The CBC reports on Nature’s extraordinary editorial on the Harper government’s control over scientific dissemination, policy which is starting to make headlines internationally as well.

The full text of the editorial in Nature can be found here. The criticism is severe. As the articles notes,

Researchers who once would have felt comfortable responding freely and promptly to journalists are now required to direct inquiries to a media-relations office, which demands written questions in advance

, and might not permit scientists to speak. Canadian journalists have documented several instances in which prominent researchers have been prevented from discussing published, peer-reviewed literature. Policy directives and e-mails obtained from the government through freedom of information reveal a confused and Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge.

While troubling, such attempts at ‘message control’ should not come as a surprise for a government that has acknowlegded it does not wish to ‘govern on the basis of statistics’.

Nicholas McGinnis