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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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Objecting to Science Advice Principles on Principle
25 March 2010 11:11 am
Not everyone is happy with the U.K. government's new Principles for the Treatment of Independent Scientific Advice. Evan Harris, a Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament who is one of the nation's staunchest science advocates, has quickly blasted the much debated guidelines:
This document imposes a brand new and nebulous requirement on scientific advisers to "maintain the trust" of politicians, and they can sanctioned on this alone regardless of whether they have abided by their pre-existing detailed Code of Practice. This will be unacceptable to those in the science community who recognise the need to protect scientific advisers from the fickle whims of political prejudice.
The imposition of these principles by the Government is worse than the previous situation, where the Code of Practice governed the activities of advisers. Under these new principles another incident like the sacking of Professor David Nutt by the Home Secretary, which was criticised at the time by the Science Minister, will be entirely within the Government's new rules.
The Science community must resist these principles and should refuse to serve under them.