World Science Day for Peace and Development: Challenge to Academic Freedom

By Anisha Maulida Nov. 10, 2021 Weekly Graphs

November 10 is the United Nations’ World Science Day for Peace and Development. Today, scientists are under attack in many countries – human rights professionals reported 341 attacks on higher education communities in 58 countries between 2019-2020. The map below shows the V-Dem’s Academic Freedom Index for 2020. Darker blue shadings indicate higher levels of academic freedom. 

Confronted with a worldwide threat of academic freedom, the V-Dem institute engages in the Academic Freedom Index (AFi) project, a collaborative effort initially launched in 2019 with researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Scholars at Risk Network, and the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi). At present, V-Dem and FAU continue to implement the project with a grant from the German Volkswagen Foundation. The AFi aims to inform stakeholders, provide monitoring yardsticks, alter incentive structures, challenge university rankings, and facilitate research. GPPi and the Scholars at Risk Network have developed detailed policy recommendations on how AFi data can help protect academic freedom. To learn more, visit


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