Statement on the Need to Protect the Scientific Deliberative Process

TitleStatement on the Need to Protect the Scientific Deliberative Process
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsAvery, SK, Madin, LP
JournalProfessional Ethics Report
PublisherAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISSN Number1045-8808
AbstractOn Sunday June 3, the Boston Globe published an opinion piece by Drs. Christopher Reddy and Richard Camilli about WHOI’s court-ordered production of documents in the Deepwater Horizon litigation. We offer here a fuller account of these events, and our view of what is at stake for WHOI, scientists in the United States, and society at large. What concerns us is the erosion of the academic freedom to “…remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate…” without being subject to subpoena or investigation as recognized and protected by the law going back to the 1957 Supreme Court decision, Sweezy vs New Hampshire. In Sweezy, the Supreme Court stood up to protect the freedoms of academic debate, thought, and lecture in holding, “Freedom to reason and freedom for disputation on the basis of observation and experiment are the necessary conditions for the advancement of scientific knowledge.” Unlike Sweezy, we are not facing the challenges of academics during the Communist red scare; however, the threat of litigation stifling scientific deliberation is real and troubling.
Audience LevelUndergraduate Student Graduate Student