Regulatory vs. Academic Science
The standards of academic science are inappropriate to the needs and constraints
of regulatory science. Both try to understand and explain complex, multivariate,
non-linear nature, but they have vastly different constraints. Thus asking a
panel of academic scientists to apply the standards applied in writing for journals
and applying for research grants to making regulatory decisions is inherently
Academic and Regulatory Science are different:
||• Information needed
to meet regulatory requirements and to provide reliable information for
• Research questions are framed by legislators
and regulators and often have social and economic implications.
Ultimate goal is conflict resolution via public debate over competing interests
|• Original research
framed by scientists and driven by rational analysis and expert judgment.
• To expand understanding and knowledge of the natural world through
an ongoing process of questioning, hypothesizing, validation, and refutation.
|Role of Uncertainty
||Predictive certainty is
required by the political process and by legal requirements.
||Uncertainty is expected
baseline data, monitoring data, regulatory documents
||Published papers, presentations
at professional meetings.
||Determined and driven
by statute, regulation, and the political process; finite and often quite
short (90 days to 2-4 years)
||Directly influenced by
politics: upper-level administrators are appointed by the President; funding
is at the will of Congress; ultimate oversight is by the courts.
by the researcher’s own political philosophy and by their perception
of the preferences of grant and tenure review committees.
||Legislatures, courts (moderated
to some degree by Daubert v. Merrill Dow, deference, and to some extent,
the precautionary principle), and the public
||Compliance with legal
advancement in tenure system; university administration