To start at the middle, Daniel Sarewitz had a rather confused, but typical, thumb sucker in Nature (Similar but wrong link: This is the one that Eli should have used)which Gavin Schmidt got in one tweet:
Sarewitz's hook is the recent failed attempts to replicate a number of psychology studies especially in concert with the glam mags (Science, Nature, Cell) pursuit of the novel. That is a valid issue, and it raises troublesome questions:@mtobis like most sarewitz articles: - valid issue - interesting point - strawman - overreaching conclusion - blame scientists— Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin) September 9, 2015
As the spotlight shines on reproducibility, uncomfortable issues will emerge at the interface of research and 'evidence-based' policy.But there are strawmen to build, and Sarewitz quickly passes over to the Republican attempt to limit the EPA
Consider, for example, the Secret Science Reform Act of 2015, a US bill that would “prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible”.This is pretty universally acknowledged as another attempt to hamstring the EPA but it is a platform for DS to talk about the difficulty of reproducing large surveys
Replication of the sort that can be done with tightly controlled laboratory experiments is indeed often impossible when you are studying the behaviour of dynamic, complex systems, for example at the intersection of human health, the natural environment and technological risks. But it is hard to see how this amounts to an argument against mandating open access to the data from these studies.
Growing concerns about the quality of published scientific results have often singled out bad statistical practices and modelling assumptions, and have typically focused on the very types of science that often underlie regulations, such as efforts to quantify the population-wide health effects of a single chemical.I other words the problem is bad studies, bad scientists. That the funding agencies have instituted mandatory data sharing and maintenance plans appears to have, well, not been discussed.
But there is something more concerning here that Eli sought to bring to the reader's attention (slightly edited):
One wonders which bridge Daniel Sarewitz is playing troll under. One of the scandals of the last century, brought to light in the master tobacco settlement, was the suppression of their own data by the tobacco industry. Of course, the tobacco industry also demanded that FDA and EPA only use "public" and "statistically significant "data in their rule making. There is strong evidence that many studies about pharmaceuticals have not been made fully public by the pharmaceutical industry and reasonable suspicion that similar chicanery has occurred with studies undertaken by industry with respect to fossil fuel extraction and usage.However, beyond troll baiting there is a serious point. We know of how industries on both sides of the GMO bridge are funding academic scientists to advocate for them. We know how tobacco has funded scientists and economists to push their POV on legislation and how this information was kept secret.
Still, Prof. Sarewitz uses a study of replication of psychology experiments as a strawman to support an attack on the EPA and its use of scientific results. He generalizes to an overarching conclusion on science placing the blame squarely on scientists.
Perhaps Prof. Sarewitz might poke his head from out under the bridge?
The problem is not public science, but private science. Think you are going to read about that in Nature bunnies?
(Added:Thanks to EFS for pointing out the wrong link. OTOH the fact that both are strumming the same guitar is a useful piece of information)