his position as follows: «[H]e managed to pass the assistant professorship examination before another panel, whose members were not from the construction management department, and without publishing a single article […]». Turkish courts deemed this an attack on the reputation of the person concerned, because the article insinuated that the professor would not have passed the examination had a different examination model been used and if a different panel had assessed him.

The European Court of Human Rights based its ruling on the assumption that Sorguç had written what he did in good faith, and also pointed out that the professor referred to was not mentioned by name. It argued that the unnamed professor had to accept being spoken of in this way: «[T]he Court underlines the importance of academic freedom, which comprises the academics’ freedom to express freely their opinion about the institution or system in which they work and freedom to distribute knowledge and truth without restriction.»

The Supreme Court of Norway also adheres to the view that academic freedom of expression includes not only discussion of academic questions, but also the right to criticise institutions and the systems necessary for employees to perform their academic activities.11

However, it is not the case that framing expressions in an academic context provides a carte blanche, placing scholars above the law and other considerations, such as, for example, a reasonable working environment.12 While the threshold is high, in very serious cases, these kinds of considerations may outweigh the interests of academic freedom of expression. This was the case in an instance where the University of Oslo dismissed a history professor. He had widely distributed e-mails criticising colleagues in connection with the organisation of examinations and also refused to attend meetings, including dialogue meetings with the employer at various levels. He had contributed to a difficult working environment over a long period of time. Even with the very broad latitude that academic staff have to «disagree with the management and others», he also had to duty to «show a certain degree of consideration in his conduct towards his colleagues and others he comes into contact with in his position. He also has a duty to take the working environment into consideration. In the gravest cases, freedom of expression will also have to yield in an arena like this, with the result that expressions that are inappropriate due to their form, time, forum, scope or harmful effects may provide grounds for dismissal.»

Academic institutions are not allowed to chastise or sanction academics who express themselves as academics on matters outside their areas of expertise.13 In a case from 2018, a professor of German was invited to appear on a television programme where the topic of discussion was the relationship between the EU and Turkey. He informed the department management, which decided that it was not appropriate for him to participate in an area outside his own field of expertise. The professor nevertheless took part in the television programme, resulting in a reprimand from the vice dean. The disciplinary board at the university held that even academic staff had to accept some guidelines for television appearances outside their fields of expertise. The European Court of Human Rights determined that this was an infringement of his freedom of expression. Although the reprimand had no major consequences, these kinds of sanctions could have a general chilling effect on the readiness of professors to express themselves publicly. It must also be possible to have this kind of interference with freedom of expression tried in the courts, in order to prevent the university administration from abusing its discretionary powers.

The protection of the freedom of expression in Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights is essentially a «negative» right. Negative rights define what states cannot do to their citizens – in this case, that they cannot interfere with or cannot place restrictions on their freedom of expression and information.

However, both provisions also imply a «positive» right. Positive rights define what states must do for their citizens. In this case, the positive right entails an obligation for the state to create conditions that facilitate freedom of expression and information in practice.14

The positive obligations are not mentioned in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, but have been clarified through the legal practice of the European Court of Human Rights.15 This duty is laid down in Article 100 (6) of the Norwegian Constitution: «The authorities of the state shall create conditions that facilitate open and enlightened public discourse.» The «authorities of the state» shall be understood broadly to include everyone who administers and exercises public authority. The positive obligation means that the state shall create conditions that facilitate freedom of expression and information in general, but also academic freedom of expression in particular (cf. the formulation «enlightened»). This means that managers in academic institutions that administer public authority also have a duty to create conditions that facilitate freedom of expression and information.

The more detailed content of the positive obligation can be elaborated in legislation or other regulations and can entail obligations for private legal entities, as well as public ones. An example of this is section 1-1 (c) of the Working Environment Act, which stipulates that one of the purposes of the Act is to facilitate a good climate of expression in the undertaking. The Universities and University Colleges Act also contains rules that supplement the duty to promote and safeguard freedom of expression and information, e.g. in the purpose of the Act in section 1-1, the duties ascribed to institutions in section 1-3, and in the specification of the institutional and individual freedoms and responsibilities in section 1-5. The Commission’s proposed amendments to section 1-5 (see section 7.2.2) are intended to contribute to the further realisation of Article 100 (6) of the Norwegian Constitution in academia.

5.1.2 The Universities and University Colleges Act

Act no. 15 of 1 April 2005 relating to universities and university colleges applies to all universities and university colleges that provide educational programmes accredited by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT); see section 1-2 for a more detailed delimitation of the scope of application of the Act. This Act regulates various aspects of academic freedom. The Commission explains some of the milestones along the way to the current regulation. We will return to some of the points here in our proposed amendments to the Act in section 7.2.2.

The Underdal Commission (Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2006: 19)

The Underdal Commission16 was tasked with «… examining whether statutory regulation of individual academic freedom is useful, and how to codify and clarify this freedom in accordance with generally accepted norms and current practice, within the powers that the law assigns to the institution itself».

The Commission’s report NOU 2006: 19 Akademisk frihet [Academic freedom] with proposals for revision of section 1-5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act was well received and remains an important document in respect of the foundation for academic freedom. The Report includes a separate annex (Annex 1), prepared by the commission member, Professor Johan Giertsen, on academic freedom of expression.

In chapter 6, the Commission concludes by proposing a reformulation of section 1-5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act in order to further clarify this principle and give it a firmer legislative basis. In short, it was proposed that (1) universities and university colleges would be assigned a positive duty to promote and defend academic freedom, including a duty to ensure that academic activities are carried out in accordance with accepted ethical principles, (2) the existing provisions concerning institutional academic autonomy would remain in place, and (3) that academic freedom – understood as the rights and duties of the individual staff members (researchers and teachers) – should be codified.

Current section 1-5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act

The current section 1-5 entered into force on 1 January 2008, and was adopted in accordance with the Underdal Commission’s proposal that individual academic freedom for staff in teaching and research positions should be codified. The provisions now cover both individual academic freedom and institutional academic freedom (i.e. autonomy). This happened 15 years after institutional academic autonomy was first codified.

The Universities and University Colleges Act Commission – Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2020: 3

The Universities and University Colleges Act Commission (the Aune Commission) submitted its proposal for a new Universities and University Colleges Act in February 2020 (see NOU 2020: 3 Ny lov om universiteter og høyskoler [Proposal for a new Act relating to universities and university colleges]). Chapter 15 of the report discusses academic freedom. The Commission proposed that the content of section 1-5 on academic freedom and responsibility be continued. Furthermore, they proposed a clarification in the first paragraph of the provision to emphasise further that the institutions have a special responsibility to protect the employees’ exercise of their academic freedom.

The Commission also discussed the academic freedom of employees in the sector. They pointed out that bullying and intimidation of academic staff who take part in the public debate is a growing problem. The Commission proposed a clarification in the statutory provision on academic freedom, so that the institutions’ responsibility to defend the employees’ exercise of academic freedom is more clearly elucidated.

The Commission found that the current provision implies that «the institutions’ statutory responsibilities include supporting their employees in such situations» (in this context, «such» means when employees are subjected to targeted campaigns, intimidation, harassment, etc.). At the same time, the Commission also accepted that developments in society may provide grounds to emphasise further the responsibility of the institution’s management to protect their employees from bullying and intimidation. The Commission also held that the proposal would serve to protect individual employees from being subjected to sanctions from the employer in a situation where the employee has exercised their academic freedom of expression and faced reactions that the management finds unpleasant.

The Aune Commission proposed the following additions to section 1-5, first sentence, of the Universities and University Colleges Act: «Universities and university colleges must promote and safeguard academic freedom, and the employees who exercise it

The Commission received 44 consultative statements on academic freedom in connection with the consultation round for the report. Statements were received from the Norwegian Association of Researchers, the Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees, the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO), and all of the public and private higher education institutions, among others. Fourteen of these stakeholders commented on this point, without stating whether or not they supported the proposal.

Some 28 of the institutions invited to comment supported the Commission’s proposed amendments. At the same time, the Ministry was urged to use this opportunity to reflect in depth on the content of the provision.

