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10,600 scientists condemn political interference in science

SAN FRANCISCO — A statement by Nobel laureates and other leading scientists calling for the restoration of scientific integrity to federal policy making has now been signed by 10,600 scientists from all 50 states, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) announced today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The announcement came as the scientists group released an "A to Z" guide that documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science.

"From airborne bacteria to Ground Zero, science continues to be misrepresented for political gain," said Dr. Francesca Grifo, senior scientist and director of UCS's Scientific Integrity Program. "The new Congress should enact meaningful reforms so decisions within federal scientific agencies and advisory committees are based on objective and unbiased science."

The integrity of science statement has grown steadily since it was first released in February 2004. Signatories now include 52 Nobel Laureates, 63 National Medal of Science recipients, and almost 200 members of the National Academies of Science. Meanwhile, the new UCS compendium details censorship and political interference in federal science on issues as diverse as air quality, childhood lead poisoning, and prescription drug safety. For example, in late October UCS released documents tying high-level political appointees at the Department of Interior to the manipulation and distortion of numerous scientific documents to prevent the protection of six different species under the Endangered Species Act.

"The scientist statement makes clear that while science is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should be objective and impartial," said Dr. Grifo. "Sustained protest from scientists, individual Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and the nation's leading editorial pages has not been enough to make the abuse of science stop."

Related from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
Who Are the 10,000+ Scientists?
The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

Related from other publications:
US scientists reject interference


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Gore tells scientists to be vocal

Jonathan Amos, BBC
The former US Vice President Al Gore has told scientists to speak out more on the issue of climate change.

In a keynote address at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, he said it was imperative people understood what was happening to the world.

The year's biggest gathering of Earth scientists has heard further evidence of how the planet is warming.

Mr Gore said he was shocked by the report this week that suggested the Arctic may soon lose its summer ice.

Observational and computer modelling studies had indicated the northern polar region was fast approaching a tipping point that could lead to the loss of perennial ice cover by 2040.

"It's time for scientists to play a different role in asserting the value of scientific insight and defending the integrity of the scientific process, and becoming far more active in directly communicating to the American people about the meaning of the research you have underway..." he told his audience.

Mr Gore echoed the views of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) who on Wednesday issued a statement signed by 10,600 researchers complaining about political interference in their work.
(15 Dec 2006)
Many related stories.


USGS Scientists Object To Stricter Review Rules

Juliet Eilperinm Washington Post
A new Bush administration policy for reviewing scientific documents before publication has angered some U.S. Geological Survey scientists, who say the elaborate internal review of their work may impede them from conveying information to the public.

The new requirements, which were unveiled in July but are still being put into practice, call for staff scientists to submit all reports and prepared talks to managers to determine whether they meet the agency's scientific standards. They also require researchers to alert the agency press office of any work involving "potential high visibility products or policy-sensitive issues."
(14 Dec 2006)
Contributor Greg Jeffers writes:

Reminiscent of NASA scientists being muzzled on the subject of C02 and Global Warming. Will there be protests or resignations from the technical staff of the U.S.G.S?

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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