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U.K. Policy Researchers Fear Ministry Censors

London - A new government policy has brought into sharp focus a simmering row between British academics and the Department of Health and Social Security on the integrity of their research findings. The immediate problem stems from new contract language specifying that publication of findings "is subject to the proper consent of the secretary of state, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld." Under the terms of the old contract, which covers social policy research commissioned by the

Melanie Phillips
London - A new government policy has brought into sharp focus a simmering row between British academics and the Department of Health and Social Security on the integrity of their research findings.

The immediate problem stems from new contract language specifying that publication of findings "is subject to the proper consent of the secretary of state, which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld." Under the terms of the old contract, which covers social policy research commissioned by the DHSS, department officials had a period of time to comment upon the findings but were unable to alter the findings or block publication. Not surprisingly, researchers feel that the new terms invite political censorship, and they are unwilling to believe assurances given to them by the DHSS that this will not occur. Many heads of research units icy has brought into sharp focus a are accordingly refusing to sign the new contract....

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