Among other things, the Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees (FEK) stated that the section provides a statutory basis for various freedoms that are important for the activities of universities and university colleges, such as academic freedom, artistic freedom, freedom of research, academic autonomy and freedom of expression, but that the heading «Academic freedom» does not reflect the breadth of the provision. FEK was of the view that the heading would better match the content if it were changed to «Freedom and responsibilities», for example. Furthermore, they believed that one aspect that is missing from both the current wording and in the proposal from the Universities and University Colleges Act Commission is collegial self-regulation at the institutional level. This is a central element in the traditional understanding of academic freedom, which it might be advantageous to state specifically in this section.

Several of the institutions invited to comment, including the Norwegian Association of Researchers, highlighted the strengthening of academic freedom as a long-overdue measure, drawing particular attention to the addition that the institutions also have a special responsibility to protect and defend their employees’ exercise of academic freedom. They pointed out that academic freedom is currently under growing pressure. Making the institutions actively responsible for protecting academic freedom and their employees in their exercising of this will help increase understanding of what academic freedom is and why it is necessary, as well as clarify various challenges and boundaries.

The National Union of Students in Norway (NSO) supported codification of the individual researcher’s academic freedom, but noted that all research should adhere to recognised practices and academic standards, regardless of whether the individual concerned is a member of staff or a student, and that students must therefore be mentioned in the text of the Act. The Federation of Norwegian Professional Associations (Akademikerne), the Norwegian Civil Service Union (NTL) and the Norwegian Society of Graduate Technical and Scientific Professionals (Tekna) were positive to the proposal.

The Ministry of Education and Research’s follow-up – legislative bill Proposition no. 111 to the Storting (2020–2021):

Some of the Aune Commission’s proposals were followed up in a legislative bill submitted to the Storting in spring 2021 (see Proposition no. 111 to the Storting (2020–2021))17. In respect of academic freedom, the Ministry stated, among other things, (section 2.2.1):

The right to academic freedom is enshrined in section 1-5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act. The right of universities and university colleges to self-determination in academic issues, i.e. the institutional dimension of academic freedom, was incorporated into the Universities and University Colleges Act in 1989. Individual academic freedom was codified in 2007. In this bill, we use the term «academic freedom» as a collective term covering both the institutional and individual aspects of academic freedom. […]
The Ministry agrees with the Aune Commission that the Underdal Commission’s understanding and discussion of the fundamental principle of academic freedom still stands strong, even today. The Ministry also agrees with the Aune Commission’s proposal to continue the content of section 1-5 of the current Act on academic freedom and responsibilities. The Ministry also agrees that the institutions have a responsibility to protect the employees’ exercise of academic freedom. In the Ministry’s opinion, the Commission’s proposed clarification does not entail any material changes. The proposal will not provide employees with any stronger protection or impose on the management of an institution a stronger duty to intervene than it has today. Instead, an amendment in line with the proposal may lead to more uncertainty about how far the institutions’ responsibilities extend. The Ministry therefore proposes not to implement the Commission’s proposals on this point.
Furthermore, the Ministry agrees that there are aspects of current developments in society, particularly in certain countries, that may raise concerns. There are tendencies towards polarisation in the debate about knowledge, and in this context academic freedom, independence, and quality assurance are becoming increasingly important in order to maintain a high level of confidence in research-based knowledge in society. The fundamental values of academia and the statutory provisions that protect academic freedom remain firm, but there is a need to upgrade policies and systems to meet the new era, with new media, new technologies and new challenges. These are questions that the Ministry will continue to work on, including in the preparation of the long-term plan for research and higher education for the period 2023–2032. In this work, the Ministry will appoint an expert group that will be tasked with investigating certain aspects of academic freedom and responsibilities.

The expert group mentioned above is the Commission that is presenting its conclusions in this report.

The Ministry wrote the following about international initiatives in this area:

Individual and institutional academic freedom are also the values highlighted in the Magna Charta Universitatum that was signed by 388 rectors and heads of universities from all over Europe on 18 September 1988, in connection with the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna. This marked the start of the so-called Bologna process.
In October 2020, Norway signed an international declaration on freedom of research – the Bonn Declaration on Freedom of Scientific Research. This declaration supports academic freedom as a fundamental principle in academia, and states, among other things, that the individual researcher has the freedom to choose the method and topics of their research. By signing this declaration, Norway has committed to actively working to protect academic freedom. In November 2020, the ministers in the Bologna Process adopted a communiqué in which, among other things, they agreed on a common definition of academic freedom for all the countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). A separate statement that further expounds upon academic freedom and problems associated with it was adopted as an annex to the communiqué. Through these decisions, Norway has also committed to promoting and protecting academic freedom.

5.1.3 Other regulations of importance for academic freedom of expression

A number of statutory and regulatory provisions provide constraints and guidelines for academic work, at both the institutional and the individual level. All of these can affect academic freedom in various ways, and thus also academic freedom of expression. In addition to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the Aune Commission mentions

[…] the Regulations on financial management in central government (the Financial Management Regulations), which are laid down by the Ministry of Finance. The closest equivalent in the private sector is the Accounting Act. The institutions’ autonomy is further limited by, among others, the Public Administration Act, the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, the Research Ethics Act, the Civil Service Act and the Working Environment Act.18

Any statutory provision that limits the general freedom of expression may also have implications for academic freedom of expression. They may affect both what academic staff and students can lawfully express, and what content there are legal sanctions against, limiting what they can hear or read. Examples of these kinds of limitations include:

  • penal provisions that prohibit certain types of statements, such as the prohibition against

    • incitement to a criminal act (section 183 of the Penal Code)

    • aggravated hate speech (section 185 of the Penal Code)

    • threats (sections 263 and 264 of the Penal Code)

    • harassing conduct, harassment and stalking (sections 266 and 266 a of the Penal Code)

    • violation of privacy (section 267 of the Penal Code)

    • sharing of offensive images (sections 267 a and b of the Penal Code)

  • liability for defamation (section 3-6a of the Compensatory Damages Act)

  • provisions to prevent discrimination and harassment (sections 6 and 13 of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act and section 4-3 (3) of the Working Environment Act)

  • statutory or contractual obligations regarding confidentiality

  • labour law provisions on the employer’s right to direct and supervise their workforce and employees’ duty of loyalty, the right to report irregularities («whistleblowing») and requirements pertaining to the working environment

Ethical rules also entail constraints for academic freedom of expression in some situations, as we will return to in section 6.3.3.

The Civil Service Act and the Working Environment Act regulate, among other things, the employer’s right to direct and supervise their workforce. This may have an impact on the freedoms of academic staff in a number of different ways.

Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2006: 19 Academic freedom contained a proposal for the amendment of section 1-5 of the Universities and University Colleges Act, in part to clarify the relationship between the employer’s right to direct and supervise their workforce and individual academic freedom. The cited reason for the amendment was that the provision would be included as part of the framework «for the contractual relationship under labour law between each individual employee and the institution as an employer. The employer’s rights as an employer do not entitle him or her to interfere with the employee’s exercise of the rights and duties covered by the draft legislation. A situation where an employee does not comply with the instructions of the employer in relation to academic activity which is protected by the law, does not constitute grounds for initiation of sanctions based on the contract of employment, such as reprimands, transfer, dismissal or discharge, cf. the Civil Service Act for employees in state higher education institutions and the Working Environment Act for employees in private institutions. The employer is also precluded from making use of other, more indirect sanctions, such as entirely or partially excluding an employee from the relevant academic community at the institution, or denying him or her access to the necessary research resources on these grounds. The rights pursuant to the draft legislation may not be waived in individual or collective employment contracts.»19

As described in section 5.1.1 above, academic expression enjoys very strong protection, also under labour law. «It is undisputed that freedom of expression ought to be greater in academia than for public servants in general. Legislation and Norwegian and international legal practice leave no doubt about that,» writes Vidar Strømme in the ISF report Ytringsfrihet i akademia [Freedom of speech in academia], where current practice is reviewed.20

Here Strømme repeatedly stresses the importance of an expression having been made in an academic context. The fact that the purpose of the expression is the seeking of truth may have an impact on how they must be interpreted, in purely linguistic terms.

Interpretation is a key point for everyone who is to comply with and relate to laws that set limits for what they can express. We will therefore now provide a brief account of interpretation:

All legislation that regulates expressions in some way presupposes two interpretation processes. The first is legal, i.e. it must be established what the rule in the statutory provisions entails. The second is linguistic: since the potentially unlawful deed is an expression, the expression must also be interpreted. The expression will only be unlawful if the interpretation shows that the meaning of the expression is covered by the statutory provision.

