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Research Integrity

Canada issues scientific integrity guidance for federal researchers

by Sharon Oosthoek, special to C&EN
August 3, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 32

 

The Canadian government released new guidelines on July 30 to encourage federal scientists to speak freely about their work and to protect their research from political and commercial interference. The guidelines are the result of new scientific integrity provisions included in a 2017 agreement with the union representing federal scientists. They were issued as an example policy to help federal departments and agencies develop their own scientific integrity policies, which must be in place by the end of the year. Muzzling of federal researchers was a major political issue in the 2015 federal election after reports showed that the government under former prime minister Stephen Harper had restricted federal scientists from speaking publicly and presenting research at conferences. The new model policy emphasizes the need for openness and transparency. It also offers procedures for dealing with breaches of scientific integrity. Kathleen Walsh, director of policy at Evidence for Democracy, which advocates for evidence-based policy, says the guidelines include “some very positive provisions, such as the right of last review for scientists, the release of information in a timely manner, and scientists not needing preapproval to speak about their research.”

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