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The transition to the digital society leads to immense change in the economic, social and cultural life of nations. It is a transition with profound consequences for higher education system and institutions in various areas: administration, forms of teaching and learning, research priorities and methodologies, evaluation of quality and impacts, and ethical issues raised by the digital society.

Cloud computing, the ‘Internet of things’, ‘big data’, data openness and analytics, driven by information and communication technologies and artificial intelligence, imply important changes in research, teaching, and external linkages. Examples include online learning, research using data analytics, working through network consortia, increased collaboration with external partners (professional associations, industry, communities. and international organizations).

Not all the new rules and ways of academic life will be determined by public policy. Some will fall within the purview of autonomous HEIs and be constrained by the freedom of academics to define their research and teaching responsibilities. In light of the power of major global corporations and commercial interests, the boundaries between public and private in digitalized higher education may be further blurred.

Still, government, HEIs, industry and commerce, the liberal and new professions, nonprofit organizations, and the wider public—all have genuine interests in higher education as an engine of scientific progress. A central question is how digital society and digitalized HEIs contribute to sustainable development and social justice between richer and poorer countries.

Key issues and topics

With the focus on public and institutional policies and reforms and from a multidisciplinary perspective (theoretical and empirical), the 2019 HER conference aims to discuss issues such as the following:

  • New sources and modes for research, e.g. big data, simulation, machine learning.
  • New scientific disciplines and protocols.
  • New ways to disseminate research, e.g. open access (MOOCs), the end of traditional academic journals and monographs, the role of intellectual capital and its distribution and protection in collective research and teaching.
  • Consequences of the changing knowledge production on evaluation systems and academic careers, e.g. ‘impact’ factors and other tools of scientific metrics.
  • Public and institutional policies for the use of information and communication technologies in face-to-face learning and online open programs.
  • Governance in the digital HEIs: the place(s) of senates, departments, faculty unions, community interest groups, government and leadership.
  • Policies to prevent, monitor and sanction plagiarism, forged data and other a dishonest academic behavior.

Workshop Organization

The 16th conference will be held in Mexico City, under the auspices of Centre of Research and Advanced Studies (, an academic institution of great prestige and leadership in Latin America and many other countries, in various areas of natural and exact sciences, technologies and social sciences (especially in education).

The Mexico City conference is the 16th in an international series of conferences (formerly ‘International Workshops’) on Higher Education Reform, which have taken place annually since 2003. The first in this series was held in Vancouver, Canada, organised by the Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training at The University of British Columbia. In following years conferences took place in Tokyo, Vienna, Shanghai, Mexico City, Vancouver, Berlin, Pittsburgh, Ljubljana, St. John’s, Tianjin, Dublin, Hiroshima and Baltimore.

Call for proposals

The 16th International Conference (HER 2019) encourages comparative analysis and discussion emphasizing policy and reform in/of postsecondary education. The conference will support an open exchange of views in a collegial environment, based on empirical research and policy analysis.  As with previous conferences, a selection of papers and panel presentations will be published after the conference.

Three types of proposals are invited:

Papers (single or dual authorship)
Panels (between three and five panellists)
Poster presentations: these are particularly welcome from early career researchers.

Proposals (up to 400 words for papers and poster presentations, and up to 800 words for panels) should describe the issue(s) the presentation will address as well as the conceptual or theoretical framework guiding the research or policy questions and the type of data for the analysis.

They should also indicate the names, affiliations and mail addresses of the presenters as well as, in case there are several presenters, the corresponding presenter.

Proposals should be sent via email to:

Submissions will be peer reviewed and the result communicated to proposers within four weeks of submission.