FORCE11 Statement on Restrictions on Immigration


The FORCE11 Board of Directors today voted to adopt the following statement:

FORCE11 is an international organization working towards improved open digital communications to support an inclusive and global scholarly community. We strongly support all basic democratic rights including freedom of conscience, and freedom of movement, without which open inquiry and scholarly communication cannot be conducted.

For this reason, the FORCE11 Board of Directors strongly opposes all actions selectively restricting immigration or travel based upon religion, national origin or other collective grounds, including the recent US Government actions restricting immigration based on citizenship and origin.

These measures are attacks upon human rights that are foundational to intellectual freedom and open scholarly communication.  We urge our members to join us in working to oppose these and all other measures inimical to open scholarship, intellectual freedom, and human dignity. The FORCE11 Board is committed to advocacy and the advancement of technology and social practice to support inclusive intellectual spaces for open enquiry, criticism, validation and preservation of evidence.

We will work to minimise the exclusionary effects of such travel bans through the selection of locations for our activities, through program design and technology.  We welcome collaboration with other like-minded organisations to address these issues and reflect together on improving our own practice for building a global and inclusive scholarly community.

Letter from FORCE11 President

Dear Colleagues,

FORCE11 works towards the goal of being a global platform that brings communities together to discuss challenging issues. These communities focus on the methods that underpin how scholars work, how we define and validate what we consider to be true, and how the credit and attribution for insight is assigned. Our business is seeking consensus across diverse communities with differing agendas and interests. At this time I believe this work to be more important than ever.

Like any organisation with its roots in the traditional North Atlantic centres of western scholarship our claim to global reach is an aspiration. I recognise this and seek to continually improve our work on the historical inequities of access to and inclusion in scholarship including exclusion on the basis of factors including, but not limited to, geography, social conditions, professional status, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship and national origin.

It is still the case the most productive conversations happen face to face. This is especially true of efforts pursued within FORCE11. The history of the organisation is one of bringing together diverse groups to examine and solve problems. Exclusionary limitations on travel of groups of people specified on any basis is totally inimical to our goals and purpose.

It is for this reason that the Executive Board of FORCE11 has today released a statement that rejects policies that exclude immigrants on the basis of belonging to a group defined by race, religion, national origin or other criteria. This includes the recent White House Executive Order.

Objecting to policy is not enough however. I will be working with the Board and with our Working Groups and contributors to find ways in which we can limit the effect of exclusionary policies. Amongst other things I want to work across the full set of our activities to select venues and platforms that are, as a whole, inclusive of as wide as a group of global participants as possible. This will include considering restrictions to entry, cost of travel, financial risks, physical access and safety of participants. It is important to note that current policies both limit entry to some countries by some participants but also have the effect of making it impossible for some participants to leave their country of residence.

At the core of our work at FORCE11 is also exploring technology and social practice for scholarly communications. We will explore technology and design options for practical and effective multi-site meetings and workshops in the future. In all of this we welcome collaboration with like-minded organisations to work together, to reflect on our own practices, and to develop shared practice to support inclusive scholarly meetings and communications more generally.

Good scholarship has at its core, recognising and listening to valid criticism. I know that inclusion is something we need to continue to work on as an organisation, that any organization needs to continue to work on. I welcome comments, criticisms, and advice on how FORCE11 can work more effectively, and how we can work together, to pursue these goals.

Yours sincerely

Cameron


Cameron Neylon, President
FORCE11
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