Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, July 20, 2007

Save the UK Select Committee on Science and Technology

38 notable UK scientists and science funders have published a letter to the editor in today's issue of The Guardian calling for the survival of the  House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology.  Among other things, the Select Committee provides oversight of the UK Office of Science & Innovation, which has already disappeared in Gordon Brown's reorganization of the government.  As a consequence, Parliament may lay down the Select Committee as well.  Excerpt:

The recent changes to the organisation of government departments involved moving the work of the Office of Science & Innovation into the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills, (DIUS) which will be scrutinised by a departmental select committee covering all those areas and matters to do with expenditure. However, as a result, there is the prospect of the abolition of the science and technology select committee along with its important functions.

This committee does a great deal of vital work scrutinising scientific matters and the use of evidence across government departments and agencies. Recent important inquiries include hybrid/chimera embryos, nanotechnology, the future of health research, the impact of EU legislation on MRI, [and] open access publishing....

Just as peer review is important in science, so is adequate oversight of the use of science in policy-making....

The lead signatory is Prof Sir Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society, and among the others are Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust, Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, and four Nobel laureates.


Update.  Also see brief notice from CORDIS News and the Daniel Clery story in Science Magazine.