September 2015


By Ask Vest Christiansen & John Gleaves

New name, same great network

No, that’s not a typo on the newsletter. The new name of the network is: The International Network of Doping Research – INDR. At the business meeting held in conjunction with the recently convened conference it was decided to omit the notion ‘Humanistic’ (and the letter ‘H’ in the acronym) in the network’s name. The reasoning is that ‘humanistic’ may be excluding scholars from social science disciplines such as sociology, psychology, criminology and law. Also in some scholars’ ears the term ‘humanistic’ bears reference to medieval studies and notions and not present day challenges associated with sport and body culture. This was obviously never intended – and members know that the network is not, and never has been, exclusive or monopolistic on any single academic discipline.
So in no way does the name change signal a change in direction for the network, its mission, or its members. In fact, it brings us closer to the intended mission, which has always been “to understand the doping phenomenon in its broadest social, cultural, and political dimensions.” The term ‘humanistic’ was originally intended to distinguish the doping research accommodated by the network from the more scientific oriented doping research directed at e.g. developing new drug testing methods. Again, this profile of the network is well known by its members and those who have attended the biannual conferences over the past ten years. In order not to deter potential members away simply because they do not feel that their work fits the category ‘humanistic’, the members have voted (unanimously) to welcome this name change so long as the identity remains the same. Hence, without having changed the content or our aims and activities we are now The International Network of Doping Research – INDR. As always you can find more information on the network by looking at


Once again the INDR will be collaborating with the journal Performance Enhancement and Health and its editor-in-chief, Jason Mazanov, on a special issue on our conference theme. We thus encourage you to submit your papers to us despite the fact that the review procedure means that we cannot guarantee publication in advance of submission. The special issue will be edited by John Gleaves and Ask Vest Christiansen, and the deadline for submission is 1st November 2015.
Instructions for submission:

Please email John Gleaves if you have any questions about the article submission process at


On the 27th and 28th of August 2015 members of the INDR assembled in Aarhus, Denmark for the network’s 6th International conference. Under the conference theme “Evaluating the unintended effects of anti-doping”, six keynote speakers were invited to present their research, views, and experiences. In the keynote sessions, conference delegates were thus presented with a diverse range of research and presentations with point of departure in philosophy, criminology, lived experience, sociology, history, and organizational management. The keynotes were:


  • Professor Torbjörn Tännsjö, Stockholm University, Sweden: “Why the ban on doping is harmful”
  • Professor Letizia Paoli, KU Leuven, Belgium: “War on drugs, war on doping? A comparative analysis and some policy recommendations”
  • Former professional cyclist, MR Consulting & trading Aps, Michael Rasmussen, Denmark: “Experiences from my cycling career”
  • Professor Verner Møller, Aarhus University, Denmark: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”
  • Senior Lecturer Paul Dimeo, University of Sterling, UK: “Policy changes and unintended consequences: how history has shaped he present”
  • Chief Executive of the Anti-Doping Authority the Netherlands, Herman Ram: “No intention to cheat: coping with unintentional anti-doping rule violations”

Unfortunately Lecturer Martin Hardie from Deakin University, Australia, had to send his regrets just before the conference, so we missed out on his keynote presentation.

The 2015 conference had a record number of abstract submissions, of which most were of very high quality, proving how vibrant a scholarly environment doping research is 15 years after the formation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). There is online access to the conference book of abstracts by following this link Listening to the presentations at the conference’s parallel sessions it also became clear that there is both significant breadth and depth in current doping research. Altogether the papers presented at the conference clearly illustrated what few will dispute, namely that anti-doping efforts have significantly changed sport. Many of these changes, such as increased testing and anti-doping education, were intended and their effects have, for the most part, been examined and evaluated.

