Members defend the integrity of public sector science
16 October 2012, 12:11pm
CSIRO Section Secretary Sam Popovski launches the Science Integrity Charter campaign at CPSU National Leaders Conference
A new campaign to protect public sector science from commercial and political interference has been launched with the aim of introducing a charter to champion scientific integrity across the federal public sector.
CPSU members have started a petition calling on Science and Research Minister Chris Evans to support the charter proposal, with signatures being collected across the public sector including CSIRO, Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and Bureau of Meteorology.
“Science, innovation and research are fundamental to the economic, environmental and social needs and aspirations of the Australian community,” CSIRO Staff Association Secretary Sam Popovski said.
"The federal public sector is trusted to discover, apply and communicate science in a frank and fearless manner, without political or commercial interference.
“We believe science integrity is the fundamental issue that needs to be enforced in order to maximise trust from the public and to protect agencies and their staff from interference,” he said.
Why the need for a Science Integrity Charter? Your questions answered here.
The Proposal: So what might a Science Integrity Charter look like? Find out here.
How can I help? Visit the Science Integrity Charter campaign page.
The union push for integrity was partly in response to political attacks on scientists that have marred public debate on issues such as climate change, genetically modified food and water management.
“We’ve seen too many examples – think the climate change and GM debates – where the players have abandoned policy critique and transgressed into direct political attacks on scientists by way of invective, personal abuse, acts of sabotage and threats of violence,” Mr Popovski said.
The Science Integrity Charter is built on a set of five key principles: the open communication and dissemination of scientific work; encouraging the internal and external debate of science issues; contestability of science issues; the independence of public sector institutions and their staff and effective collaboration.
This proposal was devised in collaboration with key CPSU delegates and workplace leaders from CSIRO, DSTO, ANSTO and Bureau of Meteorology., Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Geoscience Australia, DIISRTE (Innovation), Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Antarctic Division.
Mr Popovski said that charter would complement and augment - rather than supersede - existing integrity implements that currently exist in organisations such as CSIRO, AIMS and ANSTO.