'With the publication of the first issue of the Journal for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism in January 2010 the activities of the Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism at the University of Sheffield, established in 2000, have come to a preliminary end. On March 8, faculty administration put following message on the Centers website:
The Faculty of Arts and Humanities regrets that, with effect from 1 January 2010, the activities of the Centre for Research for Freemasonry and Fraternalism are suspended for the time being.[ ]The CRF(F) has over the past ten years contributed considerably to the vitalization of academic research into freemasonry and related fraternal organizations both in Britain and abroad. We are in this respect deeply indebted to the efforts of founding director, prof Andrew Prescott. It is intended to publish a chronological overview over Ten Years of Research into Freemasonry at the University of Sheffield later this spring.
The Academic Society for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism (ASRFF) will immediately take over some core functions from the CRFF, such as the publication of a newsletter or the edition of the academic journal JRFF.
The Society is under formation and experienced already a serious blow with the tragic death of its intermediary president, prof Malcolm Davies, who passed away unexpectedly in February 2010. With the Leiden chair empty and the CRFF in hibernation, academic research at the moment and for the foreseeable future will be carried out by single academics based at single universities across the world.
This increases the need for cooperation of various initiatives such as the organization of conferences, e.g. the next International Conference on the History of Freemasonry that will take place in Alexandria, VA in late May 2011 and to which we currently are recruiting the Academic Committee. The ASRFF has created a temporary website that will be continually updated.'
Of course the OVN supports the ASRFF and calls upon it's members and colleagues to do the same. Students and scholars can join the society and subscribe to the journal, which will allow this initiative to grow. The OVN also feels that it is necessary to establish academic organisations for the study of freemasonry, such as the OVN in each country, for which the ASRFF could act as an international umbrella-organisation. This will provide valuable support to students and scholars and can make funding available for research - independent of the internal politics of Orders and universities.