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Bipartisan Panel of Industry, NGO and Academic Experts Proposes New Rules for Science in Federal Regulation
Date:8/5/2009

Members of scientific advisory committees should be required to disclose to the government and to the public far more information on their backgrounds than is currently the case so the government and the public can evaluate their qualifications and determine whether their service raises any concern about conflicts of interest or bias.
  • Clearer conflict of interest rules. The government should set clear rules about what constitutes a conflict of interest for a member of a scientific advisory committee. The government should distinguish clearly between conflict of interest and bias. Agencies should try not to appoint advisory committee members with conflicts of interest, but if such individuals are appointed, the appointment should be publicly announced and justified. The standard for appointing members with conflicts should be changed to the one used by the National Academy of Sciences. Chairs or co-chairs of committees should never have conflicts.
  • Greater transparency in committee selection might allow a limited number of closed committee meetings. If procedures are put in place to make the selection of advisory committee members more transparent, then the government could consider allowing scientific advisory committees to have a limited number of closed meetings under specific circumstances.
  • Transparency in the use of scientific literature. The process agencies and scientific advisory committees use to review the scientific literature should become more transparent and thorough. They should be explicit about the criteria they are using to determine which scientific papers to review and how those papers are being evaluated, and should pay more attention to the methodology used in cited work. In general, papers that have not been peer reviewed should be treated with skepticism, but they should not be automatically excluded.
  • Legitimate use of Confidential Business Information. The Confidential Business
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  • SOURCE Bipartisan Policy Center
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