This Just In

December 21st, 2004

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.

The annual meeting of the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), to be held February, 2005 in Washington, DC, has organized a session titled,” Framing Science: Has Politics Taken Over the Direction of Scientific Research?”

News flash for the NASW – politics took over the direction of scientific research long ago when the federal government and the scientific community decided respectively to devote and accept large amounts of public money for research. The allocation of taxpayer dollars is a political process – politics has long been in charge of shaping the direction of scientific research. And most folks would say that when it comes to the expenditure of public monies, political accountability is a good thing. If the NASW wants to do a good job with topics of science and politics, it needs to frame the issue accurately, which in this case I don’t think it has.

The panel the NASW looks quite interesting, and potentially valuable, but they have to set it up right first. Here is how the NASW describes the panel:

“An overwhelming amount of scientific research in the United States has long engaged in an intricate dance with politics. Now, however, political views are forcing more drastic changes than ever in the work federally funded scientists can—and cannot—do, observers charge. Has the presidential science advisor’s role changed? To what extent is politics manipulating the direction of scientific research these days? And how is the current political climate affecting journalists, PIOs, and other science writers?

Laura van Dam, NASW President-Elect and Freelance Editor/Writer

Joanne Silberner, Health-Policy Correspondent, National Public Radio

Rita Colwell, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of Maryland and Former Director, National Science Foundation

John H. Marburger III, Director, United States Office of Science and Technology Policy

Congressman Henry Waxman (invited), Ranking Minority Member, House Government Reform Committee; Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce”

For information on the Conference see here.

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