Journal urges Ottawa to stop muzzling scientists

Mar 02, 2012
The internet homepage of the US scientific magazine Nature. Nature called on the Canadian government in an online editorial Friday to "set its scientists free" and allow them to speak about their research.

The science journal Nature called on the Canadian government in an online editorial Friday to "set its scientists free" and allow them to speak about their research.

"It is time for the to set its scientists free," Nature said in a rebuke of a "gradual tightening of media protocols for federal scientists" since Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives won power in 2006.

The editorial described a "confused and Byzantine approach to the press" by the Harper government, "prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of ."

"Researchers who once would have felt comfortable responding freely and promptly to are now required to direct inquiries to a media relations office, which demands written questions in advance, and might not permit scientists to speak," it said.

"Prominent researchers have been prevented from discussing published, peer-reviewed literature."

Nature called on Ottawa to heed complaints from the Canadian Science Writers' Association and other groups critical of the "muzzling of publicly funded scientists."

These were outlined in a letter to Harper sent mid-February, which lists examples such as Environment Canada's David Tarasick being prevented from speaking to the press about his research.

Explore further: Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Canadian medical journal editors are fired

Feb 22, 2006

The Canadian Medical Association has fired two of the leading editors of its peer-reviewed journal, reportedly in a dispute over editorial independence.

Canada's PM lauds Nobel laureate Steinman

Oct 03, 2011

Canada's prime minister paid tribute Monday to Canadian cell biologist Ralph Steinman, who died days before being awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his pioneering work on the immune system.

Recommended for you

Ig Nobel winner: Using pork to stop nosebleeds

11 hours ago

There's some truth to the effectiveness of folk remedies and old wives' tales when it comes to serious medical issues, according to findings by a team from Detroit Medical Center.

History books spark latest Texas classroom battle

Sep 16, 2014

As Texas mulls new history textbooks for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.

Flatow, 'Science Friday' settle claims over grant

Sep 16, 2014

Federal prosecutors say radio host Ira Flatow and his "Science Friday" show that airs on many National Public Radio stations have settled civil claims that they misused money from a nearly $1 million federal ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

denijane
5 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2012
""Researchers who once would have felt comfortable responding freely and promptly to journalists are now required to direct inquiries to a media relations office, which demands written questions in advance, and might not permit scientists to speak," it said."

That's ridiculous. It's hard enough to get the public interested in your research, I can't believe that the authorities intentionally prevent scientists from talking. Why?! There are sensitive researches, but they are very very few. And if something is published in peer-reviewed journal (ot any journal acutally), it's public - everybody can read it. Then why this absurd policy?!
Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (1) Mar 04, 2012
Because Canada has a Conservative government, and Conservatives are the pure ignorance and pure evil.

"That's ridiculous. It's hard enough to get the public interested in your research, I can't believe that the authorities intentionally prevent scientists from talking. Why?"
Callippo
not rated yet Mar 04, 2012
Interestingly it's just the Nature journal, which applies the most stringent rules for publications and which prohibits the scientists in presentation of their results anywhere else. Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?