JAMA commentary on the Data Quality Act

From "Protecting Special Interests in the Name of 'Good Science,'" by Linda Rosenstock in the issue dated May 24/31, 2006:

Without fanfare or debate, a member of Congress places a rider on the omnibus appropriations bill enacted at the end of the Clinton Administration in late 2000. A new 2-sentence law, now known as the Data Quality Act (DQA), directs the administration's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide a potent mechanism for interested parties to change the way government agencies review science. The full impact of the act is as yet unknown, but it has already resulted in the significant delay of the release and use of valid scientific information. This new tool, to date used primarily by those who have reason to silence or politicize objective scientific research, should be cause for great concern and serious examination... Tobacco and other industry interests—whether coal and oil industry interests opposed to climate change policy or asbestos industry interests fighting asbestos regulation—have learned that both the public and decision makers have a far greater appetite to forestall action based on a seeming scientific debate rather than acknowledge that the science is well settled in the view of the scientific mainstream. In the last decade, these efforts framed this discussion by invoking the need to bolster "good science" to fight against "junk science"—the latter referring to the mainstream consensus with which they disagree. By so doing, legitimate domain for debate is shifted away from the political arena and attention is focused on the science rather the political side of the crude but useful formula: science + politics = policy.

Link     [Available to the GSU community.]

Blog: Issues in Scholarly Communication •  Category: In the News
Posted: 05/23/06 at 9:01 PM by William  •  Permanent Link