April 24, 2018

EPA Proposes to Match the UK’s “Gold Standard” Science Transparency Standards

EPA proposed a rule (RIN: 2080-AAI4) under which the agency would “require that the underlying data for all scientific studies used by the agency to formulate air and water regulations be publicly available.” The EPA Administrator was quoted as saying “The science that we use is going to be transparent. It’s going to be reproducible.”

If enacted and enforced, EPA’s rule would (1) be consistent with the US Data Access and Data Quality statutes and (2) match similar standards for transparency in environmental science that have been established by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). NERC’s Data Policy explains that “The environmental data produced by the activities funded by NERC are considered a public good and they will be made openly available for others to use.” Moreover, NERC’s Data Policy emphasizes the centrality of the government maintaining open access to data it funds so that others can challenge it:

Open access to data underpinning research publications

NERC considers that long-term, open access to the data that underpin research publications will help to ensure the integrity, transparency and robustness of the research record. Access to these data supports the fundamental scientific requirement of allowing others to confirm or challenge research results.

NERC further requires that “All research publications arising from NERC funding must include a statement on how the supporting data and any other relevant research materials can be accessed;” NERC backs its commitment to data access with detailed implementing guidelines.

See CRE’s comments on RIN: 2080-AAI4 here.

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