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Academy says it won’t intervene in row over controversial paper

ASSAf insists the right place for academic rebuttals is in journal pages

The Academy of Science of South Africa has said that it will not engage with the editorship of its flagship publication, the South African Journal of Science, over a controversial commentary published last month asking why few black students apply to study conservation at the University of Cape Town. 

The commentary, authored by UCT professor Nicoli Nattrass, has been roundly criticised for being academically flawed and racially biased. Based on a survey of 211 students, it suggests that the reasons for the lack of black students in conservation studies include them being more wealth-oriented than their white counterparts, and less likely to have grown up with pets. 

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