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Censorship, intimidation or other restriction on the freedom of scientists employed or funded by government agencies is inimical to the advance of science, the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said in a resolution passed at the 2006 AAAS Annual Meeting in St. Louis.
The Council, which meets annually to establish general policies for the science society, applauded a recent statement by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin that his agency is “committed to open scientific and technical inquiry and dialogue with the public.”
Griffin has ordered a review of NASA’s public affairs policies
following allegations that political appointees tried to censor statements
by agency scientists, including threats of “dire consequences”
against James E. Hansen, a NASA climate scientist who has long expressed
concern about the potential impact of global warming.
The AAAS Council also applauded a recent statement by Conrad Lautenbacher Jr., director of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, encouraging NOAA scientists “to speak freely and openly.”
In another resolution passed during the St. Louis meeting, which ended 20 February, the Council called on federal research agencies to extend previous funding and renewal deadlines for faculty members at New Orleans institutions affected by Hurricane Katrina. The resolution notes that disruptions caused by the hurricane have prevented faculty members from completing experiments and grant proposals in time for renewal applications. The affected institutions include Tulane University, Dillard University, Louisiana State University and Xavier University.
27 February 2006
WHEREAS the advance of science depends on the free and open exchange of data and findings among scientists; and
WHEREAS the capacity of members of the public and their representatives in government to understand and effectively address many of the most important policy issues of our time depends on access to the relevant science; and
WHEREAS a substantial fraction of this science is done in governmental agencies or is funded by them; and
WHEREAS censorship, intimidation, or other restriction on the freedom of scientists employed or funded by governmental organizations to communicate their unclassified scientific findings and assessments not only to each other but also to policymakers and to the public is inimical to the advance of science and its appropriate application in the policy domain;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED by the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that such censorship, intimidation, and restriction are inappropriate.
WE APPLAUD in this connection the recent statement of
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin that NASA is “committed to open
scientific and technical inquiry and dialogue with the public”
and that of NOAA Director Conrad Lautenbacher Jr. encouraging NOAA
scientists “to speak freely and openly.”
Approved by the AAAS Council on February 19, 2006
WHEREAS, Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent floods caused unprecedented disruption in research at Tulane University, Dillard University, Louisiana State University, Xavier University and other New Orleans institutions, and
WHEREAS, the faculty and administration of these institutions are working valiantly to re-establish their research capabilities; and
WHEREAS, specific faculty with federal research grants have been unable to complete experiments and grant proposals in time for renewal applications;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED by the Council that AAAS call upon the federal research agencies to grant an extraordinary extension of previous funding and renewal deadlines, as determined appropriate by the agencies after consultation with the affected institutions.
Approved by the AAAS Council on February 20, 2006