Open to errors

March 30, 2007

As staff at Sussex University's Science and Technology Policy Research Unit and Brighton University's Centre for Research in Innovation Management Centre, we are greatly concerned at the poorly informed and misleading impression you give of the working environment at the Freeman Centre ("Open plan risk to collegiality", March 16). Without attention to the wider context or the views of those of us who work here, the article leaps from individual complaints about an open-plan workspace to a general picture of a conflict-ridden atmosphere that we simply do not recognise.

In fact, we believe our research and teaching are particularly distinguished by a positive, constructive and collegial spirit. Since our move to the Freeman Centre, we have enjoyed unprecedented success in developing major new areas of research. Its extraordinary resources are a real asset.

We have our day-to-day management challenges. An open-plan layout, like any other, displays both strengths and weaknesses. Unlike everyday office politics these are important matters for reasoned deliberation, but that is not helped by sensationalist or one-sided caricatures.

Andy Stirling, Mike Hobday and Ben Martin and 70 others

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