Education And Debate

Funding will make you free

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 30 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:797
  1. John C Alcolado, senior lecturer in medicine (
  1. 1 Department of Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff CF14 4XN

    Academic freedom does not exist and has probably always been a myth. Wright and Wedge raise several important issues regarding the autonomy of clinical academics but, perhaps wisely, are careful not to provide a clear definition of “freedom.”1 Freedom is not just an absence of physical restraint but also the lack of psychological compulsion. The central issue is the extent to which institutions and society are willing to tolerate some degree of freedom (or self indulgence) by academic physicians.

    In the United Kingdom, we are already reigned in by the General Medical Council; its booklet on standards in medical research sets boundaries to what we may or may not do. …

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