Science  12 Dec 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5908, pp. 1621

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  1. Scientific Integrity at Issue

    1. Eli Kintisch

    A new high-profile group is launching the first major nonpartisan effort to study how the U.S. government ought to use scientific information to make decisions. “We will be looking at what policymakers can do that is legitimate and what is beyond the pale,” says David Goldston, an organizer for the 13-member panel and former staff director for the U.S. House of Representatives Science and Technology Committee. He says the group is not trying to “to dissect what the Bush Administration has done right or wrong.” Instead, it will examine federal advisory boards, conflict-of-interest policies, and what role scientists should play in decisions by regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency. The panel includes former Bush Administration officials, former House Science Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), and the president of the left-leaning Union of Concerned Scientists, which has criticized the Bush Administration for alleged political meddling in federal science. The group hopes to release its report in June.

  2. Obama at Sea

    1. Eli Kintisch

    Ocean scientists are hoping a friendly meeting with President-elect Barack Obama's transition team last week will bode well for ocean research. The 90-minute sitdown included representatives from environmental and scientific groups and transition officials including Sally Yozell, a former official with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Bob Gagosian of the nonprofit Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C., says he's buoyed by the new Administration's focus on ocean issues—“You could hear a pin drop”—and its choice of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to head the Department of Commerce, where NOAA is housed. “He knows how to manage science,” Gagosian said of the former secretary of energy.

  3. Inside ScienceInsider

    The new policy blog on Science's Web site continues to attract thousands of new readers. Written by the magazine's staff from Beijing to Washington, D.C., ScienceInsider provides breaking news and analysis from the world of science and the people who shape it. Entries this week included news on Barack Obama's interest in quarks, an analysis of efforts to curb conflicts of interest at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and new twists in the fight between government reformers and scientist-protesters in France. Check it out at