open records laws


Yes, We Can Defend Scientists from Harassment AND Increase Transparency

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

We’ve written extensively about the use of open records laws to harass scientists for the past couple years and encouraged governments, academic institutions, and journalists to address the challenge of balancing accountability and academic freedom. The issue has taken on a new dimension in recent weeks, as high profile releases have brought significant attention to the work of academics throughout the country. Will this prompt institutions to figure out better solutions? Read more >

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Arizona Superior Court Protects Academic Freedom in Climate Email Disclosure Case

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

Arizona basketball fans may be glum after this weekend’s loss to Wisconsin, but there’s some very good news today out of Arizona: a superior court has found that the University of Arizona was right to protect more than 1700 emails to and from university climate scientists from disclosure under the state’s open records act. Read more >

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Willie Soon, Academic Freedom, and How We Can Deal With Undisclosed Conflicts of Interest

, lead analyst, Center for Science and Democracy

In the last week, the Internet has blown up. There were llamas, dresses, and bird-riding weasels. But what also blew up was an important discussion about conflict of interest disclosure and what information academic scientists should be expected to make public. Above all else, the debate has made clear that conflict of interest disclosure rules are lacking and that we need clarity from Congress, scientific societies, and academic institutions on how these issues should be addressed. Read more >

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Rep. Grijalva’s Requests and the Real Problem with Conflict of Interest Disclosure

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

On Tuesday, Arizona Representative Raul Grijalva asked seven academics for their sources of funding and earlier drafts of testimony they have delivered before congressional committees. Since then, many have debated whether the requests cross the line into harassment or witch hunts or McCarthyism. Lost in the discussion around whether the requests are too broad is a bigger question to address: Why don’t we already know who funds the work of those who testify before Congress? Read more >

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What Kinds of Scrutiny of Scientists are Legitimate?

, program manager, Center for Science & Democracy

This morning, Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to seven universities seeking documents related to academics who have testified before Congress on climate change. The requests come in the wake of revelations over the weekend that the Smithsonian Institution agreed not to disclose payments from the Southern Company, a major utility, to fund and review the work of Smithsonian aerospace engineer Willie Soon. As all of the researchers in question have been critical of mainstream climate science, some are wondering if Rep. Grijalva’s requests can be considered a witch hunt. So is it? Read more >

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