A return to evidence-based policy making

This is the last site I ever thought I’d be linking to, but everyone should go read Mrs. Clinton’s speech on Scientific Integrity and Innovation. It’s not surprising that Mrs. Clinton is courting the progressive vote in science and education, but what struck me was the bullet point in the attached press release:

  • Restores expert-driven, evidence-based agency decision-making.

  • Hillary will reverse President Bush’s new directive that political appointees exert total control over the development of agency rules.

    Making policy based upon evidence, instead of ideology. What a wonderful idea.

    Nature Publishing Group distances themselves from PRISM.

    Dog WhistleThe PRISM Coalition is a fairly unsubtle attempt at obfuscating the issues behind Open Access in scientific publishing, using an approach similar to that employed by the cable and phone companies arguing against net neutrality. Needless to say, it has prompted some rather unsubtle responses. Nature is distancing themselves from PRISM and trying to refocus the attention on the rather complex issues underlying Open Access. All the relevant linkage is in the post, just be sure to not miss J.C. Bradley’s comment.
    [tags]open science, prism, scientific publishing, nature, npg, politics[/tags]

    Online, real-time, science commentary

    Derek Lowe is dipping into the debate on online science commentary at his site at Corante, In The Pipeline. From the perspective of a graduate student, it’s a fantastic idea. Instead of waiting for the few scientific meeting and conventions a year to interact with peers and senior researchers in our field, we could potentially receive and respond to comments daily. John Vu is criticizing Eagleman & Holcombe for failing to make any mention of blogging whatsoever, despite the obvious examples, such as Hubmed. I’ve written before about the neat feature of RSS feeds of literature queries.

    4 MIT professors give science advice to the president.

    No Sense of Place directed me to 4 MIT Professors give science advice to the president. The actual number is 85 and counting, from science personalities nationwide, including such personalities as Craig Venter (who has a great rant), Ray Kurzweil (who goes offtopic, but makes some excellent points), Eric Drexler, and this from Stephen Schneider.

    The role of science in the public debate is clear: assess what can happen and what are the odds of it happening. The role of policy�driven by the beliefs of the public�is to make value judgments on how to react to the odds of various possibilities. It will take some major realignment of institutions like the media and congressional hearings apparatus to back away from the model of polarized advocates toward a doctrine of “perspective”:reporting and debating based on the assessment of the likelihood of various events, not giving advocates of extreme opposite views equal time or space.

    Anyone who has the media report on their particular topic of expertise, especially if it’s a scientific topic, knows how totally clueless the newspaper or television treatment can be. However, more subtle distortion also exists. Instead of reporting on the different positions of many scientists regarding a certain issue and maybe the relative validity of each postion judged by the number and repute of the scientists holding each position, the stories that get reported force a debate among the two most diametrically opposed views, even when neither is very likely. Ever read anything about Nature vs. Nurture?

    My eyes opened wide when I realized how clearly he understands the problems of science debate among the public and the nation. Unfortunately, and perhaps this is the problem, every statement I read declined the hypothetical offer to be science advisor to the president.