[ASC-list] CSIRO and the reporting of research results.

David Mussared mussared at emailmedia.com.au
Thu Nov 5 01:43:37 UTC 2009


Thanks Toss

I listened to that item with great interest this morning (above the 
sound of the morning zoo)

I have also still not seen any official response from the CSIRO to 
Geoff Russell's allegation that CSIRO held back its own research 
results which showed that people on a low-meat diet lost just as much 
weight as did people on the high-meat diet prescribed in the 
best-selling 'CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet'.

In his book 'CSIRO Perfidy' Russell makes some very disturbing claims 
about CSIRO's corporate behaviour (and communications behaviour). 
These are worrying whether you agree with Russell or not, although 
they have been somewhat clouded by more sensational discussion about 
bowel cancer and animal rights issues.

In essence Russell alleges that the CSIRO manipulated the release of 
research results to please its sponsor and maximise book sales, 
over-riding significant public health and environmental 
responsibilities.

I recommend people interested in CSIRO's corporate behaviour should 
read Russell's book - see: http://perfidy.com.au (I am not an animal 
rights activist, nor a vegetarian, nor - thanks Niall - a conspiracy 
theorist - but I am an former CSIRO communicator and science 
journalist, and I found many of his claims troubling). I will suspend 
my own judgement until I see a CSIRO response, but I do feel a 
response is needed.

I recall issues like that affecting Chris Spash coming up when I 
worked for CSIRO headquarters in the early 1990s. The organisation 
did not then have a clear way of dealing with them. Divisions in 
those days had more clout, and were able to defend individual 
scientists more effectively from Corporate Centre censorship, but it 
was always a hard issue (as I am sure Toss will also remember).

My own feeling is that CSIRO still has some way to go to clean up its 
act after some of its less glorious moments under the Howard 
administration.


David Mussared


>An interesting discussion in CSIRO at the moment, on freedom of 
>staff to report research finding:
>
>"The CSIRO is grappling with claims it is trying to censor the work 
>of an economist who has criticised the policy at the centre of the 
>Federal Government's response to climate change."
>
>For more details, see:
>
>http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/11/05/2733825.htm
>
>
>
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