Krewski steps down from Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel to review Safety Code 6

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 10.42.06 PMJuly 9, 2013.  According to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), effective July 5, 2013, Professor Daniel Krewski has voluntarily stepped down from the Expert Panel. The Oversight Committee has undertaken to identify a new Chair of the Expert Panel.

Addendum: See Paul Webster’s second article printed in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), July 18, 2013; and his third article printed August 8, 2013.

Congratulations to both the RSC and Dr. Krewski for doing the honourable thing and–while this is a step in the right direction–it is a small part of the journey.  Dr. Krewski is NOT the ONLY member on this Expert Panel with a conflict of interest as I alluded to in my previous post:  Subversion of Science:  Royal Society of Canada Panel with Conflict of Interest to REview Safety Code 6!

Dr Flynn and members of the RSC when a scientific issue is contentious the honourable thing to do it to bring it out in the open for a debate with all sides represented and all conflicts of interests disclosed.  Isn’t this what the Royal Society stands for; openness, honesty and credibility?

Two important components of scholarly credibility are expertise and trustworthiness.  Expertise alone is not enough.  If the RSC wants to maintain its august position among both scholars and the public it has to be a credible institution.  And the way we judge whether an institution is credible is the way it functions under duress.

So far the RSC has failed to act in a responsible fashion for a scholarly body. Not only did it fail to select an unbiased Expert Panel in the first place, it is now blaming a journalist for providing “misleading” information (disclosing a dirty little secret) and it has decided to discontinue an open dialog about the processes until the final report is delivered.

The RSC is acting more like a petulant child than like a rational, independent, credible, scholarly institution and it is failing in its mission, which is:

“To serve Canada and Canadians by recognizing Canada’s leading intellectuals, scholars, researchers and artists and by mobilizing them in open discussion and debate, to advance knowledge, encourage integrated interdisciplinary understandings and address issues that are critical to Canada and Canadians.”