Should scientific information flow more freely in Canada?
Download Flash Player to view this content.
One of the world's most prestigious scientific journals has released an editorial blasting the federal government for freezing out Canadian scientists.
The journal Nature argues that Canada's publicly funded scientists are finding it harder to speak openly about their research, especially with members of the media.
The editorial also argues that the U.S. has adopted more open practices since the end of George W. Bush's presidency, while Canada has gone in the opposite direction.
Nature says Canada is headed in the wrong direction in not letting its scientists speak out freely. (iStock) "Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Party won power in 2006, there has been a gradual tightening of media protocols for federal scientists and other government workers," the journal claimed. Nature has criticized the government's approach to openness in the past and argues now that the situation has not improved.
"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."
The editorial goes on to call the government's policy directives "confused and Byzantine," and accuses the government of "prioritizing message control" and "showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge."
The article follows this week's announcement that Canada's northernmost research laboratory is shutting down, largely due to a discontinuation of government funding.
The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Nunavut has been tracking ozone depletion, air quality and climate change in the High Arctic since 2005.
"Shutting it down causes a big gap in the measurements," Jim Drummond, a Dalhousie University researcher who is the principal investigator for PEARL, said Tuesday. "We're losing the ability to know what's going on up there."
The editorial also comes on the heels of an open letter from groups representing both journalists and federal scientists - such as the Canadian Science Writers' Association and the World Federation of Science Journalists.
The letter alleged that scientists are being hampered from talking to the media about their taxpayer-funded research, to the detriment of the public.
When we asked the CBC Community in an informal survey if federal scientists and journalists should have more open lines of communication, 92 per cent of respondents chose, "Yes, more or all research must be made public."
Do you think Canada's reputation for advancing scientific research is suffering? Why or why not? What role should the government play in allowing scientists to speak about their findings?
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
More entries for category: Community
Meet the Community Team
CBC News Community team, from left to right: Andrew Yates, Lauren O'Neil, John Bowman
If you're part of the CBC News community, you're likely to meet one of us: we're the folks working to produce and promote your stories. Read more about us.
Other Your Community Entries
- 2013 (747)
- Barnaby Jack mourned by fellow hackers, friends, fans
- Pakistani TV show hands out babies in Ramadan ratings battle
- Weiner scandal sparks 'sexting' debate
- Russia's anti-gay laws prompt vodka, Olympics boycott
- Automated bots reserve tables at restaurants before you can
- Japanese teens sell ad space on thighs
- Is Google Chromecast the future of TV?
- Vaccine denier Jenny McCarthy pick as View host worries experts
- Pope Francis becomes cellphone celebrity in Brazil
- Jane Austen to be the new face of the £10 note
- Great Canadians Near You: Jeremy Dias
- Party hats top surveillance cameras for George Orwell's birthday
- Google recruits Street View mapping volunteers
- New Yorker recruits Bert and Ernie to celebrate same-sex marriage ruling
- '3-parent' fertility treatments sparks reader debate
- School kids correct celebrity grammar mistakes on Twitter
- Calgary's kids create adorable thank-you notes for volunteers
- Wendy Davis pink trainers sell big online
- June photo contest: How do you start your morning?
- Do you think the Queen deserves a raise?
- Generation Why says farewell for now
- 'Prancercise' founder sashays across the web
- Readers debate merits of anti-bullying video depicting suicide
- Fired Mayor Ford chief of staff laughs it up on Twitter
- Amish teens on Rumspringa rush for Facebook
- Grumpy Cat goes from meme to movie star
- CBCNews.ca readers react to the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler
- Facebook to crack down on gender-based hate following outcry
- Bank of Canada cries fraud on $90K 'Duffy buck' cartoon
- Canadians react to the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler
- Illegal wildlife trade thrives on the 'dark web'
- Stanford students seek bone marrow match for beloved professor
- Google Glass user's shower photo freaks out internet
- Canada's new polymer notes get orbital boost
- Inmates use Yelp to review prison conditions
- Canadians react to foreign worker program changes
- VOTE: April Photo Contest Finalists
- Alberta public employees, government tweet across the picket line
- Fashion-savvy seniors flaunt 'Advanced Style'
- Praise rolls in for gay NBA player Jason Collins
- Generation Why: March 29
- Prominent Canadians bid farewell to Ralph Klein on Twitter
- Ralph Klein: Share your condolences
- Vera Wang ditches $500 'try-on' fee in China following global outcry
- Live Online replay: The star power of pandas
- B.C. ad evokes Amanda Todd to warn against 'just one photo'
- 'Stop rape' dislodging 'stay safe' advice on social media
- Brands support same-sex marriage in U.S. debate
- 'Rent a Mourner' fills your funeral with fake friends
- Ogooglebar! Sweden's spat with Google inspires 'ungoogleable' fun
- REPLAY Pope Benedict resigns: What's next for the Catholic church?
- Russian 'ghost' ship has Twitter intrigued
- Beijing woman's dummy tummy stunt on Subway causes outrage
- CPC, Wildrose, CBC line up to cut ties to Flanagan
- Vote for our February photo contest winner
- Married couple sought for millionaire's Mars mission
- Boeing's bid to replace CF-18s gets CBCNews.ca readers talking
- Vatican scrubs @pontifex Twitter account
- Rosa Parks statue unveiled on Capitol Hill
- Morrissey and Jimmy Kimmel in feud over Duck Dynasty
- Opposites attract: Tell us your unlikely love story
- Youth for hire: employing 'Generation Jobless'
- Fired HMV employees take over Twitter account
- Toronto company puts your head on a Pez dispenser
- Perfume for babies released by Dolce & Gabbana
- U.S. man shot in driveway mix-up mourned online
- World reacts to new Blackberry phones, Alicia Keys hire
- Will BlackBerry 10 turn things around for the company?
- Is Volkswagen's new Super Bowl Commercial racist?
- Graphic porn invades Twitter's Vine app
- July (131)