University Council makes a case for ScienceGuide, Executive Board also expresses support

| Rense Kuipers

The University Council expressed its concerns about the imminent discontinuation of news platform ScienceGuide and asked for support from the Executive Board. President of the Executive Board Vinod Subramaniam said he supports the platform and independent press.

University Council member Emile Dopheide (Campus Coalition) raised the subject of ScienceGuide during the council meeting's ‘any other business’ session. The news website for and about higher education in the Netherlands is in dire financial straits, because educational institutions recently withdrew their support.

Quality decision-making

Unless ScienceGuide finds new funding, the website will pull the plug this Saturday. Much to Dopheide's concern. 'It is an important source for following developments, debates and arguments about higher education in the Netherlands. I say this not only on a personal note, but also as a member of the University Council. Without a platform like ScienceGuide, I fear that the quality of decision-making at universities will decline.'

Dopheide called on the Executive Board to support ScienceGuide (financially). 'I understand that there are discussions about the journalistic principles of ScienceGuide, but it would be a shame if there will be a gap. We need an independent news medium for the entire academic community in the Netherlands.'

'We support an independent press'

President of the Executive Board Vinod Subramaniam said he was in favour of an independent press. 'I say this here in the presence of U-Today: we support independent press. As an institute, we are looking at ways to help ScienceGuide move forward. So your call certainly resonates with us.'

Whether the news medium can count on the support of other universities and universities of applied sciences remains to be seen, according to the Executive Board. 'From what I've heard, I don't expect support from umbrella organisations UNL and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences,' says Subramaniam, to which rector Tom Veldkamp added: 'There are strong opinions about ScienceGuide – and they are not always positive.'

'Good contact between UT and ScienceGuide'

In the meantime, ScienceGuide is trying to secure funding before February 17. This is done by means of private subscribers (at 85 euros per year) and by allowing institutions to take out a 'collective subscription' for 4500 euros per year. When asked, ScienceGuide editor-in-chief Frans van Heest told U-Today that there is 'good contact' with the UT and that the university was 'the first university to respond positively to our call'.

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