HC Deb 01 December 1987 vol 123 cc561-2W
Sir David Price

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what representations he has received about the recent introduction of a requirement that the results of research sponsored by his Department may be published only with his consent; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what criteria he intends to apply when considering applications to publish in learned journals the findings of research sponsored by his Department where that research reaches conclusions critical of his policy; and in what circumstances permission to publish may be refused.

(3) if he will state the reasons why he has changed the form of his Department's contracts for research work.

Mrs. Currie

A review last year of the Department's standard conditions for research contracts showed that their wording was not fully consistent with the responsibilities for Crown Copyright delegated to it by the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, and conferred inadequate control over the publication of material resulting from research commissioned by the Department even in cases where legal advice might be against it. The wording was therefore revised accordingly.

The Department has received a number of representa-tions from members of the research community who fear that the change could lead to the publication of research results being restricted for other reasons. The revised wording however requires that consent to publish shall not be withheld unreasonably, and we expect to give it as readily as in the past.

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