Defend the Role of Science in the New Political Era

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 The election of Donald Trump brings many questions about the future role of science in policy making. It is important to lay out the scientific community's expectations for how the Trump administration should use science to govern so that the public and the media know how best to hold it accountable.

Please join Nobel Laureates, prominent scientists, and fellow experts on an open letter outlining expectations for the use of science in the Trump administration.

Independent science is critical to decisions on everything from climate change to lead poisoning to drug safety. But we are concerned that transition team members and those in administration leadership positions have a history of attacking and censoring science. We are concerned that an emboldened Congress may bring back legislation that rejects science and rolls back existing public health and environmental protections. And we are concerned that government scientists may not get the resources they need to carry out their agencies' missions.

Add your name to the open letter today.

This letter is open to all US residents and Americans working abroad. We will share this powerful statement with decision makers, opinion leaders, journalists, and others who will be charged with holding the Trump administration accountable for respecting the role of science in policy making.

Learn more about how the Trump administration and Congress should use science to govern, and read this Washington Post article about the open letter.

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Please Sign This Open Letter

Science and the Public Interest:

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump and the 115th Congress 

Scientific knowledge has played a critical role in making the United States a powerful and prosperous nation and improving the health and well-being of Americans and people across the world. From disease outbreaks to climate change to national security to technology innovation, people benefit when our nation's policies are informed by science unfettered by inappropriate political or corporate influence.

To build on this legacy and extend the benefits of science to all people, including Americans who have been left behind, the federal government must support and rely on science as a key input for crafting public policy. Policy makers and the public alike require access to high-quality scientific information to serve the public interest. There are several actions Congress and the Trump administration should take to strengthen the role that science plays in policy making.

First, creating a strong and open culture of science begins at the top. Federal agencies should be led by officials with demonstrated track records of respecting science as a critical component of decision making. Further, recognizing that diversity makes science stronger, administration officials should welcome and encourage all scientists regardless of religious background, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Second, Congress and the Trump administration should ensure our nation's bedrock public health and environmental laws--such as the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act--retain a strong scientific foundation, and that agencies are able to freely collect and draw upon scientific data to effectively carry out statutory responsibilities established by these laws. They should also safeguard the independence of those outside government who provide scientific advice.

Third, Congress and the Trump Administration should adhere to high standards of scientific integrity and independence in responding to current and emerging public health and environmental threats. Decision makers and the public need to know what the best-available scientific evidence is, not what vested interests might wish it to be. Federally funded scientists must be able to develop and share their findings free from censorship or manipulation based on politics or ideology. These scientists should, without fear of reprisal or retaliation, have the freedom and responsibility to:

- conduct their work without political or private-sector interference;
- candidly communicate their findings to Congress, the public, and their scientific peers;
- publish their work and participate meaningfully in the scientific community;
- disclose misrepresentation, censorship, and other abuses of science; and
- ensure that scientific and technical information coming from the government is accurate.

Finally, Congress and the Trump administration should provide adequate resources to enable scientists to conduct research in the public interest and effectively and transparently carry out their agencies' missions. The consequences are real: without this investment, children will be more vulnerable to lead poisoning, more people will be exposed to unsafe drugs and medical devices, and we will be less prepared to limit the impacts of increasing extreme weather and rising seas.

These steps are necessary to create a thriving scientific enterprise that will strengthen our democracy and bring the full fruits of science to all Americans and to the world. The scientific community is fully prepared to constructively engage with and closely monitor the actions of the Trump Administration and Congress. We will champion efforts that strengthen the role of science in policy making and stand ready to hold accountable any who might seek to undermine it.

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