Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wash Post Article: Fed Gov't Agencies Rated on Scientific Candor

One of my CCG colleagues sent me a link last week to a Washington Post article about federal government agencies being rated on their "scientific candor."

Apparently, the only government agency that received an "A" was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with a surprising second place going to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (I don't know why, but I always think of "nuclear power" related topics as being secretive, and yet they're the second most "candid" agency in the federal government. Another interesting fact: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration -- whose mission is to "prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths" -- received an F. I would think it would be hard to prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths if you aren't allowed to share information about how to do so. I also think it's sad that the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EPA both got a "D." Again, two more agencies that really should be focused on sharing what they know.)

The agencies were graded by the Union of Concerned Scientists based on their policies regarding the release of scientific information to the press and the public.

So as a communicator, especially one at one of these agencies that scored poorly, how do you react? And what can you do, if anything, to fix the problem and/or perceived problem?

-- Robin

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