The linguistic interpretation must be concrete and must be based on the wording of the expression, as this is understood in accordance with standard linguistic norms. Central starting points for the linguistic interpretation are what the person who said something can reasonably be assumed to have meant, and what a listener can reasonably be assumed to have understood. This, in turn, will depend on the context in which the statement is made, who is voicing an opinion, and who is listening. For example, similar statements made by a stand-up comedian in a comedy club and a serious politician on the main national television news programme will be understood differently.

The purely subjective starting points – the speaker’s intention and the listener’s perception – are important, but are not in themselves sufficient to establish the meaning of an utterance. Both in actual and legal terms, determining the meaning rests on an objective norm as a general starting point. Threatening a person in a way that is likely to cause serious fear or anxiety is a criminal offence, even if the person who did it «was only joking». Uninformed, but not malicious, use of incorrect gender pronouns is not harassment, even if the person who is mispronouned experiences it as such. The subjective starting points must be viewed in light of the communication situation as a whole. From a legal point of view, the image that is used in this process is how «an ordinary newspaper reader» would reasonably understand the statement, in the specific context.21

In addition, a special principle of legal interpretation applies to laws with penal sanctions. This affects the legal interpretation, but also the linguistic interpretation: the principle of legality. In connection with Acts of law, this means that the law must not be interpreted expansively when the state’s strongest instrument of power might come into play. If the law is interpreted expansively, there is a risk that actions for which the Storting did not intend to impose punishment will also be punished – and the punishment will lack a legislative basis. When determining whether an expression is punishable, it is the expression itself that is the potentially criminal offence. This means that also in connection with interpreting expressions, care must be taken not to interpret them expansively. If an expression is interpreted as having meanings that were not reasonably explicitly expressed or that are not obvious from the context, there is a risk that a person might be punished for something more unacceptable than they intended and perhaps their choice of words conveyed. The Supreme Court of Norway has stated in several judgments: «no one should risk criminal liability due to a statement being assigned a meaning that is not explicitly expressed, if this cannot be derived from the context with a reasonably high level of certainty».22

5.1.4 Regulations for international collaboration

Norway has had a regulatory framework for export control for a long time.23 Under the export control system, a range of products, technologies and services may not be exported without an export licence from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The regulations can also introduce restrictions on the export of sensitive knowledge (transfer of knowledge) with military applications.

The export control system has two purposes: to ensure that defence-related products, technology and services are only exported from Norway in accordance with Norwegian security and defence policy; and that exports of dual-use items do not contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological weapons) or their means of delivery. The export control regulations are administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has laid down guidelines for Norwegian educational institutions’ work on the admission and employment of foreign nationals in subject areas where the transfer of knowledge could contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery. The guidelines are intended to help educational institutions ensure that relations with foreign nationals take place within the bounds of the export control system. One such guideline is that the admission of foreign students and the appointment of foreign persons to positions in sensitive disciplines requires particular vigilance and caution. The regulations also apply to collaborative research partnerships and the sharing of information and research results with foreign institutions, in connection with other disclosure of this kind of information, and in connection with participation at or hosting courses and conferences. In this respect, the regulations can come into application and restrict the freedom of expression of students and academic staff, thus also affecting the academic freedom of expression.

Norwegian academics, research hubs and industry are increasingly being exposed to attempts to circumvent the export control rules.24 In a report on the authorities’ work on export control of strategic goods,25 the Office of the Auditor General of Norway identified significant weaknesses in the authorities’ system for export control of defence-related products and dual-use items, including preventive activities in relation to trade and industry and academia. The Export Control Regulations are currently under revision, and a consultation paper from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on effective ways to monitor the transfer of knowledge is expected in spring 2022. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pointed out that the topic raises several dilemmas, and it must be accepted that, in certain circumstances, national security will outweigh academic freedom.26

5.2 The governance system for universities and university colleges including the funding system

5.2.1 Management by objectives and results

The academic staff at universities and university colleges have three main work tasks: research, teaching and dissemination. As a concept, «dissemination» can be interpreted in various ways, ranging from traditional communication of knowledge, i.e. participation in the public debate and helping spread new knowledge, to also encompassing innovation, commercialisation and other interaction with society outside the institution.

Pursuant to section 1-1 of+ the Norwegian Universities and University Colleges Act, the purpose of universities and university colleges is to pursue the following objectives:

  • a. provide higher education at a high international level

  • b. conduct research and academic and artistic development work at a high international level

  • c. disseminate knowledge of the institution’s activities and promote an understanding of the principle of academic freedom and application of scientific and artistic methods and results in the teaching of students, in the institution’s own general activity as well as in public administration, in cultural life and in business and industry

  • d. contribute to environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development

In the budget proposal for 2022, these objectives have been converted into the following goals for universities and university colleges for inclusion in the system for governance by objectives and results:27

  • high quality in education and research

  • research and education for welfare, value creation, and adaptation

  • good access to education

  • an efficient, diverse, and robust higher education sector and research system

There are national governance parameters linked to each of these sectoral goals. These parameters are set out in the Ministry’s letter of allocation to the individual institutions.

Many of these parameters are related to teaching (student completion rate, number of graduates, time spent on academic work, international exchanges, etc.). In terms of research, «number of publication points per academic fulltime equivalent» is one such parameter, in addition to «funding from the EU», «income from the Research Council of Norway» and «research in STEM subjects».

Dissemination work is not linked to governance parameters and therefore not captured to a similar degree. Perhaps the closest indicator is the governance parameter «other income from sponsored and commission-based activities (‘BOA’) per academic fulltime equivalent».

In addition to the national governance parameters, which guide the Ministry in its governance of the institutions, the institutions’ results on other parameters related to dissemination and civic engagement are also reported in the annual Status Report on Higher Education in Norway. These parameters also receive some attention in the Ministry’s governance of the institutions. In terms of civic engagement, however, these parameters are linked to commercialisation of research findings (patents, licences).

In other words, the system for governance by objectives and results provides few incentives from the Ministry for the management of the institutions or individual scholars to give particular priority to dissemination work. Dissemination is therefore often largely a personal affair.

Changes to the governance of public universities and university colleges

The white paper Report no. 19 to the Storting (2020–2021) Styring av statlige universiteter og høyskoler [Governance of public universities and university colleges] proposed a number of changes to the governance of public universities and university colleges. The overarching national goals were to be continued, but would henceforth apply to the sector as a whole. This means that they will no longer be used to measure the individual institution’s performance; instead they will be used to enable the Ministry to monitor that the national objectives are being achieved at the aggregate level.

In view of the goal of more strategic and differentiated governance, the government will discontinue the national governance parameters from 2023. Henceforth, the parameters set by the Ministry in the letters of allocation will be exclusively related to the goals set out in the individual institution’s development agreement. This will better adapt the Ministry’s governance to the profile and prerequisites of the individual institutions.

The Ministry will still require the institutions to report on how they have contributed to the achievement of the national objectives for the sector as a whole.

Development agreements

Development agreements were gradually introduced in three rounds in the period 2016–2018. A development agreement is a written, non-binding agreement between the Ministry of Education and Research and an individual public higher education institution, in which the parties agree on a set of goals and objectives for the next three or four years.

The purpose of the development agreements is to contribute to high quality and a diverse sector through clear institutional profiles and better division of labour. Diversity can enhance mobility, collaboration and the division of labour among the institutions and contribute to renewal and adaptation in the sector. Variety and diversity are also a manifestation of the regional differences in needs for knowledge and expertise in the labour market and trade and industry. More differentiated governance will help safeguard and develop the individual institution’s civic mission related to the regional and local needs. Furthermore, the development agreements are intended to provide a clearer framework for dealing with specific challenges, both for the sector as a whole and for the individual institution. The agreements will form the starting point for the governance meetings between the Ministry and the individual institution.

The development goals and parameters for the individual institution are formulated on the basis of the need for development or change within a specified period of time. The development goals will therefore not always cover the full breadth of the institution’s current activities. However, the goals should describe the desired state or outcome in areas that the institution has a real opportunity to influence. The goals must be long-term, with an initial period of four years, although they may also have a longer horizon.

The current development agreements apply until the end of 2022, and revised development agreements will be drawn up for the period 2023–2026 for all the public institutions. The development agreements will be finally determined by the Ministry in the letter of allocation for 2023.

5.2.2 Funding – the higher education sector

The financial parameters for the higher education sector are decisive for all aspects of academic work. In this section, we describe the current funding system for universities and university colleges in Norway. The institute sector and the health trusts also have funding systems that are partially based on performance and academic publication.

Universities and university colleges are funded through block funding. On average (2022), the block grant for the sector consists of 66 per cent basic funding and 34 per cent performance-dependent funding. There is variation among the institutions. The block grant awarded to each institution is determined on the basis of the allocation for the previous year’s balanced budget, with the necessary changes added (e.g. based on number of student places, number of PhD candidates). The performance-based score, i.e. that part of the allocation that depends on how well the individual universities and university colleges do on eight quantitative indicators, has both an open and a closed budget framework. Within the open budget framework, the better institutions do on these indicators, the more funding is given to the sector. For the indicators with a closed budget framework, the allocation to the sector does not increase, even if the institutions achieve better results; instead the available funding is distributed among the institutions according to their results. In other words, closed budget framework is a zero-sum game where the individual institution’s score is relative to that of others (see the share of the total allocation) in terms of:

  • number of ECTS credits (open budget framework): 22.5% of the total allocation

  • number of exchange students, including Erasmus+ students (open budget framework): 0.2%

  • number of graduates (open budget framework): 5.4%

  • number of doctoral candidates (open budget framework): 1.7%

  • funding from the EU (closed budget framework): 1.4%

  • funding from the Research Council of Norway and regional research funds (closed budget framework): 0.8%

  • income from activities funded by grants and commissions, so-called sponsored and commission-based activity («BOA») (closed budget framework): 0.8%

  • academic publication (publication points) (closed budget framework): 1.5%

The Ministry urges the institutions not to «simply follow the national funding system», but rather to create their own internal system. Nevertheless, many institutions largely follow the national system.

Higher production of ECTS credits and higher numbers of graduates thus provide the greatest opportunity for an increased budget framework for the individual institution.

The research incentives are fairly limited. The funds linked to research are distributed among the institutions within a closed budget framework: and no more money is allocated to the sector as a whole, even if there are increases in the results for these parameters at the aggregate level. Despite this, there is a considerable focus on the indicator for academic publication in particular, from the institutions and individual scholars alike. This is because the publication indicator is also used to measure quality and scholarly merit. The Ministry also pay a great deal of attention to this indicator. This focus starts with the management of the institutions, and then trickles down through the system. Some institutions also use the indicator in the institution’s internal funding distribution system, further reinforcing the importance attached to it. Career-oriented academic staff are also focused on this indicator as a measure of their academic merit, as publishing is regarded as a «make or break» factor in connection with recruitment to academic positions.

There is no indicator in the current funding system for dissemination activities. The closest indicator that addresses contributions to society as a whole is income from sponsored and commission-based activities («BOA»), i.e. activities where society is willing to pay for knowledge development.

A dissemination indicator has been considered – and rejected – several times

In the 2004 budget, the then Ministry of Education and Research announced that it wanted a performance indicator for dissemination, and asked Universities Norway to appoint a committee to look into this. The committee was to elucidate the concept of dissemination and propose relevant indicators. The committee’s report was submitted in June 2005.28

The Ministry held that some of the proposed indicators would be difficult to operationalise, and a new committee was therefore appointed, which submitted its report in spring 200629 (the Dissemination Committee II). Both committees used the following definition of dissemination as their point of departure:

Dissemination is defined as the transmission of information about academic results, working methods and attitudes by academic staff from a field of research out to the general public and/or users for the purpose of transfer of knowledge and insight. In this context, «users» refers to delimited groups that require the knowledge and technology in the practice of their occupation or profession, and institutions, organisations and others that can be equated with these.

The Dissemination Committee II proposed indicators related to

  • revenues (external income)

  • innovation (establishment of businesses, licences, student projects)

  • publications (books, teaching materials, academic resources, articles in journals, insight articles)

  • lectures and presentations at user-oriented conferences

  • media and direct dissemination (public events and mass media)

In 2006, the Ministry of Education and Research appointed an expert group (the Vagstad Commission)30 to look at the funding system for the higher education sector from a theoretical perspective. In the report published in May 2007, the expert group wrote:

… we recommend that no separate dissemination component be introduced in the funding model for the higher education sector. We believe that there are far simpler and more cost-effective ways to incentivise dissemination activities.

The rationale behind this conclusion was:

  • uncertainty about whether the dissemination parameters proposed by the Dissemination Committee II would in fact stimulate the desired dissemination activities (many indicators – focus on the «simplest»)

  • the additional work and reporting this would entail for the institutions and for the individual researcher (including manual registration)

  • dissemination is more heterogeneous than research and communication of research findings

  • dissemination work is difficult to quantify and verify (quality assurance)

In the white paper Report no. 7 to the Storting (2007–2008) Statusrapport for Kvalitetsreformen i høgre utdanning [Status report on the Quality Reform in higher education], the Ministry of Education and Research concluded:

The Ministry is not proposing to introduce a separate component for dissemination in the funding system at the present time. However, the Ministry will work to improve the basis for statistics and performance indicators and will reconsider a dissemination component in the funding system at a later opportunity.

The question of a dissemination component was also raised in the Hægeland report (2015) Finansiering for kvalitet, mangfold og samspill [Funding for quality, diversity and interaction].31 This commission also looked at the funding system for universities and university colleges. The Hægeland Commission was more concerned with interaction with other actors and value creation in their discussion of dissemination, but they too concluded that it was not pertinent to introduce a dissemination indicator. However, it was this commission that proposed the introduction of development agreements, as described in section 5.3.1. The Commission proposed that 5 per cent of the total budget framework should be linked to these agreements. Development agreements have since been introduced, but without budget funding being attached to them.

In 2007, Universities Norway also had a committee that looked at dissemination indicators for artistic development work.32 This committee concluded that it would be extremely demanding (and academically inadvisable) to develop good indicators of this kind of work for use in the funding system.

In 2016, the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) was commissioned to assess a dissemination indicator for peer-reviewed dissemination.33 They concluded that researchers’ dissemination activities are seldom subject to peer review (with the possible exception of the publication of books, where the reviewer is usually paid). The funding system ought therefore not to use peer-reviewed dissemination as a delimiting factor.

In the 2017 budget, a number of adjustments were made to the funding system for universities and university colleges. A new indicator relating to income from sponsored and commission-based activities («BOA») was introduced within the performance-based redistribution part of the budget system. The argument for introducing this indicator was related to the institutions’ civic mission (cf. Proposition no. 1 to the Storting (2016–2017)):

In order to fulfil their civic mission, universities and university colleges must collaborate closely with society and industry. This collaboration is crucial for innovation, development and value creation and to address the major challenges facing society today. The government is introducing a new indicator for income from sponsored and commission-based activities (BOA income) to stimulate institutions to develop their civic role and promote contact with society and industry.

In autumn 2021, the Ministry of Education and Research appointed an expert commission to undertake a comprehensive review of the funding of universities and university colleges, as part of its follow-up of the white paper Report no. 19 to the Storting (2020–2021) Styring av statlige universiteter og høyskoler [Governance of public universities and university colleges].34 This commission’s deadline for submitting the report was 15 March 2022.

5.2.3 Reporting of dissemination activities

Cristin (Current research information system in Norway) is a national research information system that is currently organised under the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir).35 Cristin has the following functions:

  • collect information about Norwegian research and make it available to other users

  • simplify research-administrative tasks by facilitating the reuse of research information

  • follow up the reporting of academic publications to the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Health and Care Services (reporting to the Norwegian Scientific Index – NVI)

Institutions that receive part of their funding through performance-based redistribution of the basic funding must report their academic publications each year. Cristin receives the reports and processes the data. The data are then used by the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills – HK-dir (for universities and university colleges), the Research Council of Norway – NFR (for the research institutes), and the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education – NIFU (for the health trusts), which in turn generate data that are used as the starting point for the funding of the various research institutions. The ministries and the Research Council of Norway then use this material in their allocation of funding.

The Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers is operated by the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) in collaboration with the National Board of Scholarly Publishing (NPU), on commission from the Ministry of Education and Research. The publication channels are the basis for the publication indicator36 used in the funding systems for higher education institutions, research institutes and health trusts. The National Board of Scholarly Publishing (NPU) is responsible for the academic aspects and approves publication channels and their level (level 1 or level 2), based on proposals from the discipline-specific strategic units (approx. 80) in Universities Norway.

Cristin is more than a database of academic publications. Reports, lectures, interview participation, textbooks, etc. can also be registered. Some institutions have arrangements for internal rewarding of research dissemination activities that are not included in the reporting to the Norwegian Scientific Index (NVI).

The main categories for reporting of dissemination activities are (with the number of subcategories in brackets):

  • Journal publication (13)

  • Conference contribution and academic presentation (4)

  • Book (9)

  • Report, thesis, dissertation (8)

  • Part of book or report (7)

  • Translation work (2)

  • Media contribution (4)

  • Artistic and museum presentation (5)

  • Artistic work (6)

  • Product (8)

  • Information materials (4)

The reporting in Cristin beyond information needed for registration in the Norwegian Scientific Index (NVI) is probably inadequate. Since academic staff do not receive any recognition for this kind of work, and because registration is time-consuming, many do not prioritise this.

The inadequate and imprecise reporting of the institutions’ dissemination activities is something of a paradox in light of the fact that Norway is among the countries with the best and most detailed reporting of educational and research data in the world (cf. section 5.5). This is probably partly due to the fact that greater importance has been attached to educational and research activities than dissemination activities in general, but also that educational and research activities are components in the funding system. When financial incentives are tied to activities, precise and quality-assured data are essential.

5.3 Position structure and career paths today

The position structure in the higher education sector in Norway is hierarchical, with defined career paths that are subject to meritocratic criteria for promotion, i.e. positions are allocated on the basis of intellectual abilities and capacity. There are currently two main career tracks in the higher education sector. As a general rule, the «professor» professorship track runs from PhD candidate («stipendiat») via postdoctoral fellow («postdoktor») and/or associate professor («førsteamanuensis») to professor. The «dosent» professorship track generally runs from university college lecturer («høyskolelærer»), via assistant professor at a university college («høyskolelektor») or assistant professor at a university («universitetslektor»), then associate professor («førstelektor») to «dosent» professor («dosent»).37 The «dosent» professorship track is more closely linked to development work and pedagogical activities than the «professor» professorship track, which is generally linked to the individual’s research merit score. Nowadays, the «dosent» professorship track is less commonly used, although people are still being appointed to assistant professor («lektor») and associate professor («førstelektor») positions, especially in the programmes of professional study. In addition to these two tracks, people are also employed in purely research positions, which are often temporary or «fixed term» and often in connection with externally funded projects.

The requirements for the various academic positions, i.e. university college lecturer («høyskolelærer»), assistant professor at a university college («høyskolelektor»), assistant professor at a university («universitetslektor»), associate professor «førstelektor»), associate professor («førsteamanuensis»), «dosent» professsor («dosent» ) and professor («professor») are regulated by the Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts.38 These are general criteria for employment in teaching and research positions at the institutions covered by the Universities and University Colleges Act. In addition to these general requirements, the institutions can establish their own requirements for the individual type of position. People employed in academic positions can apply for promotion.

The assessment for appointment to academic positions has generally been based on research results, especially in the «professor» professorship track. More recently, however, and as a result of the white paper «Quality culture in higher education»39, greater importance has been attached to teaching qualifications. Since 2018, this has also been stipulated in the Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts, in section 1-2 (3) and section 1-4 (3) on the positions of professor and associate professor.

Over the past decade, various international actors have identified a need to make changes to the merit ranking and evaluation systems for researchers. The international San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) was launched in 2012. In Norway, this is supported by the Research Council of Norway, among others.40 The declaration contains a set of recommendations on good practices for measuring the quality of research, stressing that factors other than Journal Impact Factor alone should be used in assessments in connection with funding, appointment or promotion. The EU has developed a framework for evaluating research careers that fully acknowledges the transition to Open Science practices. The Open Science Career Assessment Matrix (OS-CAM) provides a range of possible evaluation criteria, including knowledge exchange with partners outside academia. In Norway, Universities Norway has followed up this initiative and has prepared a guide for recognition and rewards in academic careers (NOR-CAM), inspired by OS-CAM.41 The European Commission recently issued a call for applications to form a coalition that will work on reforming research assessment, where also the manner in which researchers are assessed is to be improved.42 The Commission does not know whether these initiatives have led or will lead to actual changes in assessment for appointment and/or promotion. To the best of the Commission’s knowledge, nor have the authorities attached importance to incentives, results or plans to increase dissemination activity at universities and university colleges, such as through their governance of underlying agencies and reporting requirements.

The framework for the positions of PhD candidate («stipendiat») and post-doctoral research fellow («postdoktor») is laid down in the Regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (PhD candidate), vitenskapelig assistant (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident).43 However, it is up to the individual institutions to determine the specific academic requirements for employment in these temporary positions.

Over the past 20 years, there have been major changes in the recruitment landscape. A joint PhD degree has been introduced, and a Norwegian variant of «tenure track», known as «innstegsstillingen» [entry position], has been adopted. During these years, strategic escalation of recruitment positions has presented new possibilities and challenges (see the Ministry of Education and Research’s strategy for researcher recruitment and career development from 2020).44

In 2020, 1634 doctoral candidates defended their theses. The gender balance has remained fairly stable since 2012, albeit with major differences within the various fields, For example, in technology subjects around 25 per cent of the candidates are women, while women account for approximately 60 per cent of the candidates in social sciences and medicine. The share of foreign nationals taking doctoral education in Norway is stable at around 40 per cent. Here, too, there are variations among the disciplines, and within the fields of science and technology, over 50 per cent of the candidates are foreign nationals. More and more people are being recruited to post-doctoral research positions from abroad, and in 2018 more than 70 per cent were immigrants or descendants of immigrants. It is unclear how large a proportion of the foreign post-doctoral fellows leave Norway.45

Approximately 10 per cent of doctoral theses are written in Norwegian, primarily in the social sciences, humanities and arts.

About a third of people who complete a doctoral degree go on to a career outside the higher education sector. In some disciplines, such as technology, two-thirds of graduates leave academia. Thus, there are many people in the workforce today who have a doctoral education, and this has been a conscious development on the part of the authorities. Some 61 per cent of doctoral candidates would like to pursue a career as a researcher in the higher education sector, the institute sector or the private sector.46

There is a special PhD in artistic development work for the performing and creative arts, based on artistic methods. The PhD in artistic development work shall both qualify candidates for further artistic development work within the artistic–aesthetic field, and raise the level of competence of academic staff in order to provide the qualifications required for employment in academic positions in the higher education sector.

Most academic staff in the higher education sector divide their time between research and teaching, in so-called «combined positions». Dissemination is a task that is explicitly included in some of the universities’ definition of research and development (R&D) time, with expectations that some of the allocated R&D time will be spent on research dissemination or other transfer of knowledge, such as participating in the public debate. Dissemination activity is also a criterion for the allocation of R&D time at some of the institutions, although the Commission does not know the practical details of how this is practised.47

Currently, 12.8 per cent of employees in the higher education sector are in temporary positions (not including recruitment positions), which is higher than in the workforce in general (approximately 8 per cent in 2020).

5.4 Research – scope and funding

5.4.1 Research – actors and scope

Basic figures on research in Norway are published in the Report on Science and Technology Indicators for Norway («The Indicator Report»)48 – an annual report on the Norwegian research and innovation system prepared by the Research Council of Norway on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Research. Diku (now the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills – HK-dir) prepares the annual Status Report on Higher Education in Norway49, also on commission from the Ministry of Education and Research. One of the chapters of this report is dedicated to doctoral education and research.

The R&D statistics in Norway are divided into the following three R&D-performing sectors:

  • The business sector: operations and enterprises whose main purpose is to generate a financial profit.

  • The institute sector: industry-oriented and public-oriented research institutes and units with R&D as part of their activities, museums and health trusts that do not have a university hospital function, and private, not-for-profit hospitals.

  • The higher education sector: institutions that offer higher education; i.e. universities, private and public specialised colleges, and private and public university colleges. This sector also includes the university hospitals.

R&D (research and development work) is defined as any creative systematic activity undertaken in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this knowledge to devise new applications. Important criteria that must be met in order for an activity to be regarded as R&D are that it must be innovative, be creative, have uncertainty related to the result, be systematic, and be able to be transferred and/or reproduced.

