An Ethical Framework for Presenting Scientific Results to Policy-Makers

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 32 (1):33-67 (2022)
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Scientists have the ability to influence policy in important ways through how they present their results. Surprisingly, existing codes of scientific ethics have little to say about such choices. I propose that we can arrive at a set of ethical guidelines to govern scientists’ presentation of information to policymakers by looking to bioethics: roughly, just as a clinician should aim to promote informed decision-making by patients, a scientist should aim to promote informed decision-making by policymakers. Though this may sound like a natural proposal, I show it offers guidance that conflicts with standard scientific practices. I conclude by considering one cost of the proposal: that it would prevent scientists from acting as advocates in a way that is currently common in certain fields. I accept that the proposal would restrict scientists’ political advocacy rights, but argue that the benefits of adopting it — promoting democratic governance — justify the restriction.

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S. Andrew Schroeder
Claremont McKenna College

Citations of this work

Varying Evidential Standards as a Matter of Justice.Ahmad Elabbar - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Red herrings about relative measures: A response to Hoefer and Krauss.Jacob Stegenga - 2022 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 92 (C):56-59.

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