White House Tried to Stop Climate Science Testimony, Documents Show – The New York Times

The White House tried to stop a State Department senior intelligence analyst from discussing climate science in congressional testimony this week, internal emails and documents show.

The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research declined to make changes to the proposed testimony and the analyst, Rod Schoonover, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, was ultimately allowed to speak before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday.

But in a highly unusual move, the White House refused to approve Dr. Schoonover’s written testimony for entry into the permanent Congressional Record. The reasoning, according to a June 4 email seen by The New York Times, was that the science did not match the Trump administration’s views….”

Wikimedia Foundation petitions the European Court of Human Rights to lift the block of Wikipedia in Turkey – Wikimedia Foundation

“At the Wikimedia Foundation, we believe that free access to knowledge and freedom of expression are fundamental human rights. We believe that when people have good information, they can make better decisions. Free access to information creates economic opportunity and empowers people to build sustainable livelihoods. Knowledge makes our societies more informed, more connected, and more equitable.

Over the past two years, we have seen governments censor Wikipedia, including in Turkey and most recently in China, denying these rights to millions of people around the world.

Today, we proceed to the European Court of Human Rights, an international court which hears cases of human rights violations within the Council of Europe, to ask the Court to lift the more than two-year block of Wikipedia in Turkey. We are taking this action as part of our continued commitment to knowledge and freedom of expression as fundamental rights for every person….”

Plan S: how important is open access publishing? | Times Higher Education (THE)

Dislike of gold open access is also partly responsible for researchers’ opposition to Plan S. Lynn Kamerlin, professor of structural biology at Uppsala University, is one of the instigators of the open letter against it. While she pledges strong support for open access, she is happy with the current rate of progress and sees the recent “explosion” in the use of preprint servers as illustrative of the range of routes towards it. She fears that the details of Plan S’ “embargo requirements and repository technical requirements…are so draconian that paid-for gold becomes the easiest way to fulfil them”. This will convert the “nudges” towards gold in existing funder mandates (which she supports) into a “shove”, which will be “a disaster for the research community” because it will disadvantage those unable to pay article processing charges and “seriously jeopardise the much more rigorous quality control standards provided by high-quality society journals compared to the high-volume for-profit business model, which has an inbuilt conflict of interest”.

Nor is Kamerlin alone in expressing a concern that the allegedly lower standards of peer review practised by fully open access journals have compromised quality. But, for Suber, debating quality rather misses the point. “Yes, there is some low-quality open access work, but there’s also low-quality subscription journal work, and people who step back [to see the bigger picture] always acknowledge that,” he says. “Quality and access are completely independent of each other. Open access isn’t a kind of peer review, it’s a kind of dissemination.”

However, he agrees with Kamerlin that the “green” form of open access, whereby academics post work that is in subscription journals on their institutional repositories or elsewhere…is another good option….”

Ekklesia | China censors British academic publisher

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has condemned the Chinese government’s censorship of academic journals that the British publishing house Taylor & Francis provides to Chinese libraries.

Taylor & Francis, whose publications include the Asian Studies Review, confirmed on 20 December 2018 that its Chinese importer, a government offshoot, decided in September 2018 to block 83 of the 1,466 academic journals to which Taylor & Francis provides access in China…. 

The German publishing house Springer Nature, which owns the science magazines Nature and Scientific American, as well as the Journal of Chinese Political Science and the publishing house Palgrave Macmillan, confirmed in November 2017 that the Chinese authorities had forced it to block online access to around one per cent of its articles within China. 

Three months before that, the Cambridge University Press (CUP), another respected academic publishing house, reported that, at the Chinese authorities’ request, it was blocking access within China to 300 articles in the online archives of its China Quarterly journal. In response to the ensuing outcry, the CUP restored access….”

Ryan Zinke Puts Interior Department Loyalist In Charge Of Public Records Requests

“Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has put political appointee Daniel Jorjani in charge of overseeing all public information requests sent to the agency. Jorjani once told Interior colleagues that their job is ultimately to protect Zinke from ethics probes and bad press….

And in a March 2017 email to colleagues, Jorjani boasted that he had “successfully protected” Interior presidential appointments facing investigations and that their main responsibility was to do the same for Zinke….

Meg Townsend, the Center for Biological Diversity’s open government attorney, accused Zinke of “politicizing” the FOIA process. 

“With a Koch crony in charge of records requests, the department will work in darkness,” she said in a statement. “Public records that might shame Zinke or big polluters will be covered up, and our public lands and wildlife will suffer.” …”

Opposition builds to Interior Department records purge | Salon.com

The proposed document purge includes records about endangered species, oil and gas leases, timber sales, dams and land purchases….

The National Archives has said that getting rid of records is standard and has been going on for decades. The schedule’s language gives broad authority to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to destroy records documenting government efforts to protect endangered species and public lands.

 

“The Trump administration wants to bury science and hide how mining, drilling and logging on public lands devastate our precious natural spaces,” said Meg Townsend, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.…”

“Ag-Gag” Laws: Evolution, Resurgence, and Public Health Implications

Abstract:  The term “ag-gag” refers to state laws that intentionally limit public access to information about agricultural production practices, particularly livestock production. Originally created in the 1990s, these laws have recently experienced a resurgence in state legislatures. We discuss the recent history of ag-gag laws in the United States and question whether such ag-gag laws create a “chilling effect” on reporting and investigation of occupational health, community health, and food safety concerns related to industrial food animal production. We conclude with a discussion of the role of environmental and occupational health professionals to encourage critical evaluation of how ag-gag laws might influence the health, safety, and interests of day-to-day agricultural laborers and the public living proximal to industrial food animal production.