Published online 5 August 2009 | Nature 460, 677 (2009) | doi:10.1038/460677d

News in Brief

US report backs distinction between science and policy

In setting regulatory policy, the US government should do more to separate scientific advice from policy decisions based on that advice, according to a report released on 5 August by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a non-profit body based in Washington DC established by former Democratic and Republican members of Congress.

The report recommends that regulatory agencies should post public notices that distinguish between the science and policy questions being asked. In appointing scientific advisory panels, agencies should adopt more stringent requirements about financial and professional conflicts of interest, and should be more transparent in disclosing them, it says. The report has been reviewed by the administration of President Barack Obama, who condemned the politicization of science in March, and is expected to issue guidelines on these issues later this year. 

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