In 2019, total spending on research and development in Norway amounted to almost NOK 77 billion, which represents real growth from the previous year of 2 per cent. R&D expenditure in the higher education sector amounted to NOK 26.3 billion, which is 34 per cent of the total, while the corresponding figure for the institute sector was just over NOK 15 billion, or 20 per cent. The business sector accounted for NOK 35.4 billion, or 46 per cent of the total spending on R&D. The higher education sector had real growth of 1 per cent.

The research institutes’ share of Norway’s total R&D production amounts to approximately NOK 13 billion per year.

In the R&D statistics, the health trusts are split between the higher education sector (the university hospitals) and the institute sector (other health trusts and private, not-for-profit hospitals). The health trusts’ total R&D expenditure in 2019 was estimated at NOK 4.8 billion, with real growth last year of 1 per cent. The six university hospitals accounted for more than three-quarters of the R&D activity. Excluding the business sector, the health trusts combined account for about half of all the medical and health-related R&D work carried out in Norway.

Doctoral degrees

In 2020, a total of 1,634 doctoral degrees were awarded at Norwegian universities, of which 848 were funded from the institutions’ own budget, 204 were funded by the Research Council of Norway, and 582 were funded by other external sources. This is the fourth consecutive year with a record number of doctoral degrees awarded. In 2020, 40 per cent of the doctoral graduates were non-Norwegian citizens.

Academic publication

In 2018, universities and university colleges accounted for 62 per cent of the academic publications in Norway. The health trusts accounted for 18 per cent, while 14 per cent were from research institutes. The remaining 5 per cent came from other actors (the business sector has little academic publication).

Compared with selected northern and central European countries, Norway is in the mid-range when measured by both the number of academic articles per 1,000 inhabitants and the relative citation ratio, i.e. how often the articles are cited.

5.4.2 Funding of research

Universities and university colleges

In 2020, the universities and university colleges had combined operating income in excess of NOK 51 billion. The distribution between the various sources of funding has remained stable over the past ten years. For public institutions, state support accounted for 79 per cent of the total operating income. Funding (grants) from competitive arenas run by the Research Council of Norway amounted to 7 per cent.

Research funding from the EU amounted to NOK 640 million in 2020, with steady annual growth since 2013. In addition, there is funding from the European Research Council (ERC grants).

Sponsored and commission-based («BOA») activity outside the Research Council of Norway, the regional research funds and the EU («other BOA income») is an indicator of the higher education sector’s interaction with the outside world. Other BOA income includes funding for both education and R&D from a wide range of sources and partners in the private sector, the public sector and NGOs. Public universities and university colleges had about NOK 3.6 billion in other BOA income in 2020, roughly unchanged from 2019.

The health trusts

The health trusts’ R&D activities are largely financed through the basic allocation from the central government (close to 80 per cent), including earmarked research funds (approximately NOK 800 million), which is allocated via the Ministry of Health and Care Services’ budget through the regional health trusts and awarded on the recommendation of regional co-operation bodies to the boards of the regional health authorities. The Research Council of Norway accounted for NOK 310 million or 7 per cent of the funding in 2019. Other national sources, i.e. ministries, trade and industry, donations and funds, amounted to approximately NOK 700 million or 15 per cent. Foreign sources funded about NOK 50 million or 1 per cent of the R&D activity in Norway.

Research institutes

The Research Council of Norway prepares an overall report50 for the institutes covered by the basic funding scheme for research institutes.51 The institutes’ income comes from many different sources of funding: basic grants and project revenues (grant income) from the Research Council of Norway’s various instruments, income related to administrative tasks and grants from ministries and their underlying units, income from nationally commissioned research (public and private sector), and international sources of funding, including the EU.

The share of income from the various sources of funding varies for the different groups of institute. The technical and industrial institutes have the highest share of income from the business sector and from the Research Council of Norway, with these sources accounting for 36 per cent and 27 per cent respectively of these institutes’ total operating income), and the lowest share of income from abroad (15 per cent) and the public administration (16 per cent). A large share of the primary industry institutes’ income comes from administrative tasks commissioned by ministries and their subordinate units (44 per cent), followed by income from the Research Council of Norway (30 per cent), and income from the business sector (19 per cent). The lowest share of the primary industry institutes’ income comes from abroad (5 per cent). The environmental institutes have a high share of income from the public administration (40 per cent) and the Research Council of Norway (38 per cent) and a lower share from trade and industry (11 per cent) and abroad (9 per cent). The social science institutes receive the largest share of their income from the Research Council of Norway (45 per cent), followed by the public administration (34 per cent), and trade and industry (9 per cent), with the lowest share (9 per cent) from abroad.

These statistics do not include funding that the research institutes receive directly from the ministries as operating grants, nor public institutes that perform some R&D, but that have a different main purpose, i.e. the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FF), the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (HI), the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), and Statistics Norway (SSB).

Summary

The overview shows that there is a high proportion of direct government funding for research at universities and university colleges, and at the health trusts. However, the research institutes (or at least those covered by the basic grant scheme) are in a special position, in that they receive a basic allocation that is relatively low in international terms, and are thus largely dependent on external funding.

5.5 Norwegian academic and technical language

In the report Språk i Norge – kultur og infrastruktur [Language in Norway – culture and infrastructure], the Language Council of Norway’s committee on the future of the Norwegian language states:

In simple terms, Norwegian is being increasingly less used in higher education in Norway, albeit with large differences among different disciplines. While Norwegian is barely used in scientific publications in the field of science and technology, the share of publications in Norwegian was around 30 per cent in the humanities and just under 25 per cent in the social sciences in 2017. However, the use of Norwegian in these areas is also less common than it was before, with a marked decline since 2011. At the doctoral level, 90.8 per cent of theses are written in English and 8.5 per cent in Norwegian (7.7 per cent in Bokmål and 0.9 per cent in Nynorsk). In terms of the syllabus, there are large variations between the subjects, but Norwegian is widely used in most subjects.52

For master’s theses, the figures were 56 per cent in Norwegian (54 per cent Bokmål, 2 per cent Nynorsk).

A count undertaken at the University of Bergen (UiB) showed that of the 234 English-language doctoral theses published at UiB between 2017 and 2020,53 fewer than 5 per cent – 11 theses – had an abstract in Norwegian. Ten of the 11 theses with an abstract in Norwegian were from the Faculty of Medicine. None of the theses in social science subjects had an abstract in Norwegian, even in cases where the researcher, the academic supervisor, the course, the end user, the source material and the source of funding were all Norwegian. To remedy this, the University of Bergen has recently decided that all doctoral theses must include an abstract in Norwegian, in line with the abstract in English, as a compulsory component and that this is to be enshrined in the PhD Regulations.54

The increasing number of international researchers in Norwegian academia may also pose a challenge in respect of the maintenance and development of well-functioning Norwegian academic and technical language. In section 6.3.9 of Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2020:3, the Universities and University Colleges Act Commission (the Aune Commission) wrote:

Research and higher education are international activities, and Norwegian researchers are increasingly collaborating with researchers in other countries. A growing number of internationally mobile researchers are coming to Norway and working at universities and university colleges. In 2007, 16.7 per cent of the academic staff at Norwegian universities and university colleges were immigrants with education from abroad. By 2014, this had risen to 22.3 per cent. However, a high proportion of foreign nationals in the academic staff may make it more demanding to maintain Norwegian as an academic and technical language (cf. chapter 14). There are also far more international students in Norway than even just ten years ago.

Most international academic employees at Norwegian universities and university colleges have a clause in their employment contracts stipulating that they must learn Norwegian within a specified period of time. Several institutions have further elaborated on this requirement in their language policy guidelines. For example, the University of Agder has stipulated that new employees in permanent positions who do not have a Scandinavian language background are expected to learn Norwegian to level B2 within three years, and they should be given training and duties that make this feasible.55 The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)’s language policy guidelines state that non-Norwegian speaking employees shall be ensured training in Norwegian language, culture and society.56

In its consultative statement to the Commission, the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia (SNL) noted that the encyclopaedia provides academics with a platform where they can share knowledge and information with the general public in Norwegian and thus exercise their freedom of expression. SNL pointed out that this represents an opportunity for dissemination for researchers who are not necessarily at the forefront of the research in their field or do research on topics that make the headlines in the media. Writing encyclopaedia entries can also function as a dissemination activity for academic staff who are not comfortable with the degree of simplification required for a feature article for publication in a newspaper or other forms of dissemination in the media, or who do not wish to participate in a public debate characterised by strong opinions, sharp words and heated arguments.

