Libel law: the real fight lies ahead
Reformers need to keep up the pressure to reform English libel laws, says an editorial in Nature (22 April 2010, doi:10.1038/4641104a). Simon Singh's recent libel result is a victory for science, and the court's judgment itself may offer wider protection to scientists and writers (see http://go.nature.com/EQFfg3). But the real fight lies ahead, and the use of English libel law to stifle debate should concern all researchers. For every case that comes to court, say campaigners for reform, there are many more in which scientists who lack the resources to fight just quietly back down, or worse, censor themselves even before publishing.
Thanks to Margaret Cooker