Suppression clauses in university health research: case study of an Australian government contract negotiation

Kypros Kypri
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (2): . || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01497
Published online: 20 July 2015

Government research contracts routinely contain suppression clauses. Have universities forgotten their role in promoting open enquiry?

In a 2006 survey of a random sample of public health academics in Australia (46% response fraction), 21% of the 302 respondents reported having personally experienced a funding-related suppression event in the preceding 5½ years; ie, a funder had invoked a clause in the funding contract “sanitising, delaying or prohibiting” the publication of research findings.1The study also showed that the incidence of sanitisation events had increased over time. According to the respondents, their work was targeted because it “… drew attention to failings in health services (48%), the health status of a vulnerable group (26%), or pointed to a harm in the environment (11%)”.1

  • Kypros Kypri

  • University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW.


My research is supported by an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship and a Senior Brawn Fellowship from the University of Newcastle.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


remove_circle_outline Delete Author
add_circle_outline Add Author

Do you have any competing interests to declare? *

I/we agree to assign copyright to the Medical Journal of Australia and agree to the Conditions of publication *
I/we agree to the Terms of use of the Medical Journal of Australia *
Email me when people comment on this article

Online responses are no longer available. Please refer to our instructions for authors page for more information.