USA

Need to strengthen ties with US academics: Expert


Toronto, Mar 20 (IANS): In the face of a travel ban issued by US President Donald Trump, academics must strengthen, rather than sever, ties to the country, an expert has suggested.

Earlier this month, Trump signed an executive order suspending immigration from six predominately Muslim countries, namely Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which was later halted by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland ruling that the ban was aimed at discriminating against Muslims.

"Although the travel ban targets individuals, its threat to the integrity and prosperity of scientific collaboration is of paramount concern. Physicians and scientists must not remain silent, but the best solution lies in more, rather than less, engagement with US colleagues," said Matthew Stanbrook, Assistant Professor at University of Toronto in Canada.

Stanbrook, in an editorial published in the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal), advocated against boycotting scientific meetings in the US or moving them to another country as this would prevent participation from the many scientists and trainees from the countries under the ban who live and work in the US.

"For academics to suspend interactions with US colleagues or refuse to peer review and validate the work of the researchers risks weakening science at the worst possible time, abandoning colleagues to face a political administration that already manifests a desire to muzzle federal scientists, escape accountability by the media and wage war on facts incompatible with its preferred narrative," he added.

According to a recent report published in the Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), students from the listed countries are seriously considering leaving the US for their education and career, to countries that have a more welcoming immigration policy.

"Science, especially medical science, knows no borders and cannot advance effectively without the free international exchange of knowledge, ideas and skills among all its participants," Stanbrook said.

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