WASHINGTON—Undaunted by a lack of advertising and the general decline of science magazines, more U.S. newspapers are adding a weekly science section to their pages. But despite the 350 percent increase in the number of such sections in the last two years—from 19 to 66 according to a recent survey from the Scientists' Institute for Public Information—it's not known if the growth has improved the type or quality of coverage.

SIPI, a New York-based nonprofit group that works to improve public understanding of science, defined a science section as at least 1½ pages of news on science or health that appears in a clearly marked space the same day each week. Unfortunately, such sections are costly to produce, noted Sheryl Burpee, SIPI's director of research, and at least one of the 66 sections has folded since the survey was completed. Burpee said the rising number indicates a belief among editors...

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