The Norwegian government has set themselves a target that scientific results stemming from state funded research should be publicly accessible. At the start of 2016 they therefore assembled a task force to create draft guidelines for open access research. This report is now finished and the Ministry of Education and Research asks for comments and feedback on the report. The full report is available here in Norwegian, but since so many researchers in Norway don’t speak Norwegian I would like to very briefly summarise the details here:
Amendment makes it easier for PhD-candidates and post-docs to get jobs.
This is unfortunately the outcome we advocated against as it opens for more temporary employment. The amendment is portrayed as only positive, but they fail to mention post-doc positions. Lina Ingeborgrud, the new president of DION, has issued a statement to universitetsavisa.no available here, where she expresses concern about increasing use temporary employment and PhD-candidates position as an employee.
Against the unions wishes the majority of the task-force voted for the amendment, resulting in periods of pure research no longer counting towards seniority. The proposal is still listed as pending on the government webpage.
Context: Normally 4 years of temporary employment triggers job protection, which basically means a permanent position. An exception to this rule are so-called “fixed term” positions like a post-doc position, which is the usual academic advancement after a PhD.
Hearing regarding proposed changes to the university and university college act. Source (in Norwegian). The hearing deadline is the 16th of December 2015.
Ministry of Education and Research (KD) wants to establish a database of diplomas. The purpose behind this database is for individuals to more easily share their results and achievements to a potential employer, or other who might have need for them. This way the recipients can trust that the merits are correct.
The database, called vitnemålsbanken (diploma bank), is supposed to contain a minimum of information necessary for the service to function. The information collected from the database should, as far as possible, be retrieved from the original datasource, i.e. the different education institutions. In effect this means that diplomas will not be stored in the diploma bank, but serve only as a system to retrieve them. The diploma bank will only contain information pertaining to which institutions/sources that contain the results for which individuals, i.e. you birth-number connected to an ID-code pointing to a educational institution’s database.
Possibilities for a person to reserve against registration in the national diploma bank has been discussed. Since it is up to each individual to control disclosure of the results, and because the merits are conveyed through the diploma bank at the subject’s initiative, the ministry deem there to be no need for a reservation system.
Appeal system for SIUs grants
Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) is a national competence- and information centre established to coordinate and promote international education throughout the whole education. SIU is a governmental body subject under the administration of KD. As of now, there are no specific regulations regarding SIU’s operations.
The proposed changes introduces specific regulations for SIU. Roughly translated they are
New § 5-4 shall read:
§ 5-4 Appeal system for SIU
(1) SIU is an national competence- and information centre which shall work to coordinate and promote international educational cooperation through the whole education. SIU is an administrative subject under KD.
(2) SIU makes decisions regarding funds within announced applications. The appeal court is the contracting entity which SIU performs the task for. The appeal court may not overrule SIU’s technical assessment of the facts regarding distribution of funds. The ministry may create regulations pertaining to the procedures and legal remedies for this provision.
NOKUT’s model for accreditation and supervision
NOKUT (the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education) is an independent expert body under the Ministry of Education and Research (KD). The proposed changes aim to state more clearly NOKUT’s responsibility to oversee the educational institutions’ overall quality.
Appeals regarding preliminary examinations
KD suggests the possibility to decrease the appeal period from three weeks to one week for preliminary examinations in order to avoid a delayed start in studies. This appears to be a change of little to no consequence for SiN.
In collaboration with our member organisations we’ve written a reply to Kunnskapsdepartementets hearing 15/1643 regarding changes in the university and university college law with regard to the calculation of seniority for PhD candidates. Our reply can be read here (in Norwegian).
We have written a brief hearing reply to KDs proposed changes of the university board model after e-mail exchanges with the SiN board, a meeting with DION, and discussions with the leader of Studenttinget at NTNU. The proposed changes are briefly summarised in the last post. Given the short time to process this hearing we have tried to avoid expressing controversial opinions.
The reply discourages KD from reducing the 2/3-majority vote needed to change the board composition or introducing an external majority to a simple majority vote. It also questions the intent of opening up for an external majority in the first place. The rest of the reply is meant to encourage KD to re-formulate the law to be more clear regarding the board composition.
As the deadline is this Saturday, please take the time to read through the note (and propose changes) at your earliest convenience. I apologise for the outrageously short deadline.
Our preliminary reply is available here (in Norwegian only).
As some of you might’ve read on universitetsavisa.no (UA), Kunnskapsdepartementet (KD) released a hearing (link) regarding proposed changes for the university and university college (høyskole) boards (current regulations). Though no radical changes are proposed, what is alarming is the way the hearing has been presented. The proposed changes were first published on June 26th, with a hearing deadline August 15th. KD also did not include SiN in this hearing.
SiN will be writing a formal complaint that we were not included in the hearing, as well as commenting on the questionable hearing deadline.