Back to top

CAUT Council condemns publisher’s reversal as violation of academic freedom

(Ottawa – December 1, 2020) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is speaking out against Springer Nature after it cancelled a book deal about Canadian mining companies, allegedly due to legal threats by an un-named third party.

At a meeting of CAUT Council, delegates from across the country unanimously passed a motion denouncing Springer’s decision to cancel publication.

“The book’s content deserves scrutiny by the world, and suppressing its publication is a serious threat to the academic freedom, and the right of academic staff to conduct and disseminate research,” says CAUT Executive Director David Robinson.

The book, Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala, details mining company-linked human rights violations, forced evictions, repression, health and environmental harms, and corruption.

Springer reviewed and accepted the book for publication, but then suddenly reneged on the contract by citing unspecified libel concerns.

Legal counsel engaged by CAUT conducted a libel read of the manuscript and could find no basis for Springer’s decision to forgo publication.

“The academic community in Canada and internationally should be gravely concerned about Springer’s actions,” says Robinson. “Springer needs to be held to account. Academic publishers should stand up against censorship and not be bullied into suppressing content that the powerful may find uncomfortable.”