Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Australia

Electronic data

  • Halffmann and Radder SB paper

    Rights statement: the final version is OA anyway - not sure why this preprint is needed

    Accepted author manuscript, 95 KB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

  • manifesto_reports_from_14_countries

    Final published version, 4.11 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: None


View graph of relations

Australia: Reclaiming the Public University?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal article

Article number5
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>13/07/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)23-33
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In a provocative article published in 'Minerva' in 2015, Halffman and Radder discuss the Kafkaesque worlds that academics in the Netherlands now find themselves in, as an underfunded university sector predates upon itself and its workforce (2015, p. 165-166). Their Academic Manifesto observes that Dutch tertiary institutions have become obsessively focused on ‘accountability’ and pursue neoliberal-style imperatives [forced upon them] of ‘efficiency and excellence’. They paint a portrait of academics under siege, untrusted, and constantly micro-managed. The pursuit of so-called efficiency has involved accountability systems that are themselves wasteful, driving seemingly endless institutional restructuring. Moreover, institutions have become obsessed with star-performers in research, driven by competitive targets that undergird global rankings. Metrics – publication outputs, journal quality, citations, impact and grant revenue – produce a culture of competition and sometimes, mercenary behaviours, on the part of academics and managers. While there may be beacons of light, they are heavily shielded in the article, which makes for depressing reading. Their provocation prompts two questions, to which we will try to respond through our own experiences and review of Australia's adoption of,and resistance to, higher education reform:

1.How does Australia compare?
2.What can Australian universities and their staff do?