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Friday, March 28, 2008

Openness and transparency

You may remember my recent post on the minutes of science board, released following a request under the freedom of information act. Well there has been a further development; this from Paul Crowther's website:

`News' reporting by Prof Mike Green of STFC Science Board minutes has been removed from his commentary and, in turn, these pages, since `STFC have stated categorically that they cannot be reproduced, stored or transmitted without written permission'. According to paragraph 73 of the DIUS Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees `[they] should establish a policy on what documents are to be published based on principles of openness and transparency.'

I shall not comment further except to say that I am surprised that Prof. Green's commentary was thought to breach the copyright; he did not release the documents, he offered a critique and reported news as ought to be fair game. I can only suppose it was because he used direct quotes within his critique. However you slice it, though, this makes STFC look bad.

Anyway, I think it is in all our best interests to see what science board had to say and so the only course left to those of us who want to know is to follow Prof Green's advice:

The SB minutes however, having been released under FoIA, are now available to anyone. Simply send an email to asking for a copy of the documents released to me under 2007/12/17/FoI/MG

Since STFC are strictly limiting access to those who request I do not think it could be construed as malicious requests if large numbers of the astronomy and particle physics communities were to request said documents.

Of course I doubt that they would available in time for the STFC forum at NAM, in case anyone wanted to question material contained within.

Just bad timing I guess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the address of wikileaks?