Dealing With COVID-19 Requires Radical Transparency In Research Results; China Is Going In The Opposite Direction
from the dangerous-games dept
History has shown that important, innovative breakthroughs come from transparency, collaboration, and information sharing. Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require that — but tragically it appears that China is going in the opposite direction. The government there is now requiring “extra vetting” by the government before research regarding COVID-19 can be published. Indeed, some preliminary research has already been removed from the internet:
Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts.
A medical expert in Hong Kong who collaborated with mainland researchers to publish a clinical analysis of Covid-19 cases in an international medical journal said his work did not undergo such vetting in February.
As the report notes, this all appears to be an effort to “control the narrative” especially regarding what now appears to be many early missteps by the Chinese government in dealing with the pandemic. I can completely understand why the government doesn’t want those mistakes to get too much scrutiny, but at some point you have to ask what’s more important: saving lives and preventing these kinds of errors in the future… or making sure you don’t look as bad as you probably should. It’s tragic that multiple world leaders today seem a lot more focused on the latter, rather than the former.