Monday, November 29, 2010

[law rev.] Suppression of Environmental Science

30 Am. J. L. and Med. 333
Suppression of Environmental Science

If you've never read a law review article, here's one to cut your teeth:

Summary (their version of an abstract)
... In recent years, research results, rather than the scientist's religion or politics, have motivated attacks on scientists. ... Suppression of environmental science raises serious concerns about scientific freedom and threatens public health and the environment. ... The examples of suppression set out above suggest three areas of the law that may impact the
scientific freedom of environmental scientists: defamation; scientific misconduct rules; and protection of employee speech. ... Given the public's interest in issues of environmental science and the likely broad dissemination of the statement, as well as the likely impact of the statement on public health or the environment, an environmental scientist's research and opinions about issues of environmental science are likely to be considered statements of public concern and given enhanced First Amendment protection. ... Therefore, where an environmental scientist's research concerns an unresolved scientific issue or methodology or is expressed in cautionary fashion, proving false facts would be difficult. ... A 1996 report for the Public Health Service's Office of Research Integrity ("ORI") found that 60% of exonerated
scientists experienced at least one adverse consequence as a result of being accused of scientific misconduct. ... In a number of ways, federal scientific misconduct whistleblower protection rules may condone unfounded misconduct allegations against environmental scientists. ...

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