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U.S. Scientists Must Be Vocal, ‘Reject Interference’ From Politics

New York Times: When Canadian Scientists Were Muzzled by Their Government
Wendy Palen, associate professor of biology at Canada’s Simon Fraser University and board chair of the nonprofit Evidence for Democracy

“Less than a month into the Trump presidency, and the forecast for science seems ominous. Scientists at federal agencies have been hit with gag orders preventing them from communicating their findings, or in some cases, attending scientific conferences. Social media accounts and websites have been censored, and at least one agency was asked to identify personnel who worked on climate policies. Now there are proposals for slashing research budgets and gutting funding that could affect the training of the next generation of scientists. To top it all off, President Trump’s cabinet nominees and senior advisers include many who are climate deniers or doubters. Canadians experienced a similar assault on science a decade ago under Prime Minister Stephen Harper. … Ultimately, Canada’s scientific community came together to save our research, galvanized support to fight back, and captured the attention and concern of the public. I hope our experience — in the spirit of science transcending borders — can be instructive. … So here’s our advice as the Trump administration gears up. Spotlight and champion scientists’ refusal to kowtow to intimidation. … Evidence and objective reality are the foundation of successful policy and governance. Openness is as vital to science as it is to democracy. We cannot allow hard-won knowledge to be ignored or distorted. To fight the snuffing of the light of scientific inquiry, learn from your neighbors to the north. Reject interference. Stay vigilant and stay vocal. In other words, stay scientists” (2/14).

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