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Who's Creating Knowledge? The challenge of non-university researchers

Is the university the primary site for the creation and authorising of knowledge? That is commonly the conventional view. But in practice large numbers of independent and non-academic researchers are enthusiastically engaged in the production and establishment of knowledge outside university walls. The panel will discuss the issues raised by the work of these often 'invisible' creators of knowledge, operating as they do across a wide diversity of fields of research, from family history to ornithology, astronomy to biography, philosophy to archaeology - and much else. Do such researchers present a challenge to the still often-assumed monopoly of the university over the production and validation of knowledge? Despite the obstacles they face are they perhaps following a more open route to knowledge production than in the increasingly constrained setting of university research today? Do we need to rethink the central role of the university in the establishment of knowledge? And may important new processes of knowledge-creation be emerging through the interactive potential of the internet for bypassing established university controls and evading the traditional gatekeepers to the publication and dissemination of knowledge?