AFS Seeks Feedback on Open Science Policy Implemented at Interior

The Interior Department released an “open science” policy this week that is similar to the controversial policy issued by EPA in the spring in furtherance of the Trump Administration’s efforts to increase transparency and accountability in federal decision making. The four-page order signed by Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt directs the department to “utilize and prioritize publicly available, reproducible, peer-reviewed science to the extent possible.”

It also states that “Any decision that is based on scientific conclusions that are not supported by publicly available raw data, analysis, or methodology, have not been peer reviewed, or are not readily reproducible should include an explanation of why such science is the best available information.”  The order also declares that all the department’s contracts, grants, and cooperative agreements will permit the agency to publicly release associated data, analysis, methodology, and other related information.

The EPA proposal was made as a formal rulemaking and the public was given an opportunity to comment. The agency received more than 597,000 comments during the comment period that ended last month.  It is unclear whether Interior will undertake its own rulemaking.  AFS will provide details as they are available.

“AFS and many other science and conservation groups are trying to better understand how this policy will impact the work of our members and whether or not this will be an obstacle or enhance good science,” said AFS Executive Director Doug Austen.

To assist in this, AFS members are encouraged to submit relevant information to AFS Policy Director Drue Winters by using the form below or by email ([email protected]) regarding the impacts of the policy on fisheries science and scientists as outlined in the order.

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