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Fighting for integrity

Delegates at a CSPI meeting dismayed at corporate influence, politicization of science

Eugene Russo(erusso@the-scientist.com)

WASHINGTON, DC—US scientists need better ways to fight the influence of industry and politics on scientific inquiry, participants at a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) meeting said on Monday (July 12).

"In the last year, we recognized that many science arenas are suffering from the same problems," CSPI Integrity in Science project director Merrill Goozner told The Scientist. CSPI held its first "science integrity" meeting in the summer of 2003.

Whether they are studying global warming, environmental toxins, or workplace safety, scientists who find their research unjustifiably shunned or suppressed face similar challenges from corporate and special interests, said Goozner. Uniting scientists and raising awareness, Goozner asserted, will help educate the public about abuses, prevent cynicism about an industry-influenced scientific enterprise, and ensure lasting public support for research.

Apparent conflicts of interest do affect public perception, according to a recent CSPI survey of 1000 adults. While 59%...

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