Forty percent of scientists answering a survey say they have felt gagged because of management policy or concern over losing funding.

The Government was considering guidelines to scientists on the difference between speaking about their areas of expertise, and advocacy.

A total of 384 New Zealand scientists answered the Association of Scientists’ survey, half of whom work in Crown research institutes, or CRIs.

Association president Nicola Gaston said of those who had not felt gagged, many said they had witnessed it happening to others.

“There’s an issue around embarrassing the Government, but the funding issue is quite poor so the kinds of commercial funding that come into the CRIs, those contracts are one particular issue.

“But there’s also the idea of Government funding being effected by speaking out, saying the wrong things, perhaps having a point of view which is not that of the expert reviewers on a particular funding proposal.”

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Unfortunately this trend is a worldwide issue where scientists ask questions and presents facts which do not agree with commercial and government interests. An example could be a government funded study into the effects of fracking which brings to light issues which don’t agree with a government’s new policy to sell more fracking rights.

The main problem a lot of scientists face around the world face is around funding. Unfortunately, governments and corporations are the ones with the resources and tend to fund only studies which they know will show favourable results. Those studies which show results that don’t agree with the goals of the entity are either not published or the funding cut to those doing the research. A perfect example is mentioned in a previous article on Bad Pharma as trials and studies that show unfavourable results rarely see the public domain. The fact that New Zealand scientists feel this same pressure to ‘tow the line’ is not surprising. 

The introduction of a new ethics code could definitely help the integrity of the industry, as long is it wasn’t written by those who are most likely to come under scrutiny.

About The Author

Wake Up NZ is a team of dedicated truth-seekers from all over New Zealand. We are committed to disseminating information that the mainstream media fails to bring to you.

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One Response

  1. flow

    i’ve seen this first hand overseas, so i quit research. btw. “effect” and “affect” have different meanings, might want to grammar check the article.


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