Join
Search

Michael Halpern

Author image

About the author: Michael Halpern is an expert on political interference in science and solutions to reduce suppression, manipulation, and distortion of government science. See Michael's full bio.

Who Should Decide What Happens When Scientists Violate Conflict of Interest Rules?

Scientists and institutions are under increasing scrutiny to be more transparent, especially when they publish research that has bearing on major public policy debates, and with good reason: funding can influence how studies are conducted and results are presented. It’s not easy though; when it comes to disclosure of conflicts of interest, practices vary across scientific disciplines, journals and institutions, and the lines regarding what should be disclosed are sometimes blurry. Read More

Bookmark and Share

In “I’m Gonna Be an Engineer,” Peggy and Pete Seeger Talk Women in Science

Tuesday is the anniversary of the death of legendary folk singer and rabble-rouser Pete Seeger, and over the weekend I pulled out my banjo to go over some of the lesser-known songs he once sang. Pete Seeger’s half sister Peggy is a folk musician in her own right, and one of her gems looks at what discourages women from becoming scientists and engineers. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Interior Department Updates Scientific Integrity Policy and Creates Handbook

The Department of the Interior came out late yesterday with the 3.0 version of its scientific integrity policy, along with a new handbook that describes how the policy will be implemented. The new materials are simplified, streamlined, and more clear, bringing the department once again to the front of the pack in the Obama administration’s quest to create strong scientific integrity standards within federal agencies and departments. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is expected to speak about the new policy in a keynote address today before the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Read More

Bookmark and Share

Seeking Stories of Abuse of Open Records Laws

Have you or your university or government colleagues been targeted with intrusive federal or state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Canadian Unions to Bargain for Scientific Integrity Reform

As Canadian government scientists start bargaining for their next contract, they aren’t asking for more sick days or a sizable raise—they’re asking for scientific integrity protections, such as the ability to share their research regardless of the results. To put it simply, Canadian scientists are prioritizing the public interest over their own self-interest.  Read More

Bookmark and Share

EPA Relaxes the Leash on Independent Science Advisors

The EPA has taken steps to reaffirm the free speech rights of independent scientists who advise the agency, backing away from a memorandum that invited criticism from science and journalism groups late this summer. A clarification of EPA policy has been sent to scientists on the EPA Science Advisory Board and other agency committees that provide scientific analysis and advice and posted on the EPA website. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Have Two Minutes? Call Congress, as the House is Voting on Whether to Paralyze the EPA

UPDATE, November 18, 6:30 PM (see below)

Today and tomorrow, the lame duck House of Representatives will vote on two disingenuous bills that would prevent the EPA from using the best available science to protect human health and the environment.

Please call your member of Congress and ask for a NO vote on the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act and the Secret Science Reform Act. More information and talking points are here. Read More

Bookmark and Share

800+ Scientists Urge Greater Freedoms for Canadian Government Experts

New restrictions have made it difficult for scientists around the globe to collaborate with Canadian government scientists. In response, more than 800 scientists from 32 countries have signed a letter urging Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper to “remove excessive and burdensome restrictions and barriers to scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.” The letter was published as an advertisement today in the Ottawa Citizen as part of the Government of Canada’s Science and Technology Week. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Remembering Rick Piltz, Scientific Integrity Advocate

Rick Piltz, founder of Climate Science Watch and revered whistleblower who exposed political interference in climate science, succumbed to cancer over the weekend. He took a brave and unusual path from civil servant to scientific integrity advocate and climate activist that inspired many of us. His memory will continue to motivate me and many others to work tirelessly for a better world where science more freely informs public policy. Read More

Bookmark and Share

Want to Talk to a Scientist in Canada? Don’t Look to the Federal Government

If you want to talk to a scientist in Canada who works for the government, you might be in for a long wait. That’s the takeaway from a new report that grades the communications policies of 12 Canadian government agencies, which found that many current policies hinder “open and timely communication” between government scientists and reporters, and do little to protect scientists’ free speech rights. Read More

Bookmark and Share