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« A dangerous practice | Main | Large-scale temperature trends »

Science as a public enterprise

The Royal Society's report on Science as a Public Enterprise is to be released on 21 June. The inquiry was headed by Geoffrey Boulton and includes another Russell inquiry figure in the shape of David Eyton.

I wonder if they will make any comment on using irreproducible research as the basis for public policy.

Probably not.

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Reader Comments (5)

The Great and the Good.

Jun 6, 2012 at 1:21 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

From the link:

Open communication is key to how scientists check and challenge one another. If science is to remain an open enterprise there need to be intelligent ways to share the vast volumes of data it produces.

They just need an academic version of Perhaps they could call it JANET?

Jun 6, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

Speaking about making things public...

Gotta love it:

"The Pacific Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Gleick back to his position as president of the Institute. An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute. This independent investigation has further confirmed and the Pacific Institute is satisfied that none of its staff knew of or was involved in any way."

That's some "independent" review alright... very "public"

I wonder how long it will take before Joe Romm over at ClimateProgress posts (again) this "clearing" of Peter Gleick in the same "uncritical" vein he castigates others for when spuriously "independent" reviews achieve a desired end without even publishing their findings.

Jun 6, 2012 at 11:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterSalamano


a) Scientists should be given more funding,
b) Scientists should be given more protection from outside scrutiny,
c) Media should not challenge what scientists say, and;
c) Media should not provide coverage to alternative viewpoints

In essence, the Great & the Good will come up with a solution (i.e. a policy they want to implement), and the scientists will be tasked to come up with a problem which appears to require that solution.

This is essentially how CAGW 'science' has developed, and they would like more of the same.

Jun 7, 2012 at 2:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

In an ideal world, the RoySoc should be the right body to pontificate on Science as a Public Enterprise. However, they will have to make sure that most of what emerges from their deliberations does not offend the Government because of their dependence on it for funding.

Of course, in this ideal world, dependence on Government funding should not constrain them because the funds would be provided for the pursuit of pure science – how does this or that part of the universe actually fuction and so on.

However, one of Government’s tasks is to lead (another is to respond to the wishes of the electorate) and to that end they develop and adopt policies. Again, in an ideal world the development of policy would follow scientific discovery, but this is not always the case (as with climate). In such cases, bodies like the Roy Soc, the UEA, and the IPCC are employed to use or develop science to further the policy, probably be providing it with a scientific basis. The antics that the situation forces the employed bodies to do causes annoyance to many of the cognoscenti who post here. But the cause lies in the institutional arrangements rather than the individual bodies or the individuals within them.

I am aware that in drawing attention to this I am like a 1960’s hippie – I bray about the wrong without any idea how to make things better.

So the RoySoc will have to tread a fine line. No Government policy mandarin is to be caused to fear that any general conclusion of the exercise could harm the particular policy he is responsible for. So expect little from this exercise that will actually have any practical effect – just meaningless generalizations.

If the exercise is performed at Government cost, it will be yet one more scandalous waste of funds at a time Government is meant to be pruning expenditure.

Jun 7, 2012 at 6:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

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