US Goverment Funding Agencies As Gatekeepers

This morning I read  Judy Curry’s excellent post

Advocacy science and decision making

Her post fits with my experience with the National Science Foundation in recent years as I have documented on my weblog (e.g. see).

An insightful set of text out of Judy’s post illustrates the mindset of the NSF (and other funding agencies; e.g. NOAA DOE) with respect to the climate issue. This text reads [highlight added]

 Recent information, however, shows that government agencies may cause more problems in this area, a worrisome development considering that legislation currently before the U.S. Senate would allow federal agencies to punish organizations whose researchers publish results that conflict with what the agency feels is appropriate.

That bill allows the withholding of funding to an institution where a researcher publishes findings not “within the bounds of and entirely consistent with the evidence,” a vague authorization that creates a tremendous tool that can be used to ensure self-censorship and conformity with bureaucratic preferences. As the research group Academy Health notes, “Such language to restrict scientific freedom is unprecedented and likely unconstitutional.”

My experience is that  program managers at the NSF and elsewhere are already implementing this gatekeeping.  This morning I sent the following e-mail to the NSF [the NSF personel are listed]

Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 07:33:22 -0600 (MDT) From: Roger A Pielke Sr

 To: Fein, Jay S., Margaret A.  Cavanaugh, M.C. Morgan, T. Killeen  

Subject: RE: NSF

Hi All

 You may find Judy’s post today of interest. It is certainly relevant in terms of my negative experience over the last few years with the NSF (and NRC).

http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/13/advocacy-science-and-decision-making/#more-5268

An example is, with respect to health policy [NOTE Added: The legislation is broader than I wrote in my e-mail. The legislation actually would apparently apply to all federal agenices]

“a worrisome development considering that legislation currently before the U.S. Senate would allow federal agencies to punish organizations whose researchers publish results that conflict with what the agency feels is appropriate.”

Regards

Roger

I expect they will ignore my e-mail, but if not I will post their response.

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