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Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

The Science Community Must Fight Attacks on Science-Based Regulations

It is easy in the day-to-day work of science to miss the struggle now being waged in Washington over the role science plays in crafting health and safety protections for America. But that struggle is heating up and the outcome matters not only for the science community but for the country. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and our Steering Committee of eminent scientists and public servants, are asking you to join the fight in a Policy Forum article published in Science May 29th (login required).
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Censorship of Government Scientists Spreads to the United Kingdom

British scientists are pushing back strongly against a move by the UK government to control how government scientists communicate their research with the public. This is a very troubling development that is bad for science and bad for the public interest. The news was reported on Friday in the Guardian and Science. Read More

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

On Tuesday, Arizona’s U.S. 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?

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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Willie Soon’s Failure to Disclose Industry Funding for Contrarian Climate Research is Another Reason to Support Transparency

My first job in science communication was as an “Explainer” in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The program helps visitors – particularly students – understand the forces of flight. Our uniforms included red polo shirts that said “The Explainer Program” on the front and had the name of the company that sponsored the program – Cessna Aircraft – on the sleeve.

I recall this old uniform because the Smithsonian is under scrutiny for an entirely different type of sponsorship that was hidden from public view. Read More

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Three Ways Citizens United Helped Undermine Science Policy Debates

Five years ago next week the Supreme Court issued a decision that would soon have major impacts on our political system.  In Citizens United v. FEC, the court ruled that spending limits violated free speech, opening the floodgates to vastly increased political spending by corporate interests. 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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The Endangered Species Act under Attack: Science, Politics, and the Real Meaning of Transparency

The cartoon below has never been more appropriate. The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is attacked by political interests with some regularity, but the current proposal from the House Natural Resources Committee threatens to halt much of the science-based work that the law has enabled. Read More

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“Hide No Harm” Bill Will Tip the Balance in Favor of Science and Safety over Corporate Profits

On July 16, Senators Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tom Harkin (IA) and Robert Casey (PA) introduced S. 2615, the “Hide No Harm Act.” Their legislation would impose criminal penalties—fines and even imprisonment—on corporate executives if they knowingly failed to warn the public about life-threatening dangers in their products. Read More

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Openness Effort Trumps Partisan Gridlock in Congress

You can probably count on the fingers of one hand the issues on which there is bipartisan agreement in Congress. Fortunately, strengthening Freedom of Information (FOIA)  is one of them. Read More

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