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Researchers air concerns over cutbacks in Canadian research

  |   Jan. 10, 2014 at 2:58 PM
OTTAWA, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Cutbacks in research in Canada are alarming scientists who called the reductions an "assault on knowledge."

Scientists said the federal cutbacks to research programs monitoring areas ranging from climate change to public health will deprive Canadians of critical information, CBC reported Friday.

"What's important is the scale of the assault on knowledge, and on our ability to know about ourselves and to advance our understanding of our world," said James Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers.

Besides the dismissal of more than 2,000 scientists, hundreds of programs and world-renowned research facilities have lost their funding, and either were cut dramatically or shut down.

This week, scientists voiced their concerns this week about the science data that could be lost after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced it would close seven of its 11 libraries by 2015.

The government has said the information won't go away, telling CBC all of its copyright material "has been digitized and that the rest of its collection will be soon."

"Users will continue to have completely free access to every item in DFO's collections. All materials for which DFO has copyright will be preserved by the department," Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said.

Turk said the problem goes beyond the loss of existing library collections.

"It also means that going forward, whether it be policy analysts or scientists or members of the public, there won't be a library there that collects material for them to use," Turk said. "So there's not only the danger of losing what we've had, which may be irreplaceable, but it's also in future, that resource isn't going to be there in the first place."

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