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No 'Brexit' for Most Researchers

In a poll conducted by Nature, researchers say they don't want Britain to leave the European Union.

Nature asked some 2,000 researchers living in the European Union, including researchers in the UK, about their thoughts on the possibility of the UK leaving the EU. Most of those polled said that such a 'Brexit' would be harmful to science.

Of the 907 UK researchers polled, 83 percent said Britain should remain in the EU. One participant who plans to vote to remain in the EU said that the "UK is too small to sustain a world-class scientific program in isolation."

One of the British researchers who favors leaving the EU, meanwhile, says that "[w]e could be more open to researchers coming from outside the EU who are currently discriminated against."

Seventy-seven percent of European researchers living outside the UK also say that the UK should remain part of the EU. Most said that, if the UK were to leave the EU, science in the remaining member states would suffer.

More broadly, Nature notes that the general UK population is more evenly split on the issue, as recent polls indicate that 44 percent favor staying in the EU, 40 percent prefer leaving, and 16 percent are unsure. The general debate, it adds, focuses more on immigration and the economy than on science.

There is to be to a national referendum on the matter in June, Nature says.