ScienceScope

Science  20 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5661, pp. 1119
  1. Political Science Decried

    More than 50 prominent scientists are accusing the Bush Administration of manipulating science to serve its political agenda. The researchers—who include former National Institutes of Health chief Harold Varmus and President Bill Clinton's two science advisers—this week released a statement (http://www.ucsusa.org/) that calls on politicians to safeguard the flow of scientific information.

    The broadside, organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, is the latest to lambaste the White House for ignoring or suppressing findings that don't support the Administration's views on everything from Iraqi weapons to climate change (Science, 15 August 2003, p. 901). Bush Administration officials have fiercely denied the charges. But the researchers say the government needs to take immediate steps—from forbidding the censorship of scientific studies to developing better rules for appointing advisory panels—“to restore scientific integrity in the formation and implementation of public policy.”

  2. HHS to Reissue Report

    After being accused of whitewashing a report on health disparities, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson has apologized and will release the original version. The National Healthcare Disparities Report, issued last December, describes inequalities in health care and outcomes among minority groups and the poor. But Representative Henry Waxman's (D-CA) staff had obtained a draft that contained striking differences. For example, words describing inequalities as “national problems” were removed (Science, 23 January, p. 451). Last week, Thompson told the House Ways and Means Committee that his staff made “a mistake.” HHS plans to post the draft report online within a few days, says a spokesperson.

  3. NSF Starts Over on Buried Lab

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) last week delivered some mixed news to researchers hoping to build an underground science laboratory in the United States. In letters written 6 February, the agency “returned without prejudice” four current proposals—including a $300 million plan to convert an abandoned South Dakota gold mine into the world's deepest neutrino physics facility (Science, 23 January, p. 447)—saying it would start a new process to identify the purpose, cost, and location of such a facility. The rejection disappointed South Dakota officials, but NSF says that everyone will be welcome to enter any new competition.

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