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PORTSIDE  December 2010, Week 3

PORTSIDE December 2010, Week 3

Subject:

The White House's Scientific Integrity Directive

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 00:42:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (89 lines)

The White House's Scientific Integrity Directive
Union of Concerned Scientists
December 17, 2010
http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/solutions/big_picture_solutions/SI-directive.html

On December 17, 2010, recognizing that political
interference in science had become a serious problem,
the White House released a Scientific Integrity
Directive.

If fully implemented by federal agencies and
departments, the directive could help protect government
scientists from pressure by special interests, and would
ensure that the government can make fully informed
decisions about public health and the environment.

The directive is a response from White House Science
Advisor John Holdren to a March 2009 presidential
memorandum which outlined broad scientific integrity
principles for the executive branch.

For years, interference from politicians and government
officials has prevented government scientists from doing
their jobs, and has led to flawed policy decisions on
numerous issues, from prescription drug safety to
childhood lead poisoning. In a recent survey conducted
by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), hundreds of
government food safety scientists and inspectors
reported political and industry pressure to soften their
scientific findings.

The directive instructs federal agencies and departments
to come up with detailed scientific integrity plans that
include:

    * giving the public better access to the science
    considered in making policy decisions

    * establishing principles for conveying scientific
    and technological information to the public

    * clarifying government scientists' right to share
    their research and scientific analyses with the
    public and the press

    * setting clear standards that govern conflicts of
    interest

    * removing roadblocks that had kept scientists from
    staying current on the latest research

UCS is praising the directive, saying it "articulates a
broad vision for defending science from political
interference." UCS also expressed caution, however, that
the directive leaves an enormous amount of discretion to
the federal agencies and departments who are now charged
with furnishing the details.

UCS has suggested minimum requirements for what should
be included in each agency's action plan. The Department
of Interior is already at the front of the pack, having
released its own scientific integrity policy in
September 2010, which drew wide praise from UCS and
other science organizations.

UCS is also assessing allegations of political
interference in science against the Obama administration
and tracking the Obama administration's progress-and
missteps-towards restoring scientific integrity to
federal policymaking.

___________________________________________

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