I am awaiting the Employment Court’s decision of Jim Salinger’s case (see Clamping down on science communication). However, related to this is the scandal blowing up in the UK over the sacking of the Professor David Nutt as the governments chief science advisor on drugs. Prof. Nutt was chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. Two other members of the Council have resigned in protest (see Government drug adviser David Nutt sacked, David Nutt’s sacking provokes mass revolt against Alan Johnson and Drug expert quits panel over sacking of David Nutt).
A couple of local science bloggers have posts giving the background to Prof. Nutt’s sacking and the issues involved. Have a look at Peter Griffin’s When science and politics collide – the fallout from the Nutt affair at Griffin’s Gadgets and Grant Jacobs’ When is a scientific paper political campaigning? at Code for Life.
Related to the issue of the conflict between science and politics is this panel discussion Do We Still Believe in Science? It took place a few days ago at the Quantum to Cosmos Festival held at the Perimeter Insitute in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. There are also some other great videos from this festival listed on the programme.
See also: Cabinet in drug war over sacking
Mediation between Jim Salinger and hi former employer, Crown Research Institute NIWA, has failed. There will now be a pubn;ic hearing before the Employment Relations Authority. According to Stuff.
“It is a bit sad that common sense could not prevail, but now we will go to the next stage,” the Crown agency’s long-serving principal scientist said.
His lawyer has lodged a claim with the Employment Relations Authority, but would not reveal details.
Employment law specialist Peter Cullen said the next step would involve Dr Salinger filing a statement with the authority, setting out his grievance and how he wanted Niwa to solve it. The hearing would be public.
“The statement could include reinstatement to his job, reimbursement of lost wages and compensation for humiliation and distress,” he said.
Clamping down on science communication
Good luck Jim
Climate scientist, Jim Salinger, is scheduled to go into mediation today with his former employer NIWA. He is taking legal action after his shock dismissal three weeks ago (see Clamping down on science communication) .
Some climate change deniers appeared happy over Salinger’s sacking. But it’s important to realise that the dismissal had nothing to do with any climate change controversy. Dr Salinger was sacked because he talked to media organisation without prior approval of the management bureaucracy at NIWA.
Unfortunately, the legal case may be considered solely on the issue of whether or not Salinger violated a “lawful” bureaucratic edict by his employers. I hope this is not the case. Natural justice requires that the whole problem of bureaucratic control of science communication to the public be aired.