Survey Finds Little Early Improvement in Science-Meddling Under Obama

March 10, 2010

If you ask federal scientists, the ultimate science scandal had nothing to do with the skeptics' narrative on "climategate" — it was the Bush administration's campaign to suppress or distort any science that did not support the deregulatory agenda of Bush and his business backers.

But is it any better under President Obama? Early results from a university survey of scientists: Not really, or not yet.

A survey from George Washington University's Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy (SKAPP) released March 3, 2010, surveyed 37 scientists at 13 federal agencies in 2008. Then it did a follow-up in July-August 2009, after the Obama administration had issued its March 9, 2009, memo urging agencies to restore scientific integrity.

Their findings: "most subjects did not view conditions at their agencies as having improved noticeably since the change in administration."

SKAPP concluded from its interviews with scientists that political interference with federal science would be hard to change, because it is deeply ingrained in agency culture and federal law.