University autonomy decline: Causes, responses, and implications for academic freedom

Academic freedom is often considered an absolute value of higher education institutions (Beaud, Citation2020). Traditionally, its value has been linked to topics such as ownership, the need for academic work to be free from undue political influence, and other pressures that can challenge time-consuming research processes (Jackson, Citation2021). However, it is widely acknowledged that academic freedom has experienced a sharp decline in many countries over the last decade (Beiter et al., Citation2016; Roberts Lyer & Suba, Citation2019; Spannagel et al., Citation2020). As part of this decline, higher education institutions face many distractions that affect their institutional autonomy, including repressive laws and regulatory and administrative restrictions. The autonomy of higher education institutions is critical to operationalizing and protecting academic freedom, and this aspect is increasingly the focus of academic and professional literature. The causes of decreased autonomy and its impact on other components of academic freedom are still unknown. Therefore, this book is here to broadly fill this gap in understanding and contribute to the research on academic freedom and institutional autonomy.