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
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