You need to shut up: research silencing and its implications for academic freedom

Academic freedom is a notion often taken for granted by scholars. University policies uphold unfettered enquiry as central to the university's mission and the academy's broader role within society. Academics have little reason to question this - just so long as they play by 'the rules’. Dr Jacqui Hoepner's research challenges notions of academic freedom through reflections on her own experience and interviews with academics whose work was attacked or curtailed, despite believing they were doing 'all the right things’. Hoepner presents a range of 'silencing behaviours' aimed at shutting down and stifling lines of enquiry; as well as explanations for why some lines of enquiry – particularly those that challenge scientific orthodoxies – are deemed unacceptable. These findings suggest academics are not as free as they would like to believe, and that there will be consequences for those stepping outside the lines.