China’s standing in the scientific community might be damaged if Google leaves the country, according to the results of a new survey. This isn’t a simple matter of reputation, either; a great many Chinese scientists instead acknowledged that they regard the search engine as a useful research tool.
As reported by Reuters, the journal Nature contacted over 700 scientists, and "84 percent said losing Google would ‘somewhat or significantly’ hamper their research and 78 percent said international collaborations would be affected."
One scientist even said, "Research without Google would be like life without electricity."
These findings could make it harder for Google to justify leaving China, given that the search giant would lose the moral high ground if it looks like its departure would do too much damage. Plenty of people have argued that it’s better for Chinese citizens to have access to some information rather than none.
On the other hand, since Chinese authorities must not want to curtail their own country’s development (at least in this respect), the survey’s results could make them rethink their position. Or perhaps be willing to give Google and free speech advocates a better compromise, anyway.