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[Editorial] Purdah and the gagging of science

The UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has issued guidance discouraging publication of—and commentary on—NIHR-funded research for the remainder of the country’s General Election purdah. Purdah is a controlled period restricting public-facing activity, intended to prevent influence on election outcomes (currently enforced from April 22 to June 8). Using purdah to control science communication is an abuse of its intended purpose, and is not part of the original code. The guidance prevents dissemination and commentary on all NIHR-funded research covering public health, social care, health-system finance and workforce, and “any other areas where there is a risk of political interpretation”.