However, what have received less attention are the many unintended effects of anti-doping. Athletes now live with the stress of managing the whereabouts system and worrying about contaminated supplements and food. Journalists report on events but are aware that it could be months or years until we know who was declared the actual victor. Governments enact laws that criminalize doping and investigate athletes for sporting infractions. The conference thus had the specific aim to investigate, evaluate, and understand the many ways that anti-doping efforts have unintentionally changed sport. It was debated if and in which ways athletes have benefited from anti-doping efforts or whether their lives are worse. It was discussed if sporting competitions are now fairer or healthier or whether anti-doping has simply driven athletes to more dangerous substances. Also, the introduction of doping and anti-doping into recreational sports, the fitness environment and youth, college and university sports were vividly debated.

As examples, Chief Executive of the Anti-Doping Authority the Netherlands, Herman Ram, spoke with experience on how the anti-doping authorities in Holland deal with the complex cases of athletes’ unintended doping. And former professional cyclist Michael Rasmussen gave a bold presentation to the delegates on his experience with the anti-doping system after he was caught. Those and other presentations led to discussions on to which extent it can be allowed that certain ethical principles are compromised in order to prevent doping. Many questions were addressed and answered but it also became clear that we still scarcely understand anti-doping’s far reaching impact.

The research that was presented and the formal as well as informal discussions that followed during coffee breaks and meals also made it clear that the INDR does not consist of members with a uniform set of opinions from scholars all going in the same direction. Some may have felt harsh critique while others believe in a more direct approach. The INDR does not advocate any single position and its members consist of respected international scholars from across academia. The INDR is a collection of scholars from across the humanities and social sciences who investigate issues related to doping and anti-doping in sport in their various social, political, and cultural contexts. The approach to the issue and the research presented is often ground-breaking and thought-provoking and has influenced policymakers, sport officials as well as the debate in the society at large. This, we believe, was also manifest at the 2015 INDR conference. We look forward to seeing you again in 2017.


Dear INHDR members

As announced previously on the conference in Aarhus, the international debate on anti-doping is going to continue very soon in this same town, Aarhus, when Play the Game holds it 9th conference from 25-29 October.

The conference will gather 350-400 journalists, academics and policy makers in debates about a number of current cases and questions in international sport. As for anti-doping, the allegations brought up by the German TV station ARD and several Russian whistleblowers on widespread doping and related corrupt practices in the IAAF will be highlighted, as well as an update on the situation incycling.

The Russian whistleblowing couple Vitaliy and Yuliya Stepanova will be keynote speakers accompanied by the investigative journalist behind the ARD broadcasts, Hans-Joachim Seppelt. Among the other speakers you will find

Richard W. Pound, former WADA President, Canada
Sandro Donati, famous independent Italian doping researcher and whistleblower
Peter Nicholson, former member of UCI’s independent investigation IRC commission
Frédéric Donzé, eirector of European Office and IF Relations, WADA
Herman Ram, director, Antidopingautoriteit, the Netherlands
Michael Ask, director, Anti-Doping Danmark

Various academic and institutional presenters will present flaws in the anti-doping system and launch proposals for how the efforts can be improved.

More than 100 speakers have already confirmed their presence, and you can see the list Here you can also find a programme overview and a list over all the current themes dealt with by Play the Game 2015 – including the need for better governance insport, the fight against matchfixing, the debate un mega-events and their sustainability, the efforts to promote physical activity across the world, among others.

We have 3-4 vacant slots in our session on doping and still welcome abstracts and proposals for the programme. You are of course also welcome to participate without giving a presentation.

Due to the late notice we can offer an extension of the deadline for Early Bird rates for INHDRmembers until 30 September. In order to achieve this discount in the period inbetween, you must choose bank transfer as payment form, noting under “Special remarks”: “INDHR early bird rate agreed with organisers”.

You can find all the information you need regarding abstract submission, registration etcetera, and I am of course also at your disposal for any question you may you have.

Hoping to welcome you in Aarhus,

Best regards / Bedste hilsner

Jens Sejer Andersen
International director /International chef


The INDR continues to expand its membership base. We now have 56 members of the network from Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. In this newsletter we would like to welcome: