By now the fact that senior NIWA scientist Jim Salinger lost his job last week has made global headlines (in the blogosphere at least). Apparently, he spoke to the media without approval from his superiors. OK, NIWA is a commercial entity & there are a lot of checks & balances to ensure that commercially sensitive information doesn’t get out when it shouldn’t – but it’s hard to imagine how commenting on the weather faills into that category. And I would argue that there’s a need for more scientists to communicate with everyone else about what they do (by talking with reporters, giving lectures, coming to Cafe Scientifque, or writing a blog) – but a move like this will only make many scientists even less inclined to take part in these increasingly important conversations.
Makes me glad my blog’s hosted by the University, where the whole ‘critic & conscience of society’ thing is a key part of what we do 🙂
Update: you might be interested in Peter Griffin’s commentary, on the Science Media Centre site.