Two takes on DFEE research

November 19, 1999

Congratulations on exposing the suppression by the DFEE of research into the likely effects of the introduction of student fees on the applications to universities from mature students.

One might expect a department of education to be at the forefront of ministries supporting academic freedom and freedom of information. Far from it.

The DFEE standard research contract - not content with giving the DFEE a veto over publication - requires that the researcher "shall incorporate the department's amendments (into the final report)". The implication of this is clear: it is unsafe to treat any recent DFEE-sponsored research at its face value: it may reflect what the DFEE wanted to see rather than what the researchers found.

David Packham Department of materials science and engineering University of Bath

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