Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SCIENTISTS ADMIT SELF-CENSORING CONTROVERSIAL RESEARCH

We have noted this effect on cold fusion and post-Darwinian research.

Laura Cox, ABC News - A sociologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., questioned 157 scientists who found their work at the crux of a 2003 political clash between several members of Congress, a Christian lobbyist group called the Traditional Values Coalition and the National Institutes of Health.

Of the 112 scientists who responded to the survey and interviews, 51 percent said they have since self-censored their grant proposals to remove "red flag" words, such as gay, lesbian, AIDS, needle-exchange or anal sex from their titles or abstracts. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they either modified their studies to seem less controversial or abandoned controversial grant proposals.

Joanna Kempner, an assistant professor of sociology at Rutgers, said the study attempts to quantify the "chilling effect" of political or ideological controversy on scientists. "That controversy leads to a chilling effect is a claim that one hears often," said Kempner. "I thought we could actually study it and see if that were true."

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