Op-ed warns that government policies on science communication could be "crippling"

October 15, 2014

An op-ed from Sarah Otto, Director of the Biodiversity Research Centre in the Department of Zoology at UBC, calls for open sharing of knowledge between scientists and the public. Otto's piece responds to the recent report from Evidence for Democracy that suggests that Canadian scientists are limited in their ability to communicate their findings. Otto cites several cases of scientists who were censored by the government, and suggests that they represent just a small sample of likely cases. She also cites a study from the Professional Institute of the Public Services of Canada, which found that 90% of scientists working in 40 federal departments felt that they could not speak freely with the media about their work. Otto warns that “withholding knowledge is crippling” and calls on the government to “let scientists speak, let them make sure that the facts are straight, and let them at least speak as individuals if they cannot speak for their departments.” Toronto Star