Scientists dismiss moves as attempt to curtail independence
Over 80 of the UK?s leading scientists have signed a document rejecting a set of government proposals that they say would compromise their integrity.
The government?s proposals aim to set out ground rules which it hopes will stop advisers publicly disagreeing with government policy.
However, scientists have rejected the move as an attempt by ministers to curtail the independence of those sitting on advisory committees.
The move follows the row over the sacking of Professor David Nutt, the chairman of the advisory committee on drug misuse (ACDM), last October.
Nutt was removed by the home secretary, Alan Johnson, a day after he said scientific evidence showed ecstasy and cannabis were less dangerous than alcohol. Five other members of the committee have since resigned.
Sense about Science ? which has been at the forefront of attempts to enshrine the independence of scientific advisers ? said two more members intended to quit if the government did not change its stance, while other scientists said they would not work with the government under the proposed new rules.
"The academic community is outraged," Tracey Brown, the managing director of the charity, told the Guardian newspaper.
"There are some members, not just on the ACDM, who are threatening to resign if the government doesn?t come back with something better."
Added the 16 February 2010 in category Innovation News