Vanuatu has imposed a year-long moratorium on international researchers so it can perform a stock-take of all research taking place in the country.
The Director of the Vanuatu Cultural Centre, Marcellin Abong, says the National Cultural Council has imposed the ban because it feels some researchers have been exploiting Vanuatu's culture.
He says the Centre and Council want to be able to work out what researchers are doing in Vanuatu so they can re-think the National Research Policy.
Mr Abong says the best way to do that is by putting a stop to research in Vanuatu.
"The council would like to know about this research and what is beneficial to this nation and what is not beneficial to this nation and also look for the people who are only it for their own self-interest. So, I think we try our best to protect our intangible cultural heritage to avoid exploitation of this knowledge."
Marcellin Abong says the moratorium only applies to new research applications, with approved reseachers able to continue their work if they submit a 10-page summary of their work.