A new set of scientific integrity guidelines, announced today, wants to give researchers more leeway in their communications with the media as a way to protect them from political pressure.
The US Department of Energy is responsible for this move, which many people saw as necessary.
President Obama’s faulty legacy regarding science and the emerging cabinet of climate change deniers led by President Donald Trump are the two main reasons.
The rules allow scientists of all kinds to publish their scientifical findings without the need for prior approval. However, they will have to notify their supervisors before letting anything out.
Politicians sometimes want to tell scientists what the result of their studies should be
Ernest Moniz, US Energy Secretary, stated that no DOE official should ask a scientist to “tailor their work to any particular conclusion,” which is why they are enforcing these new set of guidelines.
The plan also requires the Department to name an independent executive to handle complaints. Previous integrity policies from the DOE, such as their former one on 2012, required scientists to receive approval from higher authorities before going public with their work.
It is no secret that scientists have been politically persecuted in the United States, and this behavior was a continued circumstance under the former policy, which was very vague in these matters.
Green technologies and climate scientists are the most benefited
President Trump’s team asked the DOE for the names of all employees working on climate-related research, a request that the Department did not fulfill. Trump’s staffers later disavowed that action.
Moniz stated the new guidelines are not, in any way, a direct response to Trump’s victory or upcoming cabinet. He reiterated that the Department has worked on them for some time now.
The DOE’s official website states that this policy looks to ‘strengthen’ the credibility of the Federal Government as well, which might be an indirect reference to these concerns.
Science for the People
In a Medium post, Moniz remarked that his days as Energy Secretary are almost over and that science is the only gateway for the human race’s future safety, improvement, and quality of life.
An independent review, he writes, showed that their previous policy was not ‘strong enough.’ This new document, he hopes, will allow scientists to go directly for the truth, and not what politicians want to hear at the moment.
Trump’s pick for the Department of Energy is the former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once wanted to close it entirely and divert the funds to other areas.
Source: Department of Energy