The suicide earlier this month of open-access activist Aaron Swartz brings again to the fore the ongoing difficulty journalists have accessing published scientific studies that bear on key current and future policy issues. Photo of Swartz, credit Flickr/peretzp.
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William Souder explains how Rachel Carson's seminal 1962 work Silent Spring shaped (and still shapes) modern environmentalism (from his new book, On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson).SEJ Publication Types:
Five years after wildlife biologist Charles Monnett's 2006 observations of dead polar bears, believed to have drowned because of disappearing Arctic ice, Interior started an investigation of Monnett's science. The findings — partially published September 28, 2012 — were confused and contained no findings of scientific misconduct.Region:
A Va. court ruled Sept. 17, 2012 that e-mails generated by climate scientist Michael Mann when he worked at the Univ. of Virginia were exempt from the state's FOIA. Mann has been the target of repeated attacks by climate change deniers due to his famous "hockey stick" graph of global temperature records and indicators.Region:
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The rebellion against commercial and subscription-only publishers over public access to articles based on taxpayer-funded research is gaining ground. The Directory — free, searchable and online — already includes some 819742, full-text, scientific or scholarly articles in 7885 journals.
The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.Topics on the Beat:
A Chicago Tribune investigative series on flame retardant chemicals helps illustrate how federal agency control of what scientists say to reporters can help the chemical and tobacco industries. By reporter Michael Hawthorne.Topics on the Beat:
One sign of problems came when Interior's Inspector General office launched what seemed to be a ham-handed investigation, later dropped, into activities of the scientist who sounded the alarm on polar bears losing habitat to global warming. Now Interior has fired one of its scientific integrity officers — who is defending himself by saying he was just doing his job.Topics on the Beat: