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Academic freedom and global health
  1. Donald Evans
  1. Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Otago, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Professor Donald Evans, Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; donald.evans{at}


There is a tension between the preservation of academic freedom and the economic context in which the university currently finds itself. This tension embodies serious threats to global health as a result of three overlapping phenomena which impede the production and diffusion of valuable knowledge about health. These phenomena, the privatisation, commercialisation and instrumentalisation of knowledge are identified and examined in this paper in relation to human rights and international morality.

  • Academic freedom
  • privatisation of knowledge
  • commercialisation of knowledge
  • instrumentalisation of knowledge
  • global health
  • International affairs

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  • This paper was presented in its original form at the World University Congress on ‘What should be the aims and responsibilities of universities within the framework of global issues?’ at The Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Turkey in October 2010.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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