Textbox 5.1 The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia (SNL)

  • 112 million articles read in 2021

  • Almost 3.2 million unique users every month

  • Almost 600,000 articles read every day

  • 61 per cent accessed from a mobile phone

  • Cited over 9000 times in the media

  • Articles prepared by almost 1,000 experts

The Great Norwegian Encyclopedia’s website snl.no is owned by an association in which Norwegian universities and university colleges and several non-profit foundations and organisations are members

Source Annual Report 2021: About the Great Norwegian Encyclopedia (SNL)

One measure to maintain Norwegian as an academic and technical language is work to develop terminology and bilingual glossaries. The Terminology Portal («Termportalen») is a research infrastructure under development at the University of Bergen in collaboration with the Language Council of Norway, for publishing and searching across glossaries, terminology databases and subjects.57 The goal is for the portal to become the first place students, professionals and others look when they need information about Norwegian academic terminology and expressions. Many of the existing glossaries and terminology databases have terminology in both Norwegian and English, and sometimes also other languages. Glossaries are not only relevant for students whose syllabus literature has been in English and who are going to sit examinations in Norwegian; the existence of Norwegian terminology is a prerequisite for students and experts to be able to communicate and apply their knowledge in a Norwegian social reality, which is ultimately also important for democracy.58

Section 1-7 of the Universities and University Colleges Act stipulates that universities and university colleges are responsible for maintaining and further developing Norwegian academic language. This provision was added to the Act in 2009. The previous Act relating to universities and university colleges (1995) contained a provision stating that the language of instruction should «normally» be Norwegian, which was removed in 2002. The reason for this was to enable the institutions to build up a broader offering in foreign languages, primarily English, as part of the internationalisation of education and research in Norway. At the same time, it was also emphasised that it would still be an important task to maintain and further develop Norwegian as an academic and technical language.

In the letters of allocation and letters of grant commitment for 2022, the Ministry of Education and Research has included the following requirements for universities and university colleges:

In connection with the appointment of foreign researchers and teachers, the institutions must set requirements for Norwegian language training. The government expects the institutions to provide training in Norwegian for all employees who need it, and to ensure that the employees’ proficiency in Norwegian is sufficient to safeguard Norwegian academic and technical language.
[Exclusively for public institutions:] As a general rule, employees should be required to be proficient in Norwegian within two years. For positions where proficiency in Norwegian is important, proficiency in Norwegian should to a greater extent be included as a requirement in the advertisement for the position.
Teaching, dissemination and academic publication in Norwegian have a strong impact on the relevance of research for society, as well as preparing the students for a working life in Norwegian. Section 1-7 of the Universities and University Colleges Act states that the institutions are responsible for maintaining and further developing Norwegian academic language. The institutions are also required to have a language strategy that must be clearly rooted in their overarching strategies. The government expects the institutions to monitor the language situation in both research and teaching closely, and to implement measures as and when necessary.
[Exclusively for public institutions:] The work done during the period must be described in the annual report. It is also expected that all bachelor’s and master’s dissertations and PhD theses written in a language other than Norwegian have an abstract in Norwegian.

With regard to textbooks, the Ministry of Education and Research has previously concluded that this type of activity can result in personal profit and should therefore not be included as an element in the institutions’ funding system. Furthermore, the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFF) has scholarships for non-fiction publications. There is a scheme for textbooks aimed at universities and university colleges that provides financial support for the publication of syllabus literature in Norwegian (Nynorsk and Bokmål) and Sami in cases where there is no commercial interest. The background for the scheme is that it is important for students’ learning that they have textbooks in their native language. The scheme is also intended to contribute to the development and use of Norwegian and Sami academic and technical language and terminology in higher education, and to promote greater linguistic equality between Nynorsk and Bokmål.

Teaching materials aimed at primary and secondary education are mainly developed through commercial publishers.

Footnotes

1.

Act relating to the strengthening of the status of human rights in Norwegian law (the Human Rights Act) – Annex 2. The European Convention on Human Rights with Protocols (Norwegian translation) https://lovdata.no/dokument/NL/lov/1999-05-21-30/KAPITTEL_2#KAPITTEL_2

2.

Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2011 p. 1011. https://lovdata.no/dokument/HRSIV/avgjorelse/hr-2011-1314-u

3.

For an overview of the constitutional and human rights protections for academic freedom of expression, see Strømme, Vidar (2020). Ytringsfrihet i akademia [Freedom of expression in academia], Institute for Social Research (ISF) Report 2020:14 https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2719456

4.

A number of the human rights that were incorporated into the Norwegian Constitution in 2014 must be interpreted in light of their international precedents (where relevant), in line with the principle set out in Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2015 p. 93 (57). Article 100 of the Norwegian Constitution was amended in 2004. One of the reasons for the amendment was to enable better protection of freedom of expression that also ensued from Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, this provision is structured differently to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and was not formulated on the basis of it. The Supreme Court has dealt with how the two norms relate to one another in different ways.

5.

Only two out of 24 cases concerning freedom of expression were settled on the basis of Article 100 of the Constitution after the provision was amended to have its current wording in the years 2004–2012, see A. Kierulf, Hvilken rolle spiller Grunnloven § 100 i Høyesteretts ytringsfrihetspraksis? [What role does Article 100 of the Constitution play in the Supreme Court’s free speech practice?] Lov og Rett (2012) p. 131. This tendency has continued. Based on the same methodology, the Supreme Court used Article 100 of the Constitution in its decision in only three or four out of 22 cases pertaining to freedom of expression in the years 2013–2021.

6.

Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 1979 p. 727. See also Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 1991 p. 1069 (on page 1076), in which by two magazines of a clinic’s MS treatment (calling it «deceptive» and «selling illusions») was not deemed to be defamatory, because «there must be widespread freedom of expression in the general public debate on academic and scientific issues».

7.

Hertel v. Switzerland (European Court of Human Rights, 25 August 1998). https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-59366%22]}

8.

Strømme, Vidar (2020). Ytringsfrihet i akademia [Freedom of expression in academia]. Institute for Social Research (ISF) Report 2020:14 https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2719456

9.

Aksu v. Turkey (European Court of Human Rights, Grand Chamber, 15 March 2012) paragraph 69 et seq. https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-109577%22]}

10.

Sorguç v. Turkey (European Court of Human Rights, 23 June 2009). https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/ eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-93161%22]}

11.

Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2011 p. 1011.

12.

Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2011 p. 1011.

13.

Kula v. Turkey (European Court of Human Rights, 19 June 2018). https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/ eng#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-184289%22]}

14.

An elaboration of the positive obligations can be found, among other things, in the Council of Europe’s recommendation CM/Rec(2012)7 on the responsibility of public authorities for academic freedom and institutional autonomy. https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/50697ed62.pdf

15.

As exemplified in several of the aforementioned European Court of Human Rights’ judgments.

16.

Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2006: 19 Akademisk frihet [Academic freedom]

17.

Proposition no. 111 to the Storting (2020–2021) – legislative bill: Amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the Act relating to student grants, the Vocational Education Act and the Vocational Qualifications Act, etc.

18.

Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2020: 3 Ny lov om universiteter og høyskoler [Proposal for a new Act relating to universities and university colleges], p. 89.

19.

Official Norwegian Report (NOU) 2006: 19, chapter 6, p. 43 on the main functions of the proposed provisions in section 1-5

20.

Strømme, Vidar (2020). Ytringsfrihet i akademia [Freedom of expression in academia]. Institute for Social Research (ISF) Report 2020:14 https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2719456

21.

See, for example, Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2005 p. 1677, paragraph 56

22.

First in Norwegian Supreme Court Report (Rt.) 2012 p. 536, paragraph 20; most recently in Supreme Court case HR-2020-2133-A, paragraph 27.

23.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: About Norway’s export control system https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/utenrikssaker/Eksportkontroll/id754301/

24.

