Scientific Integrity in Policy Making (July 2004)

Further Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science
February 2005
An unprecedented level of political interference threatens the integrity of government science and we need reforms to restore the federal policy making process.

This page is an excerpt from the 2004 UCS report Scientific Integrity in Policymaking.

The U.S. government runs on vast amounts of information. Researchers at the National Weather Service gather and analyze meteorological data to know when to issue severe-weather advisories. Specialists at the Federal Reserve Board collect and analyze economic data to determine when to raise or lower interest rates. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control examine bacteria and viral samples to guard against a large-scale outbreak of disease. The American public relies on the accuracy of such governmental data and upon the integrity of the researchers who gather and analyze it.

However, at a time when one might expect the federal government to increasingly rely on impartial researchers for the critical role they play in gathering and analyzing specialized data, there are numerous indications that the opposite is occurring. A growing number of scientists, policy makers, and technical specialists both inside and outside the government allege that the Bush administration has suppressed or distorted the scientific analyses of federal agencies to bring these results in line with administration policy. In addition, these experts contend that irregularities in the appointment of scientific advisors and advisory panels are threatening to upset the legally mandated balance of these bodies.

The quantity and breadth of these charges warrant further examination, especially given the stature of many of the individuals lodging them. Toward this end, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) undertook an investigation of many of the allegations made in the mainstream media, in scientific journals, and in overview reports issued from within the federal government and by non-governmental organizations. To determine the validity of the allegations, UCS reviewed the public record, obtained internal government documents, and conducted interviews with many of the parties involved (including current and former government officials).

Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science presents the finding of this investigation and offers solutions to help restore scientific integrity to the federal policymaking process.

This edition of Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science is an update of the UCS report of the same name released on February 18, 2004 and includes new information UCS has received on several of the original incidents. The conclusions reached and recommendations made in the report have not changed. For a full detail of the changes in the report see Appendix C. To receive a copy of the February 18, 2004 edition, email rsi@ucsusa.org

 

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