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Australian scientists can now speak freely

In response to concerns over gagging, government agency changes policy

Stephen Pincock
Australia's top government science organization has completely rewritten its policy on public comments by staff this week, after admitting that the existing policy had discouraged staff from speaking about their research in public.The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) launched a review of its old policy in February after several climate researchers went public with claims that they had been gagged.CSIRO chief executive Geoff Garrett asked a panel of scientists led by chemist Tony Haymet, currently the organization's director of science and policy, to consult with staff over the policy. After holding 10 separate consultation sessions, they came to the conclusion that CSIRO needed to reaffirm its trust in its scientists."The common denominator was that [staff] felt the old policy was contradictory," Haymet told The Scientist. While its preamble was very positive about communicating science to the wider community, it also included a series of negative...

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