White paper Report no. 35 to the Storting (2020–2021) Eksport av forsvarsmateriell fra Norge i 2020, eksportkontroll og internasjonalt ikke-spredningssamarbeid [Norwegian exports of defence-related products in 2020, export control and international non-proliferation cooperation], chapter 4

25.

The Office of the Auditor General of Norway Document 3:4 (2020–2021) https://www.riksrevisjonen.no/globalassets/rapporter/no-2020-2021/myndighetenes-arbeid-med-eksportkontroll-av-strategiske-varer.pdf

26.

Opening speech at the Industry Seminar 2022 – on strategic export control https://www.regjeringen.no/no/aktuelt/innlegg_eksportkontroll/id2900078/?utm_source=regjeringen.no&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nyhetsvarsel20220204-1:20%20PM

27.

Proposition no. 1 to the Storting (2021–2022) budget proposal for the Ministry of Education and Research

28.

Sammen om kunnskap – Nytt system for formidling av kunnskap [Sharing knowledge – New system for dissemination of knowledge] (2005). Report from a working group under Universities Norway https://docplayer.me/340212-Sammen-om-kunnskap-nytt-system-for-dokumentasjon-av-formidling.html

29.

Sammen om kunnskap II – Operasjonalisering av indikatorer for formidling [Sharing knowledge II – Operationalisation of indicators for dissemination] (2006). Report from a working group under Universities Norway https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/kilde/kd/hdk/2006/0010/ddd/pdfv/288717-sdg-sammen_om_ku.pdf

30.

Finansieringssystemet for universitets- og høyskolesektoren – teoretiske vurderinger [Funding system for the university and university college sector – theoretical assessments] (2007). A report prepared by Steinar Vagstad et al. on commission from the Ministry of Education and Research

31.

Finansiering for kvalitet, mangfold og samspill [Funding for quality, diversity and interaction]. (2015) Universities Norway https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/kilde/kd/hdk/2006/0010/ddd/pdfv/288717-sdg-sammen_om_ku.pdf

32.

Vekt på kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid (KU) [Focus on artistic development work]. (2006) UHR https://www.uhr.no/_f/p1/ia142b8ca-1a99-4d01-8b2a-15209ae9080f/vekt_paa_kunst.pdf

33.

Sivertsen, G.; Løver, N.; Mæsel, E.S.; Tømte, C. Læremidler og formidling i høyere utdanning: En evaluering av tilskuddsordningen og en vurdering av insentivene [Teaching aids and dissemination in higher education. An evaluation of the grant scheme and an assessment of the incentives]. Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) report 2016:18 https://nifu.brage.unit.no/nifu-xmlui/handle/11250/2394382

34.

The Commission on the Funding of Universities and University Colleges was appointed on 9 September 2021 and submitted its report on 17 March 2022.

35.

Current Research Information System: https://www.cristin.no/

36.

The Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) is responsible for the Norwegian Publication Indicator. https://npi.hkdir.no/

37.

Frølich, N et al.: Attraktive akademiske karrierer? Søkning, rekruttering og mobilitet i UH-sektoren [Attractive academic careers? Application, recruitment and mobility in the higher education sector]. Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) report 2019:10 https://nifu.brage.unit.no/nifu-xmlui/handle/11250/2608244

38.

Regulations concerning appointment and promotion to teaching and research posts, Regulation no. 129 of 9 February 2006

39.

White paper Report no. 16 to the Storting (2016–2017) Kultur for kvalitet i høyere utdanning [Quality culture in higher education].

40.

The Research Council of Norway – about the DORA Declaration https://www.forskningsradet.no/omforskningsradet/stotter-dora-erklaringen/

41.

Universities Norway (UHR): NOR-CAM – en verktøykasse. Veileder for vurdering i akademiske karriereløp [NOR-CAM – A toolbox for recognition and rewards in academic careers] https://www.uhr.no/temasider/karrierepolitikk-og-merittering/nor-cam-veileder-for-vurdering-i-akademiske-karrierelop/

42.

Process towards an agreement on reforming research assessment, European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/process-towards-agreement-reforming-research-assessment-2022-jan-18_en

43.

Regulations no. 102 of 31 January 2006 concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts of postdoktor (post-doctoral research fellow), stipendiat (PhD candidate), vitenskapelig assistant (research assistant) and spesialistkandidat (resident).

44.

Ministry of Education and Research: Strategi for forskerrekruttering og karriereutvikling [Strategy for researcher recruitment and career development] 2020 https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/58a8bb9fecac4dd6aaf9ead1a6e3c1cd/strategi-forskning-web_uu.pdf

45.

Figures from the Indicator Report 2021, the Research Council of Norway. https://www.forskningsradet.no/indikatorrapporten/indikatorrapporten-dokument/. The Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) and Statistics Norway (SSB) are collaborating with the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir), the Research Council of Norway (NFR) and the Ministry of Education and Research on a researcher recruitment monitoring programme that will follow PhD candidates from the time they are admitted to a doctoral education programme until they retire. This will eventually provide detailed information about career paths for doctoral candidates educated in Norway. https://nifu.brage.unit.no/nifu-xmlui/handle/11250/2837474

46.

Reymert, Ingvild; Nesje, Kjersti; Thune, Taran Doktorgradskandidater i Norge: Forskeropplæring, arbeidsvilkår og karriereforventinger [PhD candidates in Norway. Researcher training, working conditions and career expectations]. Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) report 2017:10 https://nifu.brage.unit.no/nifu-xmlui/handle/11250/2445865

47.

Report from a working group in spring 2021 including an annex on principles for the distribution of R&D time at the University of Agder (UiA). (Case document for the meeting of the Board of UiA on 1 February 2022) http://opengov.cloudapp.net/Meetings/uia/Meetings/Details/568633?agendaItemId=215456

48.

Indikatorrapporten 2021 [Indicator report 2021] https://www.forskningsradet.no/indikatorrapporten/

49.

Diku’s report series 07/2021 Tilstandsrapport for høyere utdanning 2021 [Status report on higher education in Norway 2021]. Diku was merged into the Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir) with effect from 1 July 2021. https://diku.no/rapporter/dikus-rapportserie-07-2021-tilstandsrapport-for-hoeyere-utdanning-2021

50.

The Research Council of Norway (NFR): Annual Report 2020: The research institutes https://www.forskningsradet.no/siteassets/publikasjoner/2021/978-82-12-03896-7-pdf----arsrapport-2020---forskningsinstituttene.pdf

51.

The Research Council of Norway (NFR): Statlig grunnfinansiering av forskningsinstitutter [Public basic funding of research institutes] https://www.forskningsradet.no/om-forskningsradet/oppgaver-organisering/instituttsektoren/statlig-basisfinansiering-av-forskningsinstituttene/

52.

Språk i Norge – kultur og infrastruktur [Languages in Norway – culture and infrastructure]. The Language Council of Norway 2018 https://www.sprakradet.no/globalassets/diverse/sprak-i-norge_web.pdf

53.

Senior Academic Librarian Pål H. Bakka, the University Library, University of Bergen, in an article by Håvard Rem in the national weekly newspaper Dag og Tid on 22 October 2021: Språkveggen mellom forsking og samfunn [The language barrier between research and society] https://www.dagogtid.no/samfunn/sprakveggen-mellom-forsking-og-samfunn-6.3.23394.4fddded769

54.

Decision of the University Board dated 2 February 2022 https://ekstern.filer.uib.no/ledelse/universitetsstyret/2022/2022-02-02/S_10-22Ny_regel_i_ph.d-forskrivten_norsk_sammendrag_av_dravahandling.pdf

55.

Language policy guidelines for the University of Agder (2021) https://www.uia.no/om-uia/spraakpolitiske-retningslinjer-for-universitetet-i-agder B2-nivå: Prepared by the Council of Europe, the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is both a guideline and a scale system to measure level of language proficiency. The framework is used to describe the level of knowledge and skills in foreign languages.

56.

Språkpolitiske retningslinjer for NTNU [Language policy guidelines for the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)] (2009) https://www.ntnu.no/sprakpolitiske-retningslinjer

57.

Termportalen [terminology portal]: https://www.uib.no/ub/fagressurser/spesialsamlingene/121707/termportalen

58.

White paper Report no. 25 to the Storting (2016–2017) Humaniora i Norge [The Humanities in Norway], section 6.4. https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/e51d8864c32248598e381e84db1032a3/no/pdfs/stm201620170025000dddpdfs.pdf

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