Created 2 December 2020 12:12
For Immediate Release December 2, 2020 – The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA BC) stands in solidarity with faculty members at the University of Northern British Columbia after Springer Nature cancels book deal.
Dr. Catherine Nolin, geography professor and department chair, and Mr. Grahame Russell, director of Rights Action and adjunct professor, co-edited Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala: The Violence, Corruption, and Impunity of Contemporary Predatory Mineral Exploitation. The book was accepted for publication earlier in the year following rigorous peer-review with academic publisher Springer Nature, only to be abruptly cancelled by the publisher, which cited undisclosed libel concerns.
Nolin and Russell have released an open letter in which they suggest the publisher caved to corporate intimidation. Intimidation in all its forms casts a chill on academic scholarship in our universities. Faculty cannot conduct the kinds of research that is necessary to inform our socio geopolitical understandings of the world when there is intimidation or censorship, even if it surfaces research findings that threaten corporate interests. Academic publishers have a responsibility to resist such pressure.
CUFA BC affirms its support of academic freedom and the peer-review process, which comprise the rights to conduct and disseminate research in the open, honest, and careful search for knowledge free from political and corporate pressures, and to defend one’s research through peer-review. These rights are central to universities’ missions and must be categorically defended by members of the administration, the board of governors, senate, unions, and faculty alike.
As a provincial organization that represents 5,500 faculty members at British Columbia’s research and doctoral universities, CUFA BC stands in solidarity with Dr. Nolin and Mr. Russell. We join the UNBC Faculty Association and the Canadian Association of University Teachers in condemning the actions of Springer Nature.
For further information or comment please contact CUFA BC Executive Director Annabree Fairweather at 604-367-5856 or [email protected].
CUFA BC represents over 5,500 professors, lecturers, instructors, professional librarians, and other academic staff at the five research-intensive universities of British Columbia, which include the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Northern British Columbia, and Royal Roads University.
CUFA BC has existed for fifty years and works closely with member Faculty Associations at each institution. Our purposes are to support high-quality post-secondary education and research in British Columbia and to advocate for the interests of our members.
[Editor’s note: There has been a correction to Mr. Russell’s position title since the release of this statement. It has now been updated.]