March 18, 2010

Scientists: Obama administration muzzles us as much as George W. Bush’s did

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It was a year ago this month that President Obama issued a memo giving underlings three months to draw up policies “to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.” But, as New Scientist blogger Peter Alhous put it the other day

“We're still waiting, and the Union of Concerned Scientists is … well, concerned about the delay.”

Now comes a new survey of scientists by researchers from George Mason University’s Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy, or SKAPP. It  says the Obama administration is – this seems hard to believe – not doing any better than the previous Bush administration on the squelching-science score.

 Researchers interviewed 37 federal scientists at 13 federal agencies in 2008, when George W. in front of a flag was the picture gracing the walls on federal offices. They returned in the summer of 2009 to the same researchers. And?

 "Most subjects did not view conditions at their agencies as having improved noticeably since the change in administration."

Recall that the Bush administration had a terrible record on this score, which we covered at Dateline Earth.

Read the new study, the executive summary or a worthwhile piece by OMB Watcher. Tip of the hat to the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Watchdog Tipsheet, written by the indefatigable Joe Davis, for bringing this survey to our attention. Tomorrow, in the last of our Sunshine Week blogs, we'll hear from the SEJ Watchdog Tipsheet again. 

(In the interest of absolutely full disclosure, I supposed I should reveal that I have an extremely minor editing role in producing the Watchdog; Joe does all the real work.)

— Robert McClure

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