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Posts Tagged ‘media policies’

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

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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

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Combatting Panic: Ebola, the CDC, and Crisis Communication

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States. Almost on cue, panic and overreaction were rampant, most notably on social media. Read More

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After Doubling Down on Scientific Integrity, EPA Ditches Its Science Advisor

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has ditched her science advisor, Glenn Paulson. The move came the day after she gave a major address at the National Academies of Science, telling the audience that “[t]he work we do together to preserve the integrity of our science is as critical as ever.” Dr. Paulson’s departure from this position is a loss for the agency, and the position should be filled quickly to ensure that progress on scientific integrity can continue. Read More

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West Virginia Scientists to EPA, CDC: Allow Your Scientists to Speak

UPDATE: See responses below from CDC and EPA officials.

This morning, two dozen West Virginia scientists wrote to the CDC and EPA to urge the two agencies to give more freedom to their scientists to communicate with the press and public, especially during emergencies like the ongoing water contamination crisis affecting hundreds of thousands of West Virginians. Read More

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Is the Water Safe? The West Virginia Chemical Spill and the Importance of Scientists’ Speaking to the Media

When news broke last week that West Virginia’s Elk River had been contaminated with the coal-processing chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (MCHM), attention quickly turned to the scientists who could help the public understand what was at stake. With the spill just upstream of a treatment plant supplying water to 300,000 West Virginians, the questions were pressing: What was known about MCHM? Is my health and that of my family and pets at risk? Should I worry about the odor? These questions and many more arose from citizens, reporters, and decision makers. But as the event unfolded, we saw that scientists weren’t always given a chance to answer them. Read More

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Towards Open Access to Government Science: The Obama Administration Takes Some Important Steps

This week, the National Research Council is holding public comment meetings on increasing public access to federally funded research—both access to the data and publications. We encouraged the UCS Science Network to weigh in with their own ideas on how the government can increase public access to its science. After all, this is the science that we all pay for through our tax dollars. Read More

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Margaret Atwood on the Muzzling of Canadian Government Scientists

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday aired a short talk from author and critic Margaret Atwood on two critical issues: the muzzling of Canadian government scientists and the importance of collecting adequate scientific information about threats to public health and safety. It is well worth four minutes of your day to listen in, and I’ve transcribed her remarks below.  Read More

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#ScioDC: A Conversation on Scientists, Government, and Social Media This Week

This Wednesday, I’ll be speaking at the inaugural event of ScienceOnlineDC about the recent UCS report I co-authored, Grading Government Transparency: Scientists’ Freedom to Speak (and Tweet) at Federal Agencies. ScienceOnlineDC is a newly formed Washington, DC satellite of ScienceOnline, a nonprofit organization that facilitates conversations, community, and collaborations at the intersection of science and the Web. Read More

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Four Hours after UCS Report Release, United States Geological Survey Takes a Step Forward

UPDATE Monday March 18 3:00PM (see below):

Who ever said the federal government can’t work fast?

This morning, UCS released a report analyzing how federal government agencies and departments allow their scientists to communicate with the public. We found that while many agencies have better policies since 2008, there are still improvements to be made